"Get your guts in gear" is the appropros slogan for the cyclists who rode 150-plus miles (60 of them in rain) doing a big zig from Cold Spring to Sleepy Hollow in order to raise money for inflammatory bowel diseases.
Full disclosure: my brother has Crohn's Disease, which, along with related disease ulcerative colitis remains largely mysterious to scientists. There's no cure and no known causes. Like many, I would have never heard about these diseases had my brother not happened to have one. He, for one, actually can't ride a bike because of his illness.
Not these folks. On Sunday, this crew of almost 40 cyclists, accompanied by at least as many supportive crew members, made the trip with a $1,250 fundraising minimum each that brought them at last to a celebratory picnic-style dinner at . All the riders have one of these ailments or love someone who does.
Courtney Akin, with ulcerative colitis, was among those who came far for the experience. She flew from Georgia to White Plains, where she rented a car to get to the start of the bike route. Not being from the region, Akin was fuzzy on the exact path of the journey or the names of the two camps the group stayed in along the way (group cabins at Taconic Outdoor Education Center and Camp Ramapo) but she said it was a "great experience."
Akin, like the others, did leave knowing people's names and where they were from. Pennsylvania, Florida, Chicago, Wisconsin, California, Kentucky, New York. Many of the participants were repeats from previous years because they enjoy the event so much.
This was Dianna Knauss' second event. Her whole family, from Macungie, Pennsylvania, was here supporting her as crew members, including her daughter Devon, who she was biking on behalf of. Devon, 21, was diagnosed with Crohn's in June 2010 and said that after being really sick for nearly a year and having surgery, she is "feeling better now."
Dianna Knauss said the event was a "great way to meet other people who get each other" and, of course, to raise money toward the cure. Husband Barry and other daughter Kaylee agreed that "working on the crew was amazing." Crew members supply food and drink at the rest stops, cheerlead and other necessary functions.
Spread over the two floors of Moon River, folks in "No Guts No Glory" t-shirts and blue-and-orange bike shirts, ate a well-deserved meal of hamburgers and salads. Volunteers sold similarly emblazoned shirts and accessories at the front door. People packed up their bikes to head home, wherever home was, and rested their weary legs.
"I'm sore right now, but we're okay," said Mike Cowling of California. Some bikers praised the views from Mount Hosner and particularly enjoyed the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail leading them here to their official finish at .
Organization employee Luz Gonzalez, of East Stroudsburg, PA, who works out the logistics of the event, coordinating with towns' police and such, praised the service here in Sleepy Hollow. "The Tarrytown school district was phenomenal," she said. "And the police too. They provided police escorts for us on bikes, and they all even wore our t-shirts."
For info on inflammatory bowel diseases and this organization, click here.