Category Archives: Century ride

Can I hear a “PEACEJAM???”.. All the way from PORTLAND, MAINE!!!!

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Well, we made it. Today was supposed to be a 70% chance of heavy rain all day… We left the Chisolms home at about 8:30 this morning.  We were fed an incredible breakfast and given a wonderful send-off.  The first couple hours were in a light misty rain, which was not too bad.

Today is the Moving Planet- 350 awareness day. The day to try to move globally beyond our need for fossil fuels and to work towards a healthier planet.  It could not have been a more fitting day to ride well over a century towards our final destination on the 7th day.

By mid day, the rain had stopped and the sun began poking through the heavy clouds. Since we thought it was supposed to be a heavy downpour all day, we had ourselves set to be incredibly slow and thought we might even need to load the bikes at some point in order to make our trek to Coffee by Design on time. By the time we entered Maine, we were famished (Did I mention we have been eating like 300 pound MEN this entire week?) so we stopped to get “fueled up”, and made a telephone call. Much to our delight, the cafe thought the conversation would go better tomorrow, so we were able to take our time chowing and get back on our bikes.

This entire trip has been an absolute joy. I began my “journey” with PeaceJam over five years ago as an advisor.  My inspiration has always come from seeing youth reach their fullest potential, especially when they have substantial risk factors. When youth overcome those risk factors and become sparked with a passion.. the sky is the limit.  My job was to provide basic “tools” to youth, help them discover how they best want to use those tools, and then step back and watch the magic happen.   In my work with PeaceJam over the years I have seen that magic happen over, and over again.

This journey has been nothing short of an absolute joy, and also a bit exhausting. The words perseverance, inspiration, strength, and courage made up my internal vocabulary as my legs rotated again, and again, and again.

As I have been able to go into the communities where the youth are doing such incredible acts, I have been reminded repeatedly of how courageous they are.. This ride has been so symbolic on so many fronts.

My hope was to be able to ride these 600+ miles in order to raise signifagant funds for PeaceJam Northeast- since PJNE runs on an incredibly small shoe string budget and serves over a thousand kids a year.. although I still hope the funds will keep coming in (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), I have also been thankful for the opportunity to meet so many of the PeaceJam youth, and talk to countless people along the journey about the PeaceJam Global Call to Action.   When we learn about our inspirations, and can turn them into action.. it is truly a powerful act…. When we sit back and put our faith in youth, amazing things happen.. and that is what PeaceJam does.  As is any fundraiser, most people support an act in order to support an organization.. (I.e.. the MS Bike tour, the Susan Komen race, etc.).   Although our cycling is done for this trip, my hope is that many of you will feel inspired and be willing to still donate towards this ride.

Tonight, we shed some tears…. because this journey meant something signifigant for all of us.. For me, it was experiencing the joy of my work and trusting in God to give me the strength I need to not be defined by my illnesses, rather to embrace all of the incredible moments of perseverance.  For my sister-in-law, it was her first time visiting many of these areas, her first time doing a signifigant ride, and only her 5th month in to ever even ride a road bike.. For our sweet support person, Miss Jennifer Huebner- it was an opportunity to embrace her new life as a retired school teacher and celebrate her love for PeaceJam.

Thank you for celebrating with us, and joining us on this incredible journey of peace and perseverance.   Change starts with each and every one of us.. Change starts here.

With much love and sincerity-

Colleen

 

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If we have hope, then we must believe.. and we must act…

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WHAT A BUSY WEEKEND!

On Saturday,  I had the joy of spending the day with Kate Cumbo from the PeaceJam headquarters in Colorado.  Kate is the Director of Education and training for PeaceJam, and brings an incredible amount of energy and passion into her work.  Some people are good at what they do, and others radiate what they do… Kate is that woman! Kate believes in PeaceJam, she has seen the change it has made in thousands of youth and communities world-wide, and her belief and passion is infectious.

Kate is the definition of Accountability.  She works tirelessly for the organization, and her incredible zest never seems to fade.

