About Us

Joe, Brittany, Colin, and Alex ice skating.

So you may be asking yourself: “Who or what are these people?” For starters, our small group of travelers consists of Brittany Trowbridge, Colin Utz-Meagher, Alex James, and Joe Pericone. We all became best friends during high school at Burnt Hills – Ballston Lake High in upstate New York through our involvement with the school Cross Country and Track teams. During our freshman year we had the privilege to befriend a new runner on the team: Eric Zagorda. For Eric’s full story please visit the “Eric’s Story” page from the home page. Suffice it to say that Eric was – and still is – an inspiration to us and for our bike ride in his honor. Here’s a little bit about ourselves individually:

Brittany Trowbridge

Hobbies:

I have always had a love for the outdoors and enjoy activities such as hiking, camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and biking.  In the summer my favorite pass time is getting together around a campfire with family and friends.  Also, I love taking pictures, being creative with arts and crafts, and listening to music.

What you’re doing now:

Currently I am a senior at SUNY Cortland in upstate New York.  My major is Childhood Education with a concentration in Environmental Studies.  This semester I have student taught in second grade and am currently teaching fourth grade.  I have learned so much and am having a great time!  After graduation in May of 2010, I will either join AmeriCorps, get a job, or go back to school to get my masters.

What you plan/hope to be doing in 5 years:

In five years it is hard to say where I will be in life.  I would love to be teaching children about our environment to foster a similar love I have for it.  Another dream of mine is to teach in my hometown.  Where ever I am, I hope to be happy in whatever it is I am doing.

Your favorite memory of Eric:

Eric’s energetic, fun, and loving spirit was undoubtedly contagious to anyone that surrounded him.  His demeanor caused every encounter to be a memorable experience.  A constant memory I have of Eric involves his acoustic guitar and it’s presence at almost every gathering.  Eric loved music and would play for us just about anywhere, including around a campfire, in someone’s basement, or while stargazing on a trampoline.

One of the most vivid memories I have of our sing-along sessions took place at our friend’s graduation party.  After the family portion of the party, we all headed to a back field by a stream for a camp out.  We pitched many tents, built a bonfire, and circled the blazing flames on our sleeping bags.  However, we struggled to get music to play in the back field by the woods.  Without fail Eric had his guitar and serenaded us with music by dispatch among other artists, which turned out to be better than the radio.  Being a graduation party, the thought of separation from home and lifelong friends was on many people’s minds.  Because of this, someone requested Eric to play The Time of Your Life by Green Day.  Being a well known song, everyone joined in.  Despite it being cliche, our song of friendship and new journeys to come resonated through the cool summer air.  Thinking back on this night it is hard for me to not get tears in my eyes hearing the lyrics in my head ‘I hope you had the time of your life.’  This event will always be a detailed memory I have of our close friendship with Eric.  It is impossible to not think of him at the recent campfires and reunions from college since he’s been gone.  His music and presence created a certain atmosphere of togetherness that is now missing from our gatherings.  My memories with Eric will always put a smile on my face.

What the trip will mean to you:

I had the privilege of becoming friends with both Lauren and Eric Zagorda.  Who they were and what they did with the short time they were here with us will forever influence my life.  Their personalities were unlike anyone I know.  Facing such an awful disease most likely caused them to value life in a way that many of us don’t.  They were able to see the good in every situation and spread love and laughter to anyone lucky enough to surround them.  No matter what battles Eric was facing he always made time for the people in his life.  On this trip, not only will I be honoring Eric, but his sister Lauren and their wonderful, courageous, caring parents.  The Zagorda family has had a huge impact on me, and I want to do something big in their name.  Overall, this trip is about inspiration.  It is uniting our community, and hopefully our nation, to stand up in memory or honor of a loved one or supporting the cause.  I hope we can come together and make a difference in the lives of many through the money we raise in the Zagorda’s name.

Colin Utz-Meagher

Hobbies:

When I am not studying or working I enjoy reading, watching movies, listening to music, hanging out with my girlfriend and friends, and being outside as much as possible such as biking, running, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing.

What you’re doing now:

Currently I am a senior at SUNY Cortland.  I am majoring in Kinesiology with a minor in Biology and Chemistry.  I am considering premed because I have taken all of the prerequisites to get into Medical School.  I am not sure if I want to go that way right now or not.  For the past two summers I have been working at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital working as a nursing assistant.  I really enjoy my job because I have learned so much from my co-workers and also my patients.  It’s just a great feeling going into a patient’s room that is unhappy because he/she had a horrible day and leaving knowing that I put a smile on their face.

