Rolling into my hometown of Little Rock, AR on Friday seems like so long ago! It’s been a jam packed weekend ever since we crossed the Clinton Library Bridge on Friday afternoon. My family and friends were there to welcome us and my little nephew Graham even brought his bike and rode over the bridge with me. Thanks to Dgold for taking some great photos and capturing this very special moment. It took us over 1600 miles and 25 days to arrive in Little Rock and we aren’t even half way through our journey!
Joe Maneiro who is the Program Director of the local non-profit Recycle Bikes For Kids rode into town with us from Hazen, AR and then took us by their warehouse to fix up our bikes. This shop is unlike your typical shop. It’s full of old bikes and parts for people to volunteer their time and work on. What started as a place to donate your old bikes for kids has turned into something much bigger. They are a bicycle co-op focused on building the community by giving away over 7k bikes. People from all walks of life are welcome here and it reminds me so much of our Street Soccer USA family. Watching Joe work on our bikes and interact with the random people coming in off the street was proof that he is following his heart and passionate about helping others. It’s no wonder founder Ron King brought him in and they make the perfect team. I had a great time chatting with Ron at his shop and again the next night at our Fundraiser at his son’s music venue Sticky Fingerz.
Big thanks to Chris King for letting us have the space for free and giving us all the door money for Street Soccer USA. Because of all your support in sharing the event online and coming out to dance with us we were able to pay The Funkanites a very much discounted rate and still had enough left over to donate $1,124 to StreetSoccer USA! Couldn’t have done this without the love and support of all my good friends and family!
Before the fundraiser I did a quick 100 mile race at the annual Big Dam 100. It was so much fun riding without my heavy bags through the beautiful Natural State with my friends Jamie Walden and with friend Keith who is the co-founder of their company Treatsie. I also got to ride a lot with friends Derek Owens and Matthew Parish. At the 40th mile aid station I was lucky enough to a do phone interview with a local cycling radio show. Thanks to Mark Lewis for having me on the show and coming out to hang at Stickyz.
It was such a long day which was why our day of rest on Sunday with my sister Crystal and her family in Beebe was much appreciated. My mom drove me, Shane and David out to the county about 45 minutes outside of Little Rock. It’s so refreshing to be out in the woods taking a break from all the craziness of the city we are used to in NYC. It was so much fun to shoot some guns with my brother-in-law Luke and he even lets us ride the dirt bikes. My 5 year old nephew Graham was showing off on his dirt bike to his new best friend Shane.
It’s now Monday and Graham is here at my moms to see us off and he can’t stop asking to see Shane. David made a good impression on the whole family too and I am so happy they got a chance to see where I come from. My mom is the sweetest lady on the planet and it’s so hard to leave this loving home behind today. David and Shane are my family on the road and we have definitely developed a special bond over the past month. That is why being at a fork in the road is so difficult.
Do we ride to Dallas a much flatter and easier route or do we stick to the original plan to ride to Fayetteville through the hills of the Ozark Mountains for a party thrown by The Path Outfitters. If we go the easy we would not only miss out on this fundraiser opportunity but we would have to miss out on connecting with Street Soccer Tulsa too.
When we started this trip I told myself I would not get my hopes up and tried to prepare myself for things to not always work out the why I had envisioned them in my head. My main goal for this ride was to stop in as many Street Soccer USA cities as possible and raise as much awareness as possible along the way by teaming up with people like The Path Outfitters to help us spread our reach.
However, we have been on the road almost a whole month and still have another month and 2k plus miles
to go. We need to do what is best for the team’s physical and mental health if we want to accomplish our big goal of crossing the finish line in San Francisco by October 31st. The decision has been made. Headed towards Dallas so we can keep a happy, healthy triangle. It will be better for the long haul.