Helping Haitians Help Haitians
Ride - 2017

The Ride is ON!

I will put the day by day descriptions up here at the top of the page.  If you have not read the background on the ride, just scroll down to Description of Ride.  

To donate, go to the top right corner, or scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, and hit the donate button.  On the page you are taken to, click on the donate button below "Ride 2017"


Day 1

The ride for Day 1 was from Freeport, ME to Kittery ME. Our route took us a distance of 74 (or 81) miles

Today was a day of firsts. We had our first woman rider, and then we had our second woman rider (more on that later). We had our first riders on a tandem bike. We had our first day where it was warmer at the start than it was in early afternoon. In fact, it was probably our warmest starting temperature ever on the three years of the ride. It was our first time with two chase vehicles. (You may call them support vehicles, or sag wagons, but we call them chase vehicles, because it makes it sound like we are going faster!)




It was a beautiful day, as the pictures will show. Ron and Dorothy Paine (parishoners of Christ the King, Old Lyme), Tom Campbell (OTH Board Member), and Dan O'Sullivan started out from Freeport just before 9am.

Five miles later, Dorothy got a call from daughter Emily that Chase Vehicle 2 would not start. Ron and Dorothy headed back to help. When the problem was diagnosed, Ron started again, with Emily this time (the second woman rider), and Dorothy stayed with the car until it was fixed a couple of hours later. 

Meanwhile Tom and Dan were cruising along. While they hit many back roads and bike trails, Route 1 was a steady companion. They went over the road, under the road (above Portland, going under the bridge, and on the road.



 Emily and Ron crossing over Route 1                    Emily and Ron on the route

There were fantastic views of the ocean, tidal flats, and too many things to put here. The wind and the sun made the ocean views spectacular.






 Osprey sculpture before Portland       Tidal Flat grassland above Portland





                                       Just North of Old Orchard Beach          

Dorothy canght up with Ron and Emily in Saco, and Ron completed the ride from there on a solo bike, doing an extra 6 or 7 miles over the 74 that Tom and Dan did. 

 Day 2 


Day 2 ride was from Kittery, Maine, through the tip of New Hampshire, and down to Concord, MA, a planned distance of 74.1 miles (before we miss turns). The actual distance was 75.4 miles.



               Field across from Kittery Inn Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning

The day started out cooler than yesterday, but still warm. Definitely short sleeve weather. However, it was foggy, even before we got to the coast. The typical onshore breeze added a little resistance at times, and the ocean views were not the spectacular ones we had the day before. They were mostly just fog!  





Over the bridge to Portsmouth                 Early shoreline - cleared up later

However, the view of the houses (mansions?) on the land side of the road were as spectacular as ever.



  Tom (red) and Dan - shoreline clearing


Ron and Dorothy were again on their tandem bicycle. The original plan was to switch riders somewhere in the 30 to 40 mile area, but Dorothy was having so much fun (don't ask her - just take my word for it) that she did the whole 74 miles! Wait until she trains for next year.

We had a scenic ride with minimal traffic through Harold Parker State Forest. The fog was gone well before this time, and the day was sunny and very warm. You can also see that there was no wind by that part of the ride.       




The ride ended up in "Historic Concord", with 4 very tired, but satisfied riders.



Day 3

 Dan, Tom, and Ron headed out from Concord just before 9 am. It was the warmest morning yet, which is saying something! Also very humid, but it was just a taste of things to come. The ride ended in Putnam, CT, after 74.2 hot, humid miles

Tom had reworked the route to avoid the morning traffic, and it was a less harrowing ride getting away from the Concord area than last year. After 15 miles or so, we used a bike path - a rails to trails project - down to Milford, MA.




  Bike trail tunnel, Ron in foreground                     Pond near Milford, MA


The weather was getting hotter, and we were getting to hillier areas. 146A and 102 in Rhode Island were tough, and Route 44 in CT was not quite as bad, but still very hilly.

