Thank You! – Our Final Words and Final Video of 2012′s 500 mile ride
Wow! It’s been quite a ride and what can we say except that we are filled with gratitude.
To date, we have raised $31,473 and counting, and we owe every dollar raised to all our supporters and donators. We truly appreciate your involvement in our grassroots project and can’t express how much it means to us. Every dollar truly makes a difference and we are thankful for you.
To extend thanks, we wanted to share the rider’s 500 miles from pictures and footage they managed to capture along the way. To give a sense of what 500 miles was like, here is “Bike for Kam’s” final compilation video (above).
We hope you will join us again next year for another adventure, a new route and a new location…? . Bike for Kam is now an annual ride and we hope to annually grow our ridership and fundraising goals. Donation lines are still open, so if you have been meaning to donate, you still can. You can also purchase B4K inspired art prints. All proceeds from these art prints will go towards our ultimate fundraising goal.
100% of the proceeds has gone directly to HIBM research. Click HERE to read our final words, testimonies or access B4K’s seven day journal from the road.
Kam’s FINAL WORDS:
What can I say, except “thank you” from the bottom of my heart. What a long ride this project has been and what an experience to witness the generous donations and overflowing kindness from loved ones and strangers…
2011 was our very first B4K ride and we have just successfully completed our second one. I honestly didn’t know this project was going to become an annual effort. Last year, we were a group of seven-merely trying to get through our very first epic grassroots project. We were new to the game and learning along the way. After they crossed the Santa Monica Pier finish line, it was unanimous that this needed to be an annual adventure. This year we more than doubled our ridership setting our fundraising goal to double last year’s efforts.
For the people who are in the middle of this type of project to this magnitude, it’s always an overwhelming set of emotions. I’m so very thankful to my 15 friends, old and new, who said, “yes” to these long 500 miles. Many of us have really good friends, but to experience a friendship during one’s time of need brings the experience to an entirely new level. It causes the relationship to morph into something unique and personal. You guys were amazing out there and I was proud of you during every moment. Thank you to my friends for taking on this endeavor and thank you to their loved ones who truly supported them along the way, whether it be sharing their loved one’s efforts through social media, donating, spreading the project to their social circle and the like. All these seemingly “small” efforts did not go unnoticed and helped create another successful year.
A special thanks to Huy and Elizabeth from Daly city for their unbelievable hospitality in hosting our crew as we prepared for the Golden Gate departure, to John from Specialized Bicycles for making and hand delivering food to the guys at the beach in Santa Cruz, to the team’s friends who dropped in on them along the road to bring drinks and water, to those who met us at the start and finish line to cheer us on, to Stephen and Scott for our promo video and t-shirts, to Jason for all the support, to all the HIBM Patients who helped share this project, to the strangers that the team met along the way and cared enough to check out our website and donate, to my artist friends who did B4K art to garner some extra donations, to all our sponsors and the media who shared our story and to everyone in between! Bike for Kam has been a wonderful source to see our friends and loved ones unite and help each other.
After realizing I had such a rare and serious condition in my early 20′s, during the prime of my life, I was told I was alone. I was literally told no one would care. Years later I met an organization dedicated to HIBM and soon realized I was NOT alone. But, awareness was still very much needed. My lot in life has been about talking about HIBM as much as possible and spreading awareness. Because of my friends, B4K has been a means in expanding awareness to diverse communities. I don’t feel so alone now.
I don’t want to speak on behalf of all patients, but this is how HIBM makes me feel…
HIBM is not just a disease. It lives and breathes in those it affects. It transpires and grows. It permeates and relentlessly coerces itself into one’s life. It’s lifelong and lasting. The road feels very long.
It’s sometimes lonely, fulfilling, sad, happy, hurtful, humbling, an intimate friend, an intimate enemy, it can humiliate, it’s a teacher, it’s rewarding, it’s painful, arduous, alleviates, a taker, a giver, limiting, yet freeing, it makes you feel like a child and yet makes you feel like you’ve lived years beyond your age. It’s unrelenting, unforgiving and unearths past memories down to the minutiae. It exceeds past our typically constrained dualities.
It gives you wind to persevere and the motivation to keep pushing, yet simultaneously knocks the wind out of you-playing a sideshow of all your worst fears. It rearranges everything you think you knew.
