Then …and Now… DEATH RIDE Tour Inc., President & Executive Director Barry Sopinsky with his son Brandon Sopinsky. The two of them have been enjoying cycling together for over 32 years. Sopinsky said, “the opportunity to do good for people and be able to do that with your family, has been the greatest gift ever”.
A wise am once said “A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty”.
WHY WE RIDE - TZEDAKAH
Over the years, I have gained a love and passion for cycling and a desire for TZEDAKAH. Tzedakah is Hebrew for: To Give Back …To Be Righteous …To Do The Right Thing. Years ago, I participated in a Cycle For ALS event. This event supported the Blazeman Foundation, an ALS Charity which I never knew about. The Foundation was set up in memory of triathlete Jon “Blazeman” Blais who was diagnosed with ALS in 2005. I became very interested in what Jon’s Foundation stood for and made a nice donation. You see that same year Jon who had done many triathlons over 20 years but never the Championship in Kona decided in he go to Kona to compete.
Jon finished the 2005 Kona Ironman with a time of 16 hours…28 minutes & 56 seconds. A totally amazing feat for competitor 179. Jon made his finish memorable by doing a “Log Roll” across the finish line. This now has become a way Jon is memorialize by other Ironmen and women.
Jon was always a Warrior – before ALS and after. Jon lost his battle with ALS May 27, 2007. He was only 35 years old.
The famous “Log Roll” started by Jon “Blazeman” Blais in 2005 which has now been carried on with athletes wearing #179 – Jon’s Kona number
Jon’s parents Bob & Mary Ann Blais were always there to cheer him on. Jon was a warrior before ALS and after. All the way to the end May 27, 2007 when Jon passed away from ALS. He was only 35 years old.
Jon had many motivational quotes & poems. He was called the Warrior Poet. Here is a quote from Jon.
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for. It doesn’t interest me how old you are, I want to know if you are willing to risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine. It doesn’t interest me where you live or how rich you are, I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and be sweet to the ones you love. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments of your life.”
I have had the pleasure of meeting Bob and Mary Ann and decided the I would put on a DEATH RIDE Tour Inc. Charity Cycling Event in their area – that how the DEATH RIDE Tour …Fall Blaze …War On ALS …So Others May Live came to be.
The Mission of the Blazeman Foundation for ALS is
!.) Raise awareness about ALS by leveraging the energy, commitment and compassion of the multi-sport community
2.) To raise necessary funds to be directed into cutting-edge scientific research to find treatments and eventual a cure for ALS …So “Others May Live”