Tom had our first bike incident, with a flat tire on Rte 44. It turned into our first medical incident on any of the rides; in checking the tire for what caused the flat, Tom found a piece of glass ....the hard way. Fortunately Chase Vehicle 2, with Dorothy behind the wheel, was nearby and brought a first aid kit, along with desperately needed ice, water and Gatorade to replenish water bottles.


When we turned off of Route 44, we had a nice scenic tour of Putnam, CT. A few miles from the end of the ride, we passed a bank where the temperature sign said 87 degrees. We hadn't thought about the temperature specifically, but that was certainly not surprising!              



                         Pond in Putnam, CT

Day 4




The ride once again started on the warm side. Six riders (Tom, Ron and Dan, joined by Jim Hubert, Clark Judge, and Pete Rimkus) started out from Jim and Maryann Hubert's house in East Hampton. The riders warmed up a little more on a few hills, before taking to the Airline Trail (no more than a +/- 1% grade) for about 7 miles, and then a final 18 mile stretch into St Patrick's Cathedral.

There was a very enthusiastic welcome by children and staff from St Patrick's Cathedral School, as well as Bishop Cote.  After introductions and mingling with the students, Bishop Cote said a prayer for the riders, the ministry, and the people they serve. He enlisted the aid of the school children, as they demonstrated a firm grasp of the "Hail Mary."





After the visit at the Cathedral, Jim and Pete headed off for another 20 miles, to get to 50 for the day. They soon began to appreciate that the fair number of long, gradual downhills they had enjoyed going into Norwich were now hills that they needed to climb on their way back to East Hampton.

Ron, Tom, Clark, and Dan proceeded to head off to St Matthew's in Tolland, one of the hillier areas in Connecticut. In an effort to avoid a few of the longer, steeper climbs from the year before, Dan had suggested circling around them a little, when he and Tom planned the route. The strategy seemed to be borne out by the ride planning app they used, "Ride with GPS," but in reality, they ended up with more hills, with many of them as steep or steeper. Dan has been fired from route planning for next year.

While there were many good firsts on this year's ride, as described above, this day saw a not so good first. It was the first significant accident we saw in almost 1,000 miles of riding, by up to 6 people, over the last three years (not to mention all the training rides). On a steep downhill in Mansfield, Clark was shifting his grip to be able to brake better, when his front wheel hit a bump and threw him from the bike. He received immediate care from the EMT on the ride, but he needed to go to the hospital, and it was decided an ambulance was the best way. 

Clark ended up at Wyndham Hospital, which he described as very nice, with friendly, courteous medical staff, and had nothing but good things to say about the EMS personnel as well. On the plus side, Clark is on the Board of Directors of his town's volunteer ambulance; this gave him a chance to see things from the patient perspective.  (One he does not care if he ever gets to see again!) Clark actually got home before the remaining three riders did, but will be typing left handed for a while, as the preliminary diagnosis of a fractured collarbone proved accurate.

Tom, Ron and Dan continued the ride once Clark was on his way, and Chase Vehicle 2  arrived and picked up Clark's bike and equipment. 

The ride ended up at 73 miles total, and a few stalwarts were still at St Matthews to greet the riders, even with the significant delay.

Jim Hubert had finished up his 50 miles, gone home, showered, and driven up to Tolland to take Dan and Tom to Killingworth where they were scheduled to start Friday morning.  Quite a day for Jim: overnight host (ok, Maryann did most of that), rider, and chauffeur!


Day 5


The ride started at Dan's house in Killingworth, and proceeded to St Peter's in Higganum, then to Mercy High School in Middletown, on to St Patrick's Church in Farmington, before finishing at Tom's house in Farmington, a total of 45 miles, for a total distance for the ride of 340 miles. 


The morning was easily the coolest of any of the days on the ride, with the riders, Ron, Tom, and Dan, having to resort to shells (windbreakers) to start with - especially since a lot of the first 7 miles were downhill.

