Day 28: Fallon, NV to South Lake Tahoe, CA

Today we left Nevada and crossed the border into California.  It was a pretty mountainous ride from Fallon to South Lake Tahoe.

We made  a special stop in Reno to visit the Hempel family. Addison and Cassidy are identical twin girls who were diagnosed with NPC in October 2007 when they were four years old. Their parents, Chris and Hugh Hempel, stepped up with extraordinary courage and perseverance and joined the fight against NPC for Addi and Cassi like so many families who find themselves in such circumstances and respond with generosity and hope. In 2012, the Hempels drove to Carson City to meet me along the Road to Discovery route. This year, Addi and Cassi met me right under the Reno sign downtown with their little specialty bicycles. Seeing them was such an incredible inspiration. At the College of Science, we always say that’s it’s not just what we do, it’s why we do it. The Hempel twins are a great reason that we continue this fight against NPC. Thank you, Hempel family, for coming out to see me. Addi and Cassi, it was wonderful seeing you again—you inspire us all!

Visit with Cassi and Addi Hempel, and their dad Hugh

Visiting Cassi and Addi Hempel, and their dad Hugh

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Day 21: Denver to Granby, CO

The day started off wonderful with an interview with KUSA/NBC and a visit to Marley Coffee in Denver.  Marley has been such a great supporter of our cause.  The company’s headquarters in Denver is the coolest headquarters ever. I was even asked to ride my bike through it.  It was great to meet the wonderful Marley employees. Thanks for all of your support.

Interview with Gary Shapiro at KUSA in Denver

Interview with Gary Shapiro at KUSA in Denver

 

Today’s journey was perhaps the roughest I have experienced in all five rides. It started off so well.  Jim, a recent Notre Dame graduate and captain of the Notre Dame Cycling Team last year, joined us for the first part of the ride to Estes Park. On the way, we climbed to 8,000 feet and then descended to about 7,000 feet.

Jim and Greg

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Day 14: Iowa City to Des Moines, IA

Today’s ride was hot, humid, and hilly. Who said Iowa was flat? The rolling hills were never-ending, and the farm fields stretched in every direction as a far as the eye could see. Deer were everywhere. It was a great day for riding.

Interview with NBC in Des Moines

Interview with NBC in Des Moines

It was also a great evening with the Notre Dame Club of Des Moines at Tursi’s Latin King Restaurant, a well-known Italian eatery. They had the best chicken I’ve ever tasted, and the meatballs melted in my mouth. I gave a Universal Notre Dame Celebration talk about Father Hesburgh, and included an update on our progress in the fight against NPC as well as our broader efforts against rare diseases.

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Day 12: Mendota, IL to Davenport, IA

Today’s ride was a little more difficult than expected. Thunderstorms were predicted, and we were were riding right into them. The rain was very heavy at times, but we were on the backroads with no traffic so we rode right through them. Even though the rain was heavy, the temperature was relatively warm so it was a warm wet ride.The sky was ominus and eerie all day even when  it was not raining.  The terrain was relatively flat as we approached Iowa, crossing the Mississippi River, and rolling into Davenport. As we rolled into the hotel, Pat (’76) and Lynda Sarb were there to welcome us.

Sunday 6-7_sky
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Day 8: Cleveland to Toledo, OH

Today’s ride was pretty straightforward. Ohio is pretty flat. The temperature was a chilly to start, but warmed up nicely. Some of the roads in Ohio need some attention for sure. There were many potholes and cracks, which is not good for cars or cyclists. Overall, it was a wonderful day for biking!

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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 »