I’ll never forget that night in Hartwell, GA. A newly formed family of 33 young adults gathered in a large circle on the floor of a muggy school gymnasium. We already had quite the day: crossing our first state line into Georgia, showering (!), consuming unthinkable amounts of food, and learning all too much about cyclists and their “angry eyes.” For now, we put the thoughts of our thermarests aside as we sat in the sticky heat for a team building activity. Our fearless leaders led as we took turns talking about why we chose to do Bike & Build and what our hopes were for the summer. “Traveling”, “adventure”, “fitness”, and “challenge” were commonly heard words that night.
However, for some reason, Christina’s response always stayed with me. She said she just wanted to make sure she rode with everyone. She was excited to get to know the team and was looking forward to a fun summer together.
She really was riding for us. Christina was an extraordinary leader. The epitome of selfless. She was your number-one motivator, the go-to person for short-person cycling tips, and always the first to crack a joke.
It’s hard to believe nearly two years have passed since our Bike & Build journey began in South Carolina. While it’s still very difficult to think about what occurred in Alabama, I am certain Christina would be extremely proud of the foundation formed in her honor and the work that she inspired.
I must say, the 1st Annual Christina Clarke Genco Foundation Mother’s Day Memorial Ride (phew! Try and say that ten times fast) last year was unbelievably fun! Great tunes, a beautiful day, laughter, food, friendly people: cyclists, volunteers, family, friends, strangers-who-became friends… and most importantly, everyone gathering to celebrate Christina’s life.
I know the memorial ride will be just as fun this year. Tomorrow, I encourage everyone to ride, volunteer, donate, or just stop on by and say hello. Let’s all do it for Christina.