2023 rideATAXIA Hometown Twin Cities, MN
The foggy, chilled morning of Saturday, September 16, 2023, concealed the bustling preparations for our first rideATAXIA Twin Cities, MN. Fueled by the Dunn Brother’s coffee graciously donated to the event, volunteers set up all our tents, tables, speakers, signs, and checkpoints along the route. Just in time for the 16-mile ride to begin at 9am, the fog cleared, and the air warmed a few degrees. Led off by myself and my sister, Mekayla, about 40 riders embarked on the first ride in our home state of Minnesota.
Nestled in the woods and wetlands between the eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities, lies the Gateway Trail, the path we chose to host our ride. At a park adjacent to the trail is where a few dozen volunteers, family, and friends (old & new), and five FAers gathered in earnest support of a common goal. We hosted a 4 and 16-mile ride, as well as a one-mile walk/roll. After everyone had returned from their routes, a few words were spoken to thank all who had supported the fundraising and top fundraisers were presented with certificates. Together we raised over $16,000 in support of FA research!
Food, drinks and many, many pictures were taken while all socialized. The playground, disc golf, and bean bag entertained the kids, while we caught up with loved ones, talked about our eventful ride that morning, and met others for the first time. The whole event felt surreal having that many turn up to support FARA’s mission, after we had started cleaning up, my sister and I agreed it had gone by in the blink of an eye. Feeling infinitely blessed is the closest wording to what we felt before, during and after the ride.
Cycling has become a huge part of not only my life, but the lives of FAers around the world. It's a means of exercise, freedom, and thanks to rideATAXIA, a means of supporting research to treat and cure Friedreich's Ataxia. When I first took up cycling 4 years ago in Philly, my life changed for the better, both physically and mentally. And recently I've had the pleasure of watching it do the same for my sister. We cannot fully express our heartfelt gratitude to all who donated, volunteered to support the event today and of course all our riders/walkers! I've been to a half dozen rideATAXIA’s around the country, and while they all support the same goal we do today, finally having one in our home state (the best state) brings so much joy to my heart. Thank you for beginning this tradition with us and we're already looking forward to our ride in 2024!