The trip to St Peter's was a change in plans developed earlier that week, when Peter Sonski contacted Outreach about stopping at his parish and meeting with the local Knights of Columbus council and the pastor of St Peter's, Rev. Peter Liczewski. The riders had a great conversation with the group, and were presented with a generous check by the Knights. 


Then it was on to Mercy HS, over Route 154.  Note: if you are riding a bike, avoid Rt 154 betwen Higganum and Middletown! The shoulder is not rideable, and the roadbed is a series of concrete slabs that do not mesh - very jarring, not good for the rider, and probably not good for the bike. Randolph Road from 154 over to Mercy had a couple of good hills, that warmed up the riders to the point shells were no longer needed.




The welcome at Mercy was the usual spirited and enthusiastic welcome!!! After the boisterous welcome, the riders had a chance for a nice visit with Sr Mary, before heading on to Farmington and St Patrick's.



 Click here to see video of Mercy welcome!

At St Patrick's, the riders were met by the Petruzzis, the Huberts, Patty (parish assistant), and Fr Barry.  As mentioned below in the ride description, St Patrick's, led by the couples mentioned and several more, has provided tremendous support to Outreach, and to Haiti, over the years, and the stop was to meet Fr Barry, and to thank the parish.


The ride for 2017 finished up a few miles away at the Campbells' house, and the riders began the process of erasing the ride from their minds so they can convince themselves to do it again next year ;-).



In truth, the ride was a great experience, with fantastic weather, and warm welcomes all around. Clark was already talking about riding next year - even after his unfortunate accident.  



Ride - 2018  October 1-5, 2018




Description of Ride

A small team from Outreach to Haiti will start a 5-day, 337-mile bike ride, touching five of the six New England states, on September 25, 2017, to raise awareness and funds to support the mission in Haiti.

The goal of this year's ride is to raise money for the installation of solar power in the new Norwich Outreach Center in Haiti (construction to start early this fall). The Center has been in the planning stage for several years, with a Capital Campaign that reached and exceeded its target in late 2016. However, early this year, some previously undiscovered earthquake damage was uncovered, which has increased the cost of building. We hope there is enough money already raised to complete the building, so donations to the ride will be used for solar power. If necessary, though, the money would be used to complete the building.

Solar power is clearly a great power source for Haiti. With the intensity of the sun, the system would quickly pay for itself. Besides being environmentally friendly, ongoing operating costs would be lower, allowing more money to go directly to helping patients and students.  

This is the third annual bike ride. At the completion of this ride, the total distance ridden will surpass 1,000 miles! The amount raised in the first two rides is just under $40,000. Similar success this year will make a great start in paying for a solar power system.

For those who have not been with us the last two years, the bike ride has been planned as a "virtual trip" across Haiti: the distance chosen for the trip is the distance from Jeremie on the West coast of Haiti, through the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where OTH is based, to Cap-Haitien on the North coast, as shown in the picture below.


In the interest of time and money, (and for better roads and, hopefully, better weather, the actual ride is in New England.

The ride starts at Freeport, Maine, quickly makes its way down into and through New Hampshire, skirts Boston, goes into northwestern Rhode Island, and ends by winding through the eastern and central parts of Connecticut. On Thursday morning, the riders will visit St Patrick's Cathedral, and we will be greeted by Bishop Cote. The riders will also visit St Matthew's parish in Tolland, and Mercy High School in Middletown. All of these groups have extended very warm welcomes to the riders in prior years, but the enthusiasm of the Mercy girls is hard to beat!

The ride will conclude at St Patrick's in Farmington, as a thank you for all their support. St Patrick's has been a generous supporter of Outreach for many years, with annual Mass talks and small fundraisers that have cumulatively raised about $100,000. Beyond that, a core group of parishioners organizes a larger fundraiser each year that reaches beyond the parish, and has raised almost $300,000!

Here is the course for 2017:





For an interactive link to the course click here.


You can donate by using the link below, or by sending a check to Outreach to Haiti, 815 Boswell Ave., Norwich, CT 06360. Any questions, call 860-800-3601


During the ride, check back into the website each day to follow our progress!

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