Many months ago when the idea of riding across America officially was launched, I thought it would take forever for the actual departure date to arrive. Well here we are, only three weeks and one day before I will be settling into the routine of "ride, eat, sleep, repeat" for seven straight weeks. I think mentally and physically I am more than ready for the challenge.
With that said, there is so much left to do before the June 16th deadline, despite all the work that has been done to date. The following is a brief update on some of the events over the past few weeks since my last blog post.
Visiting Lions Clubs Throughout Our Region
Thanks to Deb Marinos and her Leader Dog "Kibble" as well as Regional Trainer Stephanie Sherwood, more than 1,000 students at La Center elementary and La Center middle school had the chance to hear about Leader Dogs for the Blind, what it is like to have the freedom to travel through the use of a Leader Dog and what it is like to bring a client and newly trained dog together. I also shared with my students about Cycling for Leader Dogs. I am very proud of our students and have heard lots of positives from students and staff about the assemblies that Deb, Kibble and Stephanie provided. Each student also received a Leader Dog book mark for their summer reading. Thank you Deb, Kibble and Stephanie for taking time out of your busy day to share your experiences and knowledge with La Center students.
Training, training and still more training...
I am continuing my training rides to prepare for the many days of riding that Cycling for Leader Dogs will require. No matter how much I train, getting out on the road and the day in, day out work over the first week or two will take me from where I am at now to the level of fitness I will need to make it all the way across the country. One of the nice parts of training thus far has been getting to go on many long rides with Debbie and our two children Brent and Jessie. I am very thankful that they have been so supportive of this effort. There is no way it would have been possible without their love and support. The Mansell family team has been awesome and so very supportive of this project.
I am married to my best friend Debbie. Her energy, willingness to dive in and get to work on whatever crazy idea I get started as well as her unending Love and support is without question the key to any success we achieve with this project. Anyone who has ever met Debbie knows what I am talking about. She is a very special person. Thank you sweetheart for everything you have done as part of the this Cycling for Leader Dogs project. Also, thank you for putting up with me for nearly 35 years (married for 33 years this summer).
Three Weeks and Counting...
Thank you to everyone for the tremendous teamwork that has gone into this project! From the folks at Leader Dogs, all the sponsors, my hosts, Lions club leaders and members, by school board, staff, administrators and students at school and of course my family. Thank you so much for helping make this project a reality. Your support, energy and encouragement is what has made this little idea a reality and I thank you for it!