OSWEGO, NY – Two Oswego City School District employees decided they were going to make a difference and commit to riding their bikes 300 miles over a four-day period in an effort to help kids.
This wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t simply a bike ride, but the annual ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œPedal for MedalsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â to benefit the Special Olympics.
Janine Regan and Joyce Galletta decided that this was something that they needed to do.
After completing the marathon Regan said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI have a cousin who is a participant in the Special Olympics and I wanted to do this. It was the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done.”
Galletta noted, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI had set a goal for myself last year and I did if not only for the kids, but also the challenge. I had never trained for anything like this and it really made me believe in myself.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Thirty-nine bikers started out at Saranac Lake and four days later crossed the finish line in Preble.
The two women work together at the Oswego City School District Education Center.
Galletta said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe got talking and decided it was something we wanted to do.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Both enjoy riding bikes; but they werenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t ardent, die-hard riders.
They practiced for months as they participated in the Spin Class for cycling at the YMCA.
Bike riding was time-consuming.
Galletta said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t difficult because we really enjoyed what we were doing. We missed yard work, and housework went by the wayside. We went out about 5 every morning and then did at least three hours on Saturday and Sunday.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe Oswego rookiesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â were well-known on the ride as the veteran riders were surprised by the efforts of the first-time riders.
Each day, the two women finished in the middle of the pack.
Galletta noted, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe werenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t only doing it, but we were doing it well. We were smiling for four straight days.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The ride started in Saranac Lake with a soaking rain and 82 miles later the first leg was over in Canton.
The next day, the goal was Watertown and on the third day Oswego was the destination before the final leg to Preble.
Galletta noted, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe most satisfying part to me was the first day. It was the most emotional part of the ride for me.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Regan said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe most emotional was the final day as it was really hard. It was the end result of everything I had worked for. I thought this is it, I did it. I couldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t stop crying.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The trip was exhilarating for the pair.
Early in the trip the rain and the climb to 6,000 feet above sea level were nothing compared to the final day.
Then there were all the waving children through the Amish country of Northern New York.
The pelting rain from Watertown to Selkirk Shores didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t discourage the duo.
Not even attempting to dodge wet flying manure that was kicked up from the bike they were drafting put a damper on their efforts.
However, it was the final leg of the trip that left a lasting impression.
Galletta noted the ride from Oswego to Preble was unforgettable.
She said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt seemed like it was all uphill from Oswego.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
They reached the Skaneateles area and then headed east to Otisco Lake.
Regan said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThere was a 6.5-mile hill along the eastern shore of the lake that just about killed me. We could have gone faster if we walked. However, it was a pride thing. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ
Galletta added, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThere was no way I was going to get off to walk. It was the last day and when I saw that we had just eight miles to go I just kept peddling.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Friends and family awaited at the finish line as the two had accomplished something they had set out to do.
Regan said, “I was exhausted and emotionally and physical drained.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Galletta said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI just never stopped peddling at the end and even though I was physically drained it was a tremendous feeling.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The pair agreed that this was a tremendous accomplishment.
They worked hard for months to prepare for something that many say is impossible to do.
The women noted that they never envisioned themselves doing something of this until they started talking about it last winter.
Not only did they do something that was healthy for them, but they assisted a very worthwhile cause ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ the children of the Special Olympics.