It’s foreign, even after years and years, and yet has become the most familiar part of oneself. The things we stake importance on has altered and shifted, and the world, at least for myself, seems much smaller. Everything seems within reach. It makes me realize that as much control as we’d like to think we have over our lives and surroundings, the winds of change are constantly fluctuating and no amount of planning or preparation will ever prevent life from taking its course. It’s an adventure, a journey within oneself…a relinquishing of oneself.
It installs the notion that there’s nothing to lose in trying absolutely everything, and though the self confidence may not be there, push anyways because the confidence will soon find you. I have no secrets in learning how to deal with a such a disabling condition. The secret is there is no secret. There is no one correct way to do something. Like my friends biking 500 miles, it can be a day by day, mile y mile effort. and it can be about looking for those beautiful sunsets over the coast and seeing inspiration in the middle of it all. The only thing I have found that works for me is passion. It’s the only thing that gets me through. If you’re not passionate and curious, then life is so much harder when living with adversity. Keep on with your adventures.
I hope you enjoy our final compilation video. It is now a tradition along with our promo video and 500 mile day-to-day journal. I put the final video together for our supporters, but also for my friends so they can revisit the road whenever they miss it. I hope you enjoyed watching our project unfold and we hope to see you again next year :).
Read what my friends have to say about their 500 mile experience below.
Even though B4K is only an annual event, you can always stay involved with HIBM throughout the year. Either through checking ARM’s website (www.hibm.org) or visiting my personal blog (www.greengreengrass.typepad.com), you can keep up with any research or news. Please, continue to learn about HIBM and other patients it afflicts.
Here are some final words from some of the bikers who took part in our 2012 tour.
“Riding from the golden gate bridge to the Santa Monica pier was an incredible experience! One that will forever be logged in my memory bank. We seemed to have a great team of guys looking out for each other and checking each other’s bikes to make sure there weren’t any mechanical adjustments that were needed. From the plethora of farts (due to heavy fiber diet on the trip), to amazing sunsets, to camping at Big Sur, sleeping on a handball court in Guadalupe, hearing the Amtrak train go by as you pass a field and a couple of dogs howl at the piercing sound of the passing train’s horn. Being part of Bike for Kam was an experience I’m glad to be a part of. I wish it didn’t have to end so that we could raise money until we had raised enough to fund the cure.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever taken on a challenge as big as this trip. I haven’t really ever taken much of a break from life and the typical day-to-day had made me jaded. When we left the Golden Gate Bridge I remember not feeling nervous or even really excited about this trip. I was really kind of numb about it all. I remember telling Ben Hoang that I miss that feeling of being anxious about something-like when you’re a kid and it’s the night before going to Disneyland or Christmas Eve and you cannot sleep. What I didn’t realize was that along the way I would become more in-tuned to who I really was, why I was really doing this and what Kam and everyone else with this disease goes through, and I would be truly humbled.
You’re climbing mountains, you’re battling head winds, you’re sit bones are sore, your legs are sore, your clothes smell, you’re napping in parking lots and on the shoulder of roads, you’re eating when you can, you’re sharing the road with speeding cars with little to no shoulder, a cold bathroom stall with a sink is comfort, you’re riding for an average of 8 hours a day, and you go to bed knowing you’re going to do it all again tomorrow. Knowing all this-it may seem discouraging, but I had Kam in the back of my mind most of the time and I couldn’t help but think to myself, “what do I have to complain about?”. Kam and other people who have HIBM used to be able to do this, now this disease has taken that away from them. Knowing Kam had to live vicariously through us for this one week-it made me start to appreciate everything. Kam may not have been there physically, but nonetheless she was there amongst us all. In the end, for as tired, worn out, and dirty as I was, I was sad that this adventure was all over. I have accomplished so many things on this trip, experienced unexpected acts of kindness from strangers, and have seen so many sights that words cannot express the beauty and majesty of.
This trip has changed me forever and I am able to see things, including my life, in a whole new light. I have also gotten to know Kam, who is an amazing person, who I admire and respect very much. I hope and pray that our trip will help fund this cure and as “Bike for Kam” grows, I hope the awareness of this disease grows. I look forward to experiencing this all over again next year.”
