Father-son duo pedal for Africa
WORTHINGTON -- For Andrew Korta, 10, and his dad, Tom, the first 30 miles were relatively easy.
The rest, though, were a challenge, but the father-and-son team was not to be denied. In a quest that began well before the sun came up Wednesday morning and concluded shortly after 5 p.m., the duo completed a bicycle trip from Sioux City, Iowa, to Worthington, as part of the third annual All Day Fore Africa event.
"The first 30 miles to LeMars (Iowa) were fantastic," Tom said shortly after arriving at Worthington Country Club, into which he and his son were escorted by a fire truck and police vehicle. He then paused, catching his breath while trying to control his emotions.
Clearly, the 100-mile journey was a challenge, and Tom noted that the wind "became a factor in Sheldon." Nevertheless, the two kept going, and rode onward to achieve their goal and thereby assist All Day Fore Africa's quest to raise $200,000 for a new medical center in Rwanda.
After being greeted with a hero's welcome at the county club -- and cooled off with healthy doses of water and Gatorade -- the two reflected more on their experience.
"It was long -- about 12½ hours," Andrew said. "There were a lot of uphills and also a lot of downhills, and the wind was blowing in our face a lot. ... I was just feeling relieved after coming all that way, knowing all these people were here to support me."
Andrew and Tom had done a trial run of sorts last week in Wisconsin, where the pair pedaled a total of 54 miles.
"We'd kind of decided that would be a test," explained Tom, adding that he asked Andrew afterward if he could double that distance. "He said, 'Yeah, I think can do it.'"
The idea to ride 100 miles came about shortly after the 2012 All Day Fore Africa, which the Korba family attended. On their way home to Lincoln, Neb., following the event, talk began about what the family could do to get more involved and help raise money.
"I sure can't sing, and I can't golf," Tom said of the two key components of Worthington's All Day Fore Africa fundraising. "I think it was Andrew's idea. ... He said, "They play 100 holes, why don't we bike 100 miles?'"
The Korbas drove to Sioux City Tuesday and stayed overnight before heading out at 4:05 a.m. for Worthington. Other family members rode in a vehicle near Andrew and Tom throughout the day, offering critical support.
"There were two or three times I couldn't do it any more," Andrew admitted. "My dad just really helped me and encouraged me. ...My sister called me when we stopped for lunch, and she was really happy for me and wanted me to keep going."
"We joked a couple of times we needed the medical center more than the kids (in Rwanda)," Tom said with a chuckle.
Tom met All Day Fore Africa organizer Kate Lesnar in Rwanda when Lesnar traveled to the nation following the inaugural fundraising event in 2010. The two became "fast friends," said Tom, adding that it was a "powerful" experience to see Lesnar -- who then was about to enter her junior year of high school -- present "a $10,000 check to this school halfway across the globe."
Now, plenty of people may remember as "powerful" the witnessing of a 10-year-old and his dad completing a 100-mile bike on a very warm summer's day.
"People were very supportive along the way and were very encouraging and helpful," said Tom, noting that even last-minute work on Andrew's bicycle tires in Sioux City was done at a lower-than-it-should-have-been cost and considerable interest in the Africa cause. "It just seemed like there were signs along the way that this thing was going to work."
In addition to the bike ride, there was a considerable amount of golfing going on at Worthington Country Club. Lesnar, along with friends Kyle Wendland and Logan Ellenbecker, began playing at 6:30 a.m. Lesnar said she'd completed 60 holes as of 5 p.m., and planned to play more. A group of 18 -- six teams of three -- were playing in their own "Big Boy" division in the early evening.