The third and final stage of the Three Stage Tour to Endure, a cycling fundraising event to raise funds and awareness for Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, is set to begin next month near Seattle, Washington. Team D-Tour, comprised of the DiSalvo family from Derry, Hampshire, including Saint Joseph’s College 2015 graduate Joe DiSalvo, is about to cycle across the United States covering roughly 3,300 miles in one month’s time.
The Tour began with Stage 1 on August 10-11, 2013, a two-day, 249-mile ride covering the entire state of New Hampshire from the Canadian border to the Massachusetts border, raising more than $1,000 for Autism Speaks. Joe joined his dad, Rich, for about 55 of the 249 miles during the 2013 ride.
Stage 2, a 1,400-mile, 17-day ride from Kittery Point, Maine, to Yulee, Florida, was completed last summer, with an additional $3,500 in donations coming in. More members of the DiSalvo family took to the roads last year with Joe, and siblings Christina, James, and 8-year-old Jennifer riding on multiple occasions as well as three of Rich’s brothers, Phil, Steve, and Dave, who joined in the New England area.
Now comes the big one, Stage 3: a 3,300-mile trek from the Pacific Coast near Seattle to the Atlantic Coast in New England.
“It’s a great way to support such a great charity while at the same time going on an awesome family adventure,” said Joe. “Not everyone is given the opportunity to go out on a trip like this, so I am excited to take it all in. I am riding to support my family, my dad, and everyone who is touched by Autism in some way,” he added
With each stage has come more visibility, more awareness, and more in the way of donations to Autism Speaks. Rich is hopeful that trend will continue.
“Our initial goal was $5,000 in three years, but after Stage 2, we’ve raised more than $4,500 so the goal is now $10,000 total by the end of this summer’s trip,” he said. “I’m hopeful we can make it happen.”
“Last year’s trip from Maine to Florida was a true team effort,” Rich noted, “but this year we’ll be taking that to the next level.”
In order to cover the distance in the time, the team has available, some of the longer mileage days will be covered in relay fashion with the family riders splitting up the mileage when necessary.
Joe’s goal all along has been to ride as many miles as possible, ideally the entire distance, while Christina is hoping to put in up to 50 miles a day if possible. For Rich, anything in the range of 100 miles per day will work. While James doesn’t plan on riding this time around, he does have a key role as the driver of the bike vehicle that will offer support along the route. Rich’s wife, Sue, has perhaps the most important role of all as she sets up, breaks down, and drives the family trailer from destination to destination (mostly campgrounds) along the way.
While there has been lots of training going on, there’s been just as much excitement and work spreading the word as well.
“Lately all I can talk about is my dad’s cycling fundraiser,” said Christina, who is wrapping up her junior year at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “I’m so excited and proud of my family for getting out there and spreading the word about Autism Speaks.”
Autism Speaks is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and a cure for autism as well as increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
And while the primary focus of each day of Stage 3 of the Tour will be covering the necessary miles, there will be sight-seeing and rest stops along the way as well. The family plans on visiting Glacier National Park in Montana, crossing Lake Michigan on a ferry, stopping in at Niagara Falls, and riding into Deposit, New York, for an annual family reunion at the Deposit Lumberjack Days festival on the last weekend of the trip.
For more information on what’s going on with the Tour and for updates once the trip is underway, visit the Tour’s Facebook page.
To make a donation to Autism Speaks on behalf of the Three Stage Tour to Endure, visit their webpage.
Additional background information:
Ages (as of the trip)
Rich: a former marathoner and president of the Greater Derry Track Club, Rich also was the captain and coordinator of a National Kidney Foundation Boston Marathon fundraising team from 2006 to 1993 (teamed raised over $30,000 for the NKF in that time)
Sue: sole proprietor, Old Nutfield Pet Sitting, LLC, Derry, New Hampshire
Joe: graduated magna cum laude from Saint Joseph’s College, May 2015, Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. Attending Ithaca College in Fall 2015, for master’s degree in human performance
Christina: completing junior year at Rochester Institute of Technology
James: graduating from Pinkerton Academy, June 2015. Attending Manchester Community College, Fall 2015
Jennifer: finishing third grade, June 2015