“Celebrate the small victories and live with no regrets”
- Andrew Gutierrez
“Holy Shit!! I spent 8 days on a bicycle touring all the nooks and crannies of California’s central coast!! With the help and support of some truly amazing people, we completed something that very few ever consider setting out to do. I feel very proud of this simple yet truly fulfilling fact.True exploration is a hard thing to obtain or even quantify in today’s world.Before the Journey, my experience of Central Californian Coast had been limited to coastal pit stops and bathroom breaks linking a series of 60 MPH road trips through out Interstate 1. I was certain that I knew the coastline up and down. I had stood beside the red woods in Big Sur. I surfed my fair share of cold empty point breaks. And I’ve sketched the wind swept cypresses that crawl across the coastal landscape. I had hit all the hot spots.. In the beginning, this trip was not about exploration for me. It was about completing something that I had set out to do….My “context” for what I had gotten myself into was set into a whirlwind by the middle of the first day! And then again on the second, and third, and so on… Each day was filled with its own little saga of trials and tribulations… Pain and suffering….Obstacles and rewards, second guesses and doubts. No matter how big or how small, around every corner, over every hill, small explorations began to present themselves and I very quickly began to forget about the initial goal and all the silly baggage that my brain had brought with me.Life is simple in the saddle. Being on a bike for 10 hours a day forced me to explore the details of anything and everything. Somewhere between brief descents and excruciating assents in Big Sur, I found a rhythm. I began to feel so selfishly thankful yet so sorry for the people that zoomed by in their cars. They were missing out on all the beautiful details that surrounded us. Time began to be measured in miles and in those miles my thoughts were all that I was left with…It was a good place to be. I felt a sense of relatedness to whoever happened to be cycling beside me at that moment because of how unique each second seemed to be. We were explorers!!Kam, In a very direct way your journey allowed us to take our journey, and throughout you seemed to be right there with us. All I can say is, “thank you”. This experience has been something that I will truly measure all future endeavors against.”-Nick Berry
“The ride for me was one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. I don’t ride bikes and I trained for 5 days leading up to this event which made it even crazier. I knew I would have my friends pushing me, just didn’t think it would be literal. Viet helped push me up a hill like 3 times. Just as I was ready to take a breather he came out of nowhere like an angel and pushed me.
I have never driven up the coast, so everything was new to me. There were a lot of nice camp spots and beautiful spots that looked like screen savers. We took z lot of pictures and had time to soak it all in. The coast made climbing hills a lot better.
Overall this was an experience that I will never forget. It’s a story I have told and will tell for a long time which will help keep spreading the word for HIBM. I remember hearing about it last year, and I’m thankful I was a part of it this year.”
“Another 500 miles in the bag, making it a total of 1,000 miles Biking for Kam and there are several things I’ve learned in my time on the small, 4 square inches of leather I called home for about 100 hours in the past two trips.
First, eat and drink on your bike all the time. Second of all, never take for granted what you’ve have in your life. EVERYTHING. From the moment you wake up to the moment you close your eyes, for most of us, life is a breeze. I don’t care if you’re digging ditches for living, you’re up, you’re vertical and you’re breathing.
You know what else I learned on this trip? Despite all the hardships, obstacles and curveballs that were thrown at us on the trip, all these guys persevered. They all proved something to themselves and to each other that was never really talked about, but we all felt solidified by this trip. We proved our mettle and pushed ourselves in ways most people will never discover.
I personally think that’s the biggest reason this bike tour is so significant for Kam. Yes, it raises awareness for HIBM. Yes, it raises money to fund research for HIBM. But more importantly, it gives us a chance to get a glimpse into Kam’s everyday life. For us to be challenged physically and mentally, if only for a week, we begin to understand her challenges. Her small, yet significant victories everyday. One of my favorite pieces of art Kam ever did was her Ramen piece. It illustrates exactly what we take for granted every day and reveals that most of us probably don’t challenge ourselves enough; while some folks face so many challenges in their lives that it becomes overwhelming.
So, to wrap up my ramble, my Mantra is this:
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. CHALLENGE YOURSELF EVERYDAY. DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEBODY ELSE. GROW.
Thanks Kam! I’d ride for you any day.”
“First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in supporting Bike for Kam. With your help, Bike for Kam 2012 turned out great. From people who donated and to the people who spent their precious time to help spread the word, thank you all. I would also like to thank the support of my high school, Buena Park HS, for also getting involved in the support for Bike for Kam. It’s nice to see that even though we have been long gone from there, they still find some way to help us down the road. So a big Thank You to Martha Aguilar and the rest of the BPHS students and staff for their support. I would also like to thank my brother and sisters for also getting involved in such a great cause.
