June 19 – Day 7: Annapolis to Fredericksburg: Carrying the NPC Story to Strangers and Friends

Another Beautiful Day

We rode the first 40 miles today in a sprinkling rain that felt pleasant in the warm air. Then the sun came out for the rest of the day. Nearly a week into the ride, we had our first and second flat tires – both times it was Greg’s front tire. We figured the 50 flats we had last year should have been enough for two trips, but we’re still on a better pace this time around. We saw a real menagerie of wildlife today – turtles, bunnies, a fox, gophers, who seemed to be laughing at us as we passed, and, most impressive, a deer right next to us in the ditch! That was Greg’s closest encounter with a deer. Fortunately, he decided to jump back into the woods rather than into the road as we went by. That collision could have been worse than 50 flat tires!

Virginia Welcomes Us, and It's Open for Business

We wanted to ride the bikes across the Potomac into Virginia, but that wasn’t going to happen, as the Maryland state trooper explained when he turned on his lights and stopped us. “No matter how much I like the school, I cannot let you cross the bridge by bike,” he said. He made sure we were safe while we loaded the bikes into the van, and we had a great chat about football. We told him all about our cause and gave him a Road to Discovery t-shirt and postcard. Thank you, Officer, for your help.

Just seven days ago, we started in Boston with Ara. We had a phenomenal week meeting with the families and NPC children. On the way, many of them have given us necklaces, wristbands and t-shirts associated with their own fundraising and awareness campaigns for NPC in their local communities. We are very touched and honored to know these members of the big team fighting NPC, and we proudly wear these items on the ride, showing them off and telling the story that goes with each one.

Do I Look Spiffy?


Greg and Renate in VA wearing their Irish fanfare.


After arriving in Fredericksburg, we drove back to Washington, D.C., through the heavy traffic on Interstate 95 that we had forgotten in the quieter parts of the country. We had a great evening at the home of John and Mary. They also invited Norb and Linda, and Paul, Dana, Phil and Ed. Norb is on the Science Advisory Council and actively involved with Niemann-Pick research developments. Ed was wearing a sport coat with a Notre Dame 50-year patch on it — he received this patch at his 50th class reunion at Notre Dame. He affectionately referred to this group as Super Seniors. Greg had to try on the jacket as well. Lots of ND memories were shared among this group of alumni and plenty of discussions about how much the campus has changed. We were well fueled (truffles are always a big hit with Renate) for our next day’s ride into Richmond. The group was very excited about next June’s Niemann-Pick Golf Fundraiser at Pebble Beach, California. Plenty of people have already mentioned that although they are unable to join us on this bike ride unfortunately, they will enthusiastically join us on the Pebble Beach golf course.

Dinner Party at John and Mary's

1 Comment so far

  1.    Scott on June 23rd, 2011

    This is so AWESOME! I’m in DC and wish I could have joined the 2-person Irish Power Train!! But in spirit I’m with you every spin of the way.

    Keep on rockin and speading NPC awareness!