JMA staff generally don’t gather pre-dawn in Lycra, huddled together for heat, awaiting a countdown, with rock music pumping in the background; but the morning of September 7th was a very different kind of morning for us.
This year, twenty-five of us gathered at Hearst Castle in the pre-dawn hours to ride our bikes or walk on behalf of Best Buddies International, whose mission is to promote meaningful relationships in schools and workplaces for people with intellectual disabilities.
Go Team Moran!
One rider, turning 51 this year and never having “done anything like this before in [his] life,” had figured that this type of long-distance bike ride was past him; he walked away after a 30-mile ride, ready to sign up for 60 miles next year! A couple of our team members were teenagers looking to begin their careers in community service. Two of these young riders blew the competition away by placing in the top ten rankings for the 100-mile ride.
“The sun was just beginning to peek its head over the coastal mountain range and cast its rays on the Pacific Ocean when our first seven riders prepared themselves for the 100-mile Best Buddies Challenge countdown at 6:30 am. Pre-ride jitters, excitement and hopes were followed by double- and triple-checking tire pressure, seat height and pocket contents. Four of our teammates rode the 60-mile course, followed by the six 30-mile riders and eight 5K walkers.”
Participating may have been varied, Team Moran was formed in no small part to help us celebrate the past 50 years of our company’s service to our community; a commitment made early on by our founder, John Moran. All of our participants met or surpassed their individual fundraising goals and in the end, $34,500 was raised for the cause!
John’s fidelity to charitable giving and volunteering looms large in our memory of him. In a business driven by the buying and selling of “stuff,” it was hard for John to see people without the basics of food, shelter and clothing. In launching our 50th year celebration, we decided as a company to honor his achievements and carry on this legacy.
By the time the 5K walk was lining up, the sun was up and the day well underway. The crew at Best Buddies had been serving breakfast for hungry athletes for hours (and it was fabulous food too!). It has been said in previous years that this is maybe the only ride / walk where participants come away heavier than when they started, and this year was no exception.
With staggered start times, all of the Team Moran riders and walkers gathered after their individual finish times to cheer on teammates that had pushed hard through the hills and headwind to circle back to Hearst Castle’s finish line. While we all felt like winners after completing our routes (each of us received a participation medal and a photo), there were some truly stand-out performances. Greg Colley, our newest employee, took home the 1st place award for the 100-mile ride, followed by Stephen Swan in 5th place; Zeke Van Rooyen and Hudson Billock each placed in the top 10. What a tremendous feat for our little team from SoCal! While many of us may not have placed in the official ranks, the rest of us were ecstatic to celebrate our victories and marvel at our own personal bests.
25 Team Moran Riders
$34,500 Raised for Best Buddies International
1155 Miles Traveled
1st Place 100 Mile Challenge: Greg Colley for Team Moran
King of the Hill (a section of the 100 mile ride that was 22.5% grade):
Greg Colley for Team Moran
4 Team Moran riders placed in the Top Ten
2 Team Moran riders placed in the Top Five
Top Fundraising Team
200+ Individual Donors
Endless thanks to all who participated in the festivities, families and friends who supported our training, and all of our donors who made it such a successful event.