My latest adventure down the west coast is now over. Posts are listed by date on the right. In a departure from previous years, I am not asking for donations. Instead, I will be making a sizable donation on behalf of my father-in-law, father, and all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.

My rides will continue to make a difference in the lives of families fighting lung disease and to increase awareness about the importance of lung health. Follow along … Together; we are improving life, one breath at a time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thanks for a Memorable 2010

Happy New Year … time to reflect on an amazing and unforgettable year.  We wish you the warmest of holiday greetings and best wishes for the New Year.  Thanks to those who made 2010 so memorable.  Your love, support, and friendship made it all possible.

While 2010 will always be remembered for Mark’s Trek Across America, the year saw lots of other milestones, challenges, adventures, and wonderful family time.  Yes, I biked 3,700 miles across the country and over 10,000 miles for the year, but there are other things to reflect upon as well ...
Click Here to read the Koltz holiday update and a recap of 2010.
My ride would not have been possible without the support and help of so many people.  Together we made a difference in the lives of millions of adults and children who are living with chronic lung disease and asthma every day.  First and foremost, I want to thank my wife and children for their incredible support, patience, and commitment to making my trip a reality.  They never complained and endured my training, my fund raising, and a lonely summer without me.  My true companion, Karen, never let me lose sight of my goal and helped me focus on the things in life that really matter ... family and friends.  Her love, encouragement, and tenacity enabled my dream to come true.  My kids, Michael and Leah, were strong advocates for ALA, and organized successful fund raisers for the cause.  They motivated me to go the extra mile and stayed involved every step of the way.  My daily postcards, phone calls, and emails from the road provided a constant reminder of what I was missing.

A big thanks go out to my parents, Sandy and Barry, who instilled the desire to dream big and always wanted to know the latest details on my preparation and fund raising.  My Dad was a major inspiration and continues his fight with COPD. They helped spread the message and did some awesome fund raising in Florida and New England.  My sister Amy, brother Joel, mother-in-law Jane, sister-in-law Carol, and bother-in-law Dave played instrumental roles too.  Thanks Amy and Joel for your help during tough times for both of you.  Your support enabled me to focus on my ride, knowing you were handling the family and health related stuff.  Jane, thanks for connecting me to ALA and motivating me to keep Leo's legacy alive.  Carol, thanks for the moral support, encouragement, and great pictures at the beach.  Dave, thanks for the training rides and pushing me to be stronger.  My extended family also includes my Leo's Legacy teammates Sue Firlotte, Bob Sands,
Dawn Taylor, Eddie & Cheryl Weber, and Dave Kahl.  We have shared some great times and rides together.  It was awesome sharing the experience with you all and unforgettable to see so many of you at the finish in Portsmouth.

The American Lung Association of New England was with me long before my ride started and will be with me for years to come.  Kathryn Libby and Gail Auclair were great coordinators, helpers, and friends.  The entire ALA team helped with press releases, awareness/educational materials, fund raising, and were great motivators.  From the "care packages" you sent me en-route to the amazing celebration on the beach in Portsmouth, you guys really out did yourselves and made me feel special.  Thanks Chrystal, Kim, Kristen, Emily, Kerry, and the rest of the crew.  I appreciate what you do each day!  See you in 2011 for the Trek Across Maine.

My donors were truly the foundation of my ride.  Your continued and generous support enabled me to exceed my fund raising goal.  People from all parts of my life joined the cause and helped make a difference.  A complete list of all 175 of those who participated can be found at My Donors
Each of you hold a special place in my heart ... thank you!  A few special thank yous are in order. Lifelong friends Steve and Joy Bunson left me speechless for the second year in a row.  Their commitment to others and focus on the community should be emulated by all.  Thanks for being there.  Another big shout out goes to Thao Safo (Thao, Inc.) and Prashant Arni (LanceSoft, Inc.) for their generous support and friendship.  Thao, I need to get you your jersey!  Prashant, your firm's philanthropic focus puts you in a select group of small businesses.

As you would expect, a big part of my ride revolved around my bike and my clothing.  I was worry free in both areas thanks to the skillful support and assistance provided by Alan Davis and his team at Princeton Sports, Jason Kamps at Wolf Designs, and Travis Evans at Just Riding Along
Princeton Sports was the official bike shop sponsor of Mark’s Trek Across America.  They did an amazing job of maintaining, servicing, and packing my bike.  Princeton was extremely generous with supplies, clothing, and advice on connecting me with the local community.  Alan, my ride would not have been the same without your guidance, advice, staff, and friendship.  Ensuring I looked right and had the neatest logo/jersey on the trip was courtesy of Jason Kamps.  Jason's design was a big hit and captured the essence of my ride to the tee.  Great job Jason, you rock.  My custom made White Industries H2/H3 and Velocity Aerohead wheels were built by Travis Evans at cost!  I had only one flat in 3,700 miles and never had to true my wheels ... can you say solid.  Thanks Travis.

I did know Gary and Margot
Weinstein when I started my ride, but now I am glad to call them friends.  We rode together several days during the trip and enjoyed great conversation and laughs.  Their generous donation to ALA after the ride was icing on the cake ... wow!  Several other folks were "jersey worthy" (their support was memorialized on my jersey) and helped push me beyond my fund raising goal.  Their friendship and support will be one of the most lasting memories of my ride.  Thanks to Amy King, Sophia Parker (DSFederal, Inc.), Josh Fiengold (AllStaff Technical Solutions), Gerry Appelstein, Ernie Prete (Auto Engineering of Lexington), Sanjeet Harpalani (Dimensional Concepts LLC), Jason Stock (First Finish, Inc.), Bruce Katz, Corey Anderson (Maryland Mutual Mortgage, LLC), Stuart Rubenstein, Greg Marston (VBT), and Nancy Swift & Clark Woods.

There is one last, but very special group of individuals I want to thank ... like Gary and Margot, I did not know them when I set out on my journey, but without them, there would not have been a journey ... just a ride. 
When I look back on my trip, the enormity of what I accomplished and attained has still not really sunk in.  The people, the friendships, and challenges fill my thoughts.  I was blessed to find people to share the experience with ... 50+ riders, all wonderful in their own special way; 6 amazing ABB crew (Mike & Barbara Munk, Jeff Lazer, Karen Bauer, Deb Tarvin, and Jim Benson) who devoted themselves to us and our dream.  Yet five people stand out ... the Geldings and our Filly.  We spent so much time together.  We became so close.  I will never forget my riding mates.  Thank you Dave Sullivan, Mark Weisbarth, Joe Schroeder, Jeff Douglas, and Alex Steussy-Williams.  Your friendship helped define my trip.  You made the adventure even more memorable. Thank you all!

Good night moon ... good night 2010 ... good night family ... good night friends ... good night donors ... good night ALA ... good night Leo ... good night Dad ... good night Geldings ... Good night AAN 2010 friends ... Good night ABB ... THANK YOU ALL FOR A MEMORABLE YEAR!