SJMHS President and CEO Rob Casalou blogs about Team Joe’s experience in the 2017 Wish a Mile bike ride, a 300-mile, three-day journey across the state to grant wishes for Michigan children.
Stage 1 – Friday, July 28th
The ride to Ferris State and Big Rapids is 99.1 miles and it’s ALL hills. Hills are a beautiful attraction to northern Michigan but they can burn the legs!
Team Joe’s took a sendoff picture at 6:15 a.m. and then hit the road. We broke up into smaller groups depending on how fast or how slow individuals wanted to go. For me, I was so delighted to join up with Russ Olmsted, Gred Hodder, MD and Lee Benjamin, MD. I felt very well protected having two ER docs in my riding group.
Along the way, we had a special moment when we came upon a single rider who was riding well but alone. On the back of the shirt was a picture of a teenage boy with a note that said “In memory of Cameron, I love you more.” I asked the man, “who is Cameron” and then he proceeded to tell me how they lost Cameron to leukemia a year ago and he was out riding to honor his son and also to give back. Cameron had a wish granted and that wish was to have a makeover for his Mom & Dad’s room. That’s right, he didn’t ask for anything for himself. And this is not unusual for wish kids. They are some of the most unselfish people you will ever meet. Cameron was one of them. So, right then and there, we invited this wish Dad (name is Bob) to ride with us which he did all day! He told the Make-A-Wish staff that he felt he was in the right place being there. We plan to see him again tomorrow.
The weather was perfect all day and we made great time for the first half of the ride. We made it too the lunch stop at 9 a.m. That is a little early to eat lunch but the PB & J was too good to pass up. The route was all hills which we expected. Tomorrow will be longer but flater.
It was a very clean first day with no reported injuries or problems. That is incredible given the size and scope of this event.
Our small group of five or six riders finished at just before 2 p.m. Not bad! But then we heard the Probility team (part of Team Joe’s) coming in at 12:30 p.m. WHAT? Are you kidding me?!
Overall, a great day was reported by all Team Joe’s. That is what matters most. Great first day team.
The Probility gang along with Dr. Geiger getting ready to hit it hard.
Russ Olmsted shows off his pretty shoes.
Greg Hodder, Russ Olmsted, Rob Casalou and Lee Benjamin were joined by Wish Dad Bob and Wish Kid Casey at the lunch stop. By the way, lunch was at 9:00am at mile 44!