She has written much of the curriculum for the K-College programs.    As an “affiliate” for PeaceJam, (which means we are the affiliate for the Northeast section of PeaceJam), I am so thankful to have a woman with a backbone for justice and a soul for change at my side.

On Sunday, it was time for another century ride. This time, my husband joined me.  This was his first ever century on a road bike.   Sean lived in the great state of Colorado at 8,000 feet in elevation for close to ten years. He was an avid mountain cyclist, and had competed in century races out west, so clearly he was MORE than fine on a road bike for 100 miles.    Sean and I got off to a later start than we hoped (we hoped to depart no later than 6am).  Our furry children demanded some morning attention.. and needless to say, we simply struggled with Sunday morning motivation.   We departed by 8:45 and returned by 4:45.  The ride was a bit longer than anticipated, as my body struggled immensely with the mid day sun, and I required several “cool down” stops along the way.  One of the medications I take is called Plaquenil.  Plaquenil is used to treat Lupus, and has proven to be incredibly effective for me in reducing pain and inflammation.  The draw back is that it causes a decrease in tolerance to the sun.  Compound that with fever spikes and it wasn’t pretty.   So, lesson learned that early morning motivation is a must and next century ride will depart by day break.  When Kaori and I ride in September we will be departing each destination by 5:30-6:00 am every morning, so we can have most of our ride completed by noon.   This will allow us time to relax and get ready for evening discussions.  During community discussions, we will share about PeaceJam and what inspires us.  Once we learn about our inspiration, we can educate ourselves and then take action towards change.   We all have the power to make a change in the community and the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNiAt2GcoA8&feature=relmfu

“Grandfather Desmond TuTu”, he asked me to call him that after his dinner of fish and chips 🙂

The sister of the Century.. ride.. that is…

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This past weekend my brother and sister-in-law visited us from Pennsylvania.   When I first mentioned I wanted to do this fundraiser for PeaceJam Northeast two months ago, my dear sister sent me an email on Facebook and said she was interested in joining me.

First, I must let you know that she had never been on a road bike.  Kaori is an athlete, and an incredible woman.  She excels in everything she does.  As a mother, she has brought up two phenomenal boys.  Her sons are intelligent, and full of loving kindness and energy.   As an athlete, she is an avid runner and trains in the gym regularly. She is a baker and chef.  She has won cooking competitions, makes wedding cakes, and can knock your socks off with anything she  creates.

Her field of work is even one to be admired, as she works full time with mentally and physically challenged adults.  When Kaori said she was interested in doing this ride with me, I was doubtful. The idea of having her by my side for 600+ miles sounded phenomenal, however knowing she had never cycled made me reluctant. Kaori and I also never really had the opportunity to get to know each other.   We have always lived very far apart, and our busy lives never allowed us much time to know one another.  Those circumstances did not deter her.  Within two weeks, she bought a used bike off Craigs List, and began riding solo.

Within a month, she was riding 20-50 miles… and this past weekend, she arrived with a 15 year old Schwinn strapped to the back of her car… and rode 100 miles with me… and then another 22 on Sunday…. After both rides, her only symptoms were minor fatigue.. I on the other hand, walked like I was severely beat up.  My sister came to the United States from Japan to attend college.   She met my brother, and they fell in love and were married in South Carolina.  She has remained in the states ever since. On Saturday, we not only did the century ride.. We did it together and we worked incredibly well as a team. We finished strong, and with enthusiasm to do a “recovery ride” the following day.   We can do this! Two and a half months ago my sweet sister had never been on a road bike, this past weekend she cycled 123 miles in two days.  She also cycled on a 15 year old bike that weighs three times as much as my road bike.  Talk about inspiration moving into action..  That is what PeaceJam is all about… Finding your inspiration to help you take action towards change.. and that is precisely what Kaori Kelly did. Thank you sister. I am honored to have you in my life.   On September 18th, we will depart together.. and we will finish together eight days later in Thorndike, ME.

We also got our first clothing sponsor! ISIS for woman! An incredible clothing company founded by woman, for woman!! Based out of my loving Green Mountain state! Thank you Isis! We will represent you well!

http://www.isisforwomen.com/