The bike ride from SF to LA is probably the toughest thing I had ever had to do. 500 miles is a long way, especially when I did not train properly for the ride…and boy did I pay for it. The 7 days of riding was tough, but they guys we had on the ride were very helpful. We met many people along the way and we shared Kam’s story in hopes of them spreading the word for HIBM. The steep hills weren’t so bad when you have those awesome views to the right. You kind of forget how bad your legs feel when the ocean view is right there. Camping out at night was great. Sharing stories and laughs and remembering why we are on this ride in the first place made the pain more bearable. Friday night was great night. Andres family and friends came out and threw us a nice BBQ. Thank you all for that!!! Kam came out for a surprise visit and took pictures with us. When Saturday morning came around, it was hard to believe we had endured 6 days of riding. Although there were times where the ride seemed long, the week went by faster than I had expected. Riding that last mile towards the pier, I could still remember how we barely left the Golden Gate Bridge. It was great to see so many people supporting us at the finish line. Thanks to all the guys who were able to come on the ride. Thanks for the laughs, the stories, and the memories!! I don’t know if I will do this again this year, but I’m glad I did the ride this year for Kam and for everyone affected by HIBM. Again, thank you all for the support!!!!!”
“I was a part of the first B4K Ride in 2011 and what I gained, and this will sound cliche, was an experience of a lifetime, from an adventurist and personal standpoint, to be an advocate to raise awareness for H.I.B.M. This was a bike ride that tested you mentally and physically over 500 miles fully loaded. To be able to conquer those feats is self rewarding. There was no doubt in my mind I would return for B4K 2012. In lieu of writing paragraphs, I will just bullet point what I thought were the highlights of my experience of this 2012 trip.
Having the original 6 back again and biking with new riders whom are my close friends (Mike B, Jimmy, Andy, Bobby, Son) and making new friends (Berr, Nick, Big Ben R., and Sean)
The generous hospitality that was provided to us by Huy and Elizabeth in Daly City for storing our bikes and providing us with a place to stay, John from Specialized near Santa Cruz for cooking us hamburgers and hotdogs, Jose from Santa Maria setting us up with water and gatorade, Lucas G for purchasing beer for us in Ventura, Andres’ parents for the food at our campsite at Pt. Mugu.
Biking the major climbs without walking (includes Devli’s Slide, Big Sur, Lompoc), which was a goal of mine to attain since 2011 I walked a good amount of those hills.
To be able to bike through Big Sur and enjoy all of its beauty (*2011 Big Sur landslide occurred and had to detour to 101 fwy to get around)
For a good couple of miles to San Simeon, the original 6 riders rode together in a formation that we had last year that brought this nostalgic feeling and memories from 2011 B4K ride.
Camping at various state parks and the Boys and Girls Club Handball Court of Guadelupe in which the “Stealth Bomber” name was created.
Big Ben Ragain’s cruise control pace that would never change, and if you ever ask him how he is doing his exact words would be, “I’m good.” Damn you! haha
Beltran’s Bose system playing the jams until it became dead weight by the 3rd day of the bike ride.
Garza putting a shirtless picture of myself as a screensaver on his phone (weird right?)
Putting a shirtless picture of Garza on my phone. (what?)
Reciting lines over and over from the movies of Fast and the Furious and the Hangover with Beltran.
Biking with Beltran on one of the climbs before lompoc and having to stop and rest because of laughing so hard after insulting each other.
Illuminaid, for not only making such a great solar power night light, but also a comfortable pillow at night.
2,000+ calorie meals at each sitting (not sure if it was a good thing, but the food was damn good)
Viet introducing me and Hieu to Goldbond Powder because it really saved our butts. Literally
Viet helping me apply Goldbond Powder inside my shorts.
Almost everybody at Duke’s having a Lava Flow drink, one of the last few manly drinks out there.
All the riders persevering through their challenges and injuries. You guys were all studs who never quit no matter what. YOU DID IT!!!!
Meeting random individuals along our journey that wanted to know what we were riding for and even donated, I just want to say you guys rock and thank you for the support and funding the cure!
The amazing support from our friends and families and to everybody who showed up and cheered us on to the finish line in Santa Monica was very special feeling for all of us. A big THANK YOU to each one of you.
To Kam, for all the work you did during our bike ride with the website, the blogs and especially in this year’s ride where your schedule was hectic with flying all over the country, we appreciate all of your hard work that you provide. You’re a cool gal and glad that after meeting you last year our friendship has grown. Your an inspiration to us all. Thank you for being the person you are.”
“Bike for Kam 2012 was another adventure of a life time. “I came, I saw and I conquered.” Big Sur to be exact. All the struggles and challenges on this bike ride is only temporarily for me, but HIBM patients have to deal with struggles and challenges everyday. Lets make a difference.”