Day 27: Ely to Fallon, NV

Today was a long and pleasant day on the road.  We were on Highway 50 the entire day, known as the loneliest highway in the country.  There were a few climbs and many down hills today.  The temperature was just right.  It was a day that was needed after the challenge of the day before.  When you looked ahead, all you could see was the long Nevada road tens of miles ahead—some stretches felt like I would never get there.  Although it was long; overall, the day was very good.

When we arrived at the hotel parking lot, I met a Notre Dame 2009 graduate and Naval Academy graduate. They are both officers on active duty and came over to ask about what we were doing.

Day 27

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Day 13: Davenport to Iowa City, IA

Today we rode from Davenport to Iowa City, a wonderful place that is home to the great University of Iowa. The day was sunny with a slight headwind—nothing to complain about—and the fields were green with fresh growth as far as the eye could see.

As we pulled into Iowa City, a reporter called and asked me to meet him at Kinnick Stadium, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes and named for the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick.

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Day 1: Riverhead, NY to Poughkeepsie, NY

It was a great morning with the inaugural dip of my bike into the Long Island Sound.  We were a bit scared climbing down a big sand dune and I almost took a spill before we even started that morning! Thanks again to everyone for joining us.

I had a nice first day on the bike.  There was a big 30 mph wind behind us as we tracked from NYC to Poughkeepsie, NY.  That wind was really helpful as we faced some of the bigger climbs.  I am not looking forward to biking back into that wind as we head south towards Princeton, NJ tomorrow.
Day 1: Walkway Over the Hudson

Walkway Over the Hudson

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7th Annual Home Opener Bike Ride

Chicago1Right before the first home game of the football season, I had the honor of joining over 50 Notre Dame alumni from the Chicago area for an incredible early morning bike ride from Millennium Park in downtown Chicago to Notre Dame.  I was able to share a few words about the Road to Discovery bike ride before we hit the road at 5:00 a.m. CDT.

I learned about the bike ride from David Tracy, who joined me on the Road to Discovery leg from New Orleans to Mississippi earlier this summer. This is actually the 7th annual bike ride that Dave has organized in honor of the first home Notre Dame football game. Read more »

Day 28: Sandersville, Ga., to Ridgeland, S.C.

Sand 2Today was a very long day – nearly 150 miles with some dirt roads – but we crossed into South Carolina and managed to reach our destination before the rains came. The wet summer has left pools of water in the woodlands, and with the sun shining they reflect the trees like mirrors.

I am thinking of our Global Health Master’s Program students who will graduate this weekend. I won’t get to address them because I’m on the road, but I am so proud of them. We have so many terrific faculty who teach and mentor the students throughout the year, and then the students take all this training and put it to practice. Read more »

Day 22: New Orleans, La. to Ocean Springs, Miss.

New levy in NOLAWell today was the most eventful day of the ride so far. The elements were brutal – humidity, sun, heat, the worst headwinds yet, torrential downpours, so much sand blowing from the Gulf Coast beach that I felt sandblasted. But the people made it special.

Jeff and Dave from Chicago flew down to ride the more than 100 miles. Jeff, who is an executive at SRAM  has been so generous and supportive of the rides. Read more »

Halfway to Baltimore

halfwayI crossed the halfway point today, and I’m getting really excited about making it to Baltimore to meet the children with NPC and their families at the end of the road at the NNPDF conference. Many of them are friends that I have met before over the years, and they have always amazed me. Even at this distance, their passion and compassion, their courage and perseverance in the face of this life challenge inspire me in all I do, including this Road to Discovery, to finish the journey, as they inspire our Notre Dame scientists and students to cross that goal line for a cure. Read more »

Day 17: Brenham to Houston, Tex.

Today’s ride was really great – favorable wind and lots of cloud cover blocking the hot Texas sun. It was a really nice ride. Renate rode today and is heading back to South Bend on Monday. It was nice to have her back on the Road to Discovery these past few days.

Tonight we had a wonderful event with the Notre Dame Club of Houston. It started with a mass at the University of Saint Thomas organized by the club. Father River led a wonderful mass. Afterwards, we had a big Texas picnic BBQ style with more than 90 people, smoothly organized by Greg and John. Everyone signed the van. It might have been the largest turnout so far. Thank you, Houston Club, for such a memorable experience. I visited Houston few years ago to give a Hesburgh Lecture and I knew then it was a very special club – so passionate about the Notre Dame mission.

Notre Dame Club of Houston

Notre Dame Club of Houston

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Day 14: San Angelo to Brady, Tex.


Skye from the Brady Chamber

Today was a fantastic day from San Angelo to Brady. The wind died down and the sun was as brilliant as ever in the clear blue sky with moderate temperatures. Geographically, we left West Texas as the rolling hills started and the landscape transformed from desert to green crop fields and rolling, grassy cattle pastures. I was so glad that strong wind coming from the south died down a bit.

Today added three great stories to the vast Road to Discovery collection. Read more »

Day 13: Midland to San Angelo, Tex.

MidlandToday’s ride was pretty simple – straight head. The wind was a heavy cross coming out of the south. The landscape again was pretty desolate and empty. On days with so much emptiness all around, as far as the eye can see, with nothing discernible to attract attention, in some strange way the mind is free to question everything.

In the College of Science at Notre Dame, we concentrate on teaching our students to be questioners. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics developed in the first place because of the innately human drive to ask questions. Every field stays alive and flourishing if and only if we generate new questions – new questions all the time. Questions, not answers, move disciplines forward. Questions challenge us in search for the truth, in search for solutions, in search for better ways to understand and improve our world. Read more »

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