Posted by: nierluap | August 15, 2011

FINAL THOUGHTS FOR NOW

I don’t think the scope of my ride has sunk in yet. Intellectually when I think of 3700 miles on a bicycle I know it is a great accomplishment, but right now I look at it as I simply accomplished a goal I set for myself, and that is what I was supposed to do. Every night when I was in my hotel room I would look at the bike and did think it was cool that that hunk of steel was transporting me across the country, and when I turned the corner on 31st in Virginia Beach my transportation and I were one, seeing the people and the happiness on their faces was just so cool. I thought about so much on this journey for while I met so many people, I only traveled with 3 every day- me, myself and I and we talked a lot. At times it felt like it was aloud. I learned many things, that I only wished I could have learned at a younger age, but then again I wasn’t ready. I learned aside from good health both mentally and physically which we all need to survive, what is most important begins with Family and Friends. We choose our friends and I have been blessed to have some friendships that go back to kindergarten- Norm Rosen, some to Mumford High School- Michael Freedman, Ray Deitch, some to College- Spade, Neil Colman. Some from the last “few” years and way to many to mention except for Linda Bourdon who was with me as my sag hag for the 1st 17 days of the trip and daily provided encouragement as I rode. Everyone has been so supportive while I was on this trip, through the blog, facebook and email. From day 1 I could look forward to riding to French Lick Indiana, albeit 7 weeks away. Ray flew into Indianapolis from Albany, New York, while Michael and his beautiful wife Nancy flew from Detroit to Indianapolis and the 3 of them then drove 2 more hours to French Lick for a great weekend. Think about that. Y’all read Spade’s schtick every day, and Norm was always there for me. Neil, my pledge brother from Sigma Alpha Mu was there with electronic encouragement. My Family could not have been better. This has brought my 6 nieces and nephews certainly closer to me, and Lisa and Joey became addicted to my SPOT- gps locater, that they were my guardian angels. Lisa, Kenny, Joey and his son Jimmy drove to meet me in Wierton WV a little over a week ago. The only real reason to go there is DeeJays Barbecue and ribs. Ask Barry Dayton, he lived there and will concur. My brother Allan and his wife Arline have been behind me. My ex-sister in law Sheila, the mother of Jay, has been unbelievably helpful not only in fund raising but in her unwavering support of me. , My cousins in Ohio and Maryland were always there. Last but not least my kids Earon and Kate have always been there and while they like many people said are you crazy, as only your kids can do, have been great. I could look forward to seeing E in Chicago, and then my stay at Kate and Pete’s Flowerdue Manor B&B made that day.

After those two F’s(family/friends) I learned that finding a balance in your life is so vital. Finding something that you can do that provides personal satisfaction while doing good for others. My association with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society goes back to 1967 when in Detroit it was the Children’s Leukemia Foundation that our fraternity sponsored a week long event:Sammy Week for Leukemia and I was honored to be the chairman. 44 years ago we raised $5000 on a college campus. Think about it, that was a lot of money then. Back then leukemia was a death sentence, but as Jimmy Valvano said, never give up. Now the vast majority of leukemia patients survive. In 1992 I ran my 1st marathon for Team in Training, a new program started by a great group of people. The day before that marathon I visited the Holocaust Museum in DC, and simply said if those people who survived the camps could go through years of living hell I can get through a simple marathon, and I did, and did several others. Team in Training since its inception has raised over $1 billion dollars. Think about that and I am glad I could be a small part of that success. Hodgkins Disease now is so treatable. My nephew Jay and grand nephew Daniel are two prime examples of why we never give up.

Some of the lessons from cycling I learned along the way might be silly but go with me on this. Shoulders on the road became so important to me. When I had shoulders on the road, be it 2 lane, 4 lane or interstates I felt safer. Think about each one of us, if we didn’t have the support of shoulders either literally or figuratively, going through life would be so much more difficult. We love shoulders. I learned in 10th grade geometry the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line, but not in biking. Sometimes taking the shortest distance is more dangerous, and we have to work to get where we want to go, not just get there the fastest. This is so applicable to our world today, but I think I get it, you have to work, put in time and you will accomplish your goal. Well it makes sense to me. Think about young adults today when they get in the business world. So many don’t want to put the time and work, instead they say show me the money.

These are just some of the things this ride has taught me. I’m not going to give out awards so the interim ones I did a month or so ago will remain just that-interim. I have been overwhelmed by hearing the praise from so many people, that I just don’t know how to respond except to say thank you. I feel so lucky to have a good passion gene given to me by Sidney and Saretta. Some things you are born with, some are learned. I was born with that gene and I am glad it is there. Over the years passion can be misinterpreted, but to find success in whatever you choose to do in life you need passion. For me without that passion, whether at work in wanting to be the best anesthesiologist and treat every patient as a VIP, or on the golf course wanting to shoot 68 and take money from my opponents or riding 3700 miles on a bicycle I can honestly say I want to be the best. I know I will never accomplish that, but even now at my age that is my goal.

Finally one more time:THANK YOU TO ALL!

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Responses

  1. No, Thank You! for your tenacity, strength, and purpose. You set a shining example for all who care so very much about what is truly important in this short lifetime of ours, We all learned from your adventure and how you relayed what you saw each day from your blog, helped us see values that I hope we won’t forget. G-D Bless America and for all those who know right from wrong. Thanks for being our eyes this summer. You went above and beyond, Fondly, Spade.

  2. You may only be a mediocre skiier, and your cowardice when shooting craps is world renown, but your courage to go where others may fear, and your integrity in doing what you think is right, make me very proud to be your friend. May you continue to be an inspiration in a world sadly lacking in heroes.
    Here’s to you, Old Buddy, I’m glad you were looking out of Rossen’s window 51 years ago next month.
    Much love,
    Freedman

  3. Paul, you are without a doubt the best! The fact that you always strive to be even better is what makes you so exceptional. It has been such a privilege to ride along with you in spirit and such a joy to know that you are finally home safe and sound. Congrats on an unbelievable journey! Can’t wait to see what you do next! Love ya, Linda

  4. Your final thoughts put everything in life in a fabulous perspective. Oh, if we only knew then what we know today. You are admired by so many. You are an unusual (in a very kind and gentle way) individual and your triumphant completion of this journey/adventure, coupled with your compassion to give back, has benefited not only the many who have followed your trek, but also those nameless individuals who are the benefactors of your fundraising efforts. You are a person to be admired and held in high regard.

    Your friend/pledge brother/ and admirer

    Neil


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