What you plan/hope to be doing in 5 years:

As of right now I am not to sure what I want to do after I graduate but it’s going to be something in the medical field.  I have thought about becoming a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, an MD or a Physicians Assistant.  However, I could also see myself changing my mind and finding something else in the medical field to do.  There are just so many options out there.  I know so many people say this but I want to help people, inspire people and change the world as much as I can, just like Eric did.

Your favorite memory of Eric:

I have so many great memories but there are two that stick out in my memory.  The first time I met Eric Zagorda I knew he was one of a kind.  It was the first day of Cross-Country practice; it was my freshmn year of high school.  I remember seeing someone I didn’t know go up to our Coach and talk to him and all I heard was that he has been doing hockey for yeas so he was in great shape. Well we started to warm-up like usual around our High School and all of a sudden some kid jumped out of no where right next to me and said “HI, I’M ERIC, How are you?” with the biggest smile ever.  I knew right then I was going to like this kid.  We talked for the rest of the warm-up.  After that day of practice we became great friends.

The other memory that I remember happened around a campfire at Brittany Trowbridge’s house.  One night Eric and I were sitting next to each other around the campfire and he was trying to show me how to fold a newspaper into a hat.  He then put the hat on and stared off into space for awhile.  I was wondering what he was thinking about, but then I looked at what he was staring at so intently: matches.  I looked at him and said no, no bad idea.  But of course there was no changing Eric’s mind once he had an idea.  So of course I got the matches and I set his hat on fire.  I remember everyone saying “Eric Keep it on for a little longer I need to get my camera” and him saying “This is getting really hot guys.”  I thought I should tell that story because it is one of Eric’s famous pictures and I can remember that night like it was yesterday.

What the trip will mean to you:

I feel that our trip is something Eric would have done to try and inspire and help other people.  I know that it will take more money than we can raise to be able to cure leukemia or any cancer, but I hope it will help the process.  I just don’t think its fair that an amazing family like the Zagorda’s had to suffer the loss of both of there wonderful children.  I had a hard time going to see Eric in his last months with us, knowing that the Zagorda’s had to go home each day to face the fact that there wasn’t anything they could do.  It’s sad to think that there are thousands of families who have to go through this each year.  This trip is a great way to remember Eric and the money we raise can hopefully help other families who have to go through similar battles.

Alex James

Hobbies:

In my limited spare time I like to read , cook, fix or work on computers, run, bike, golf and do almost anything outdoors.

What you’re doing now:

I am currently a Senior at SUNY Geneseo with a Physics major and Math minor. I take mostly upper level physics classes, but hopefully my schedule will be a little more diverse next semester. I spent most of last summer in Brazil doing astronomy research with a heavy concentration in computer programming. As the trip now approaches I am getting very excited to spend the summer outside with friends doing something in memory of Eric.

What you plan/hope to be doing in 5 years:

After graduation and after we get back from the ride I will be spending my time finding a job. Ideally I’d like to find something in an engineering field to gain some experience. In the next year or two I plan on going back to school to get a masters in mechanical or aerospace engineering and then go on to work that field.

Your favorite memory of Eric:

My favorite memory of Eric is easily the time he drove about 9 people to a Dave Matthews concert at SPAC in his minivan. Eric of course didn’t want to have to park with all the other losers in the regular parking lot, so he tried to find a way into the VIP parking section. Failing that, he eventually just took a random turn onto a side road. Soon enough we found ourselves driving on the golf cart and bike paths throughout Saratoga Spa State Park. Luckily these paths eventually led to a closed parking lot near the Gideon Putnam Hotel, which was closer and ultimately different than the regular lot. We parked here, went to the concert and had a great time. The best part of the whole adventure however, came when we had to find our way back out to the normal roads via the cart paths in the dark. After driving around for a few minutes we found ourselves sitting at the cross walk of a major intersection waiting for the crosswalk signal to let us go. We pulled out of the cross walk as a police car sat right across the street watching us and drove home. This memory of Eric reminds me of one of Eric’s best qualities: how much fun he could have doing everyday things like parking his car for a concert.

What the trip will mean to you:

For me this trip is about doing something constructive to remember Eric. I see the venture as a means to bring the Burnt Hills community together in Eric’s honor to make a substantial contribution to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I envision a donation that will help make a significant impact in Cancer research in hopes that no family will have to endure what the Zagordas have. A second tier motive, I hope that the trip will be an opportunity for me to fulfill a personal desire to travel and see the country.

