It has been quite some time since I checked in last, and I apologize for my absence in the blogosphere. Since then, a lot of fun and memorable events have occurred. I am going to focus on Oklahoma, since we had such great support throughout the state.
I want to take some time to highlight our Oklahoma riders. Erin Blackstock is a 4th year medical student from Harvard Medical School and will be starting her Internal Medicine residency program at Mass General in Boston this upcoming summer. She has done a tremendous job in Oklahoma, not only finding places for the team to sleep and eat, but getting her generous family involved in our cross-country ride. A special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Blackstock for their willingness to let 20 medical students sleep at their beautiful home for two nights. We had an awesome time at the cook out and relaxing on the patio, playing music and coming up with songs for Cody Parks big 20th birthday. They donated a lot of tasty snacks for the road, allowing us to have a diverse lunch and snack stop for today’s ride. Erin and the team made the best of what’s around yesterday for our nearly rained out solidarity ride. Thanks to Blake Middleton, a fourth year at Oklahoma State University College of Medicine who will pursue family medicine, for bringing out friends and classmates to ride in the rain and then through all the rainbows in Tulsa. We had a complimentary lunch provided by McNellie’s (thanks again, Erin!) I was happy that we were able to do the Tulsa solidarity ride since our other solidarity ride planned in Norman was cancelled due to inclement weather.
While we did not ride in Norman, we definitely had an awesome time in the city home to the headquarters of Physical Therapy Central, one of our main sponsors this year. With support from Dana Martin and Bridgit Finley, we had a fantastic fundraising event at their house. Featuring wine, beer, catered food (half was donated by the generous caterers), live music, and a silent auction, this special night was definitely one of the most memorable experiences of this year’s ride. Words cannot express my gratitude to Dana and Bridgit, who opened their home to host a fabulous night. I was honored to play guitar and provide background music, along with my good friends Will Akard and Kyle Knuppel. Dana Martin rode from San Diego to Tulsa, OK with the team and I had the opportunity to have several conversations with her while riding. Her kindness and advice continues to resonate with me and I know she has impacted our riders who had the privilege to get to know her during our first month on the ride.
As we approach the second leg of this year’s ride, I have enjoyed reflecting over the first month’s experiences and memories. I definitely have learned many important lessons on teamwork, leadership, and conflict resolution. I would say that while this ride has been one of the most challenging experiences I have faced, both physically and mentally, it has also been the most rewarding. I am grateful for the life-long friends I have made along the way and I know I will work with many of my fellow riders in the future in one way or another.
Again, I apologize for not being a more avid blogger thus far, but I will certainly do my best to improve for the second part of this ride. Each day I wake up, my main goal is to be improve as a leader and teammate as compared to the day before. Hopefully I am making progress on this, as I know these character traits and skills will grow even more important as I head into residency.
Peace, Love, and Chamois butter