As you have seen over the last week, as a guest rider you must blog. I saved my blog til now because I wanted a few days to reflect on this amazing adventure called the Stephan Challenge. here goes…
My name is Paul Pomfret. I met Mark a few decades ago on our first day of work together. 20 years later, I rode with Mark from the Send Off in San Diego onwards to Arizona over the course of the first week. We all had a great week. Now that I am home, I find it funny that the perfectly healthy one was tired and needed a break by weeks end.
Today, Mark still rides strong, but this does not surprise me- when it comes to Mark Stephan we all have come to expect the impossible right? Steph and his team are simply amazing, and before I continue, I want to thank the people who are behind the scenes. I know I speak for Steph when I say, without you, this journey would not be possible. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart. First, the beautiful Margaret- Mark’s better half- thank you for your unconditional love in allowing my buddy Mark to still be Mark, and in the process show the world how truly special he is… I know how you worry. Next “take it all in stride” Lincoln. You have no idea the challenges and obstacles Lincoln faces everyday to keep this ride running smoothly. But he does it with a smile, humor, and makes it look easy. Then there is Alex “the solution,” who no matter what issue or problem arises, he comes up with the fix (yea…check out Mark’s spiffy bike shade cover). Then there is “I got it” Katy- biking, filming, and caring all the film equipment she needs at the same time. Lastly there is Maria “God’s Angel on Earth” Maria. She is Mark’s care-giver 24-7- Maria keeps him going. These people are the core or better yet, the heart and soul of the team- the ones who have been there everyday. I know I speak for all when I say, thank you for your support, sacrifice, commitment, and pure love.
Now to you readers, I have something to say… When in your LIFE will you a get to see a miracle take place right in front of your eyes? Five years ago doctors told Mark his body was broken and would never work again. Mark’s injury is the same as Christopher Reeves injury, who spent his life in a wheelchair and on a breathing machine. How’s that for perspective. Five years ago it seemed Mark’s story was written. But today, he pedals across the country on a 3-wheeled bicycle powered by a frame that can’t feel and a face with a constant smile… Steph is rewriting his own story. If you ask the doctors to explain how this is possible, they can’t! Mark is changing how medical science approaches individuals with spinal cord injuries. Everyday Mark rides, he furthers this knowledge while also continuing to transform his own body. Now having seen this evolving transformation in just a week, I believe that we will all see Mark Stephen one day walk without any assistance. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST, I DO NOT CARE WHAT THEY SAY, STEPH’S SPIRIT WILL CONQUER ALL, and he’ll do it with your help and support. It is a miracle, and take it from someone who rode with this dream team for the first week and is returning this weekend… COME RIDE!
I repeat, along with all who have joined the ride and blogged (Jay, Katy, Courtney, Chuck, Jimmy, Lynne), COME RIDE!
COME RIDE for Steph. COME RIDE for you. Find the time and join Mark in person on his adventure. No excuses- Mark teaches us all that we always have a choice, and there is no time like the present, so make it happen! If Mark can do it, so can you- in other words, “I’m not in shape” is not a valid excuse. I promise you, it doesn’t matter if your schedule is full, if you haven’t exercised in a year, you don’t even have to know Mark or like biking, it doesn’t matter- this will be one of the best experiences of your life.
Well what else can I say… I look forward to pedaling by your side on the ride. And always, be Steph Strong.
– Paul Pomfret