Joe Pericone

Hobbies:

In my spare time I like to play soccer, frisbee and most card games.  I also enjoy running, biking, hiking, fishing and reading.  I have also recently begun to teach myself how to play the banjo, and I am in the process of learning the Spanish language.  In general I like hanging out with my friends and being outdoors.

What you’re doing now:

Currently I am a senior at SUNY Binghamton studying mechanical engineering.  My senior project is the Mini Baja, where I, along with a team of 7 other engineers are to design and build an all terrain vehicle.  I am also the vice president of the engineering honor society where I help organize and coordinate events.  Outside of engineering, I am taking two Spanish classes in order to improve my Spanish speaking abilities.  The reason for this is because in the fall I plan on volunteering in Quito, Ecuador for a year.  Upon returning to the United States I plan on attending graduate school where I will pursue a Masters degree in mechanical engineering.

What you plan/hope to be doing in 5 years:

Right now I’m not exactly sure what I will be doing in five years.  I hope to be a facilities engineer, with my license.  At the same time I wouldn’t mind working in research and development.  I also want to be able to actually play the banjo, and I definitely hope to have a border collie (or some type of dog).

Your favorite memory of Eric:

I did not know Eric very well but what I knew of him, I liked.  The memory that stands out in my mind was at a track meet:  I remember I was running the 1600m at Hudson Valley, and as I began to run the last 400m I heard Eric cheering for me.  I remember being surprise that someone who did not know me very well would take the time to encourage me as I raced.  It was also at the end of the race that he congratulated me.  At that point Eric and I had never been introduced, but that did not stop him from extending his support and friendship.  I feel that it showed a lot about his character and personality.

What the trip will mean to you:

While I was not very good friends with Eric, I cannot say that I was not affected when he passed away.  I could easily see the impact it had on my friends, and how much he meant to them.  From what I have heard and experienced, Eric was definitely a great friend.  Thus, this summer I will do what I can to help raise money to help others battling the fight against cancer.  At the same time this trip will allow me to experience another aspect of the country, with my friends.

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5 responses

20 06 2010
John Walburn

Hey guys,
It was great to meet you in Tahoe! I just wanted to say that what you guys are doing is completely amazing! Although I never met Eric, he is truly blessed to have friends like you. I want to wish you much luck on your ride and may the wind always be at your back. If you make it back west next year, hit me up as we have a beautiful 4-day, 330 mile ride raising funds for local HIV/AIDS service providers. Enjoy your journey, it’s one you will never forget!!

John

20 06 2010
Adam Bond

Hey guys i sent alex a text but im not sure if he will get it or if his phones even on. But if not i just want to say i love you all and i hope all is well! Alex i hope you heal fast and i hope you ok! and trust me i know you can take a crash from skiing with you all these years i still remember the time at mount snow when you over shot the landing of the jump and got insane air and took the nastiest spill i had ever seen on skis lol! joe i love you i hope you ass is ok from the bike seat lol and Brit and Colin I am so happy for you guys congrats! Bandit take good care of all of them and im so proud of you guys. you guys are amazing and i hope you guys are having a blast. Keep in touch if possible i want to know everything when you guys have a chance! Love you guys love adam

17 07 2010
John Harris

Hey guys,

Hope your trip through Missouri went well and BJ got home safe. I’m staying at the hostel in Farmington. I look forward to seeing you guys. Email me with your plan for the next couple days and maybe we could meet. Take care guys, you guys are awesome!

Sincerely,
John

19 07 2010
suzanne voigt

Jeff T. gave me your website address and told me what you guys are doing. I am so impressed, jealous, happy (and sad for the reason for this ride). What an amazing experience–truly once in a life time. And what an amazing way to honor two lives that were so short, but so meaningful. thank you for doing this. Live it up!

31 07 2010
Kim Durant

Hi Bikers! When I was exactly your age, I did exactly what you are doing, for exactly the same reason. Now – at age 55 – that cross-country bicycle trip remains one of the high points of my life. You will never forget it – or most importantly – you will never forget the reason behind your trip, honoring the memory of a person who took your breath away, Eric. Stay safe and keep on pushing on those pedals! I am doing the “no wind-no rain-no dogs-no texting drivers” dance for you. You rock! See you in Burnt Hills.

-Kim Durant

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