Cycling Tribute Fuels Community Spirit & Support 9

Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride

For firefighter Jack Nosco, November 3 will forever burn in his memory. On that fateful day in 2004, his beloved younger brother Mike tragically died in a terrible car accident.

Jack was devastated. On each anniversary of Mike’s death, Jack would become despondent. He couldn’t shake the feeling of despair. Then, in 2008, he made a conscious effort to turn things around. He determined that November 3 should not be about his brother’s loss, but about honoring and celebrating Mike’s life. This was the genesis of the Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride, the number one charity ride in the tri-counties.

As a firefighter for the past 33 years, Captain Jack Nosco, who leads his crew out of the Thousand Oaks Station #34, has always been passionate about helping others. He has been involved with youth programs and has coached numerous sports teams in the area. In his own right, he’s a high energy individual who loves life and cycling, which he often did with his brother Mike.

A Tribute

It only seemed natural to use cycling as a vehicle to honor his brother and make a positive contribution to the community. At the time, one of Jack’s friends and fellow fireman needed help with medical bills for his 13-year-old son’s battle with bone cancer called Osteosarcoma. Jack saw an opportunity to raise funds through a bike ride, so he asked a handful of friends to join him and each kicked in $100.

What began as a leisurely bike ride to memorialize Mike’s passing and raise money for a friend has turned into a mega event. One-hundred percent of the funds raised through the November 3 ride are earmarked to provide financial support to those in need in the community. Early on, Jack dreamed that the event could eventually raise a million dollars. He’s almost there, but the race is far from over.

Jack’s enthusiasm and drive got the ball rolling, but, as they say, it takes a village. With his wife, Teri, their three children and hundreds of volunteers, countless hours have gone into making the Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride one of a kind.

In the past eight years, the bike ride has grown significantly.

“There has been an overwhelming outpouring of generosity and emotional support from our community, making the ride very special to all who participate—riders, volunteers, sponsors, business partners, and those who just come out to be a part of the celebration,” says Jack. “My brother was a very caring and generous person and he would be incredibly proud of what this ride has become and what it means to this community.”

The Ride

The highly anticipated grueling, 80-mile, two-wheeled ride is attracting up to 800 participants and thousands of fans from around the world. But, even more than the funds it raises, the inspirational charity ride brings the community together to recognize and cherish one another.

For those new to the event, the route takes off from and ends at Dos Vientos Community Center in Newbury Park. The trek climbs through Deer Creek, Mulholland and Latigo Canyon.

Jack notes that the ride will strain the muscles and may even be painful, but “When we re-unite back at the park, we can stand proud of our accomplishments and of the fact we are all out there making a difference in the lives of others! I encourage everyone to register for the ride and make an optional donation. If we all donate a minimum of $100, I am sure we can help families in our community in ways they never could have imagined.”

According to Ramona Lennehan, vice president of operations for the Michael P. Nosco Foundation, Inc., only about 2% of their in-kind and monetary donations come from non-cyclists, and all donors ride. With a donation, riders receive a commemorative t-shirt, swag bag, water bottle, post-ride meal and the opportunity to bid on exclusive items given especially to the event from supporters, sponsors and local companies.

Get Involved

Registration for the ride itself is open on the website, where event updates and other information may also be found. For individuals who want to volunteer, Ramona suggests going to the organization’s website MikeNosco.com to sign up.

“All of the roles are on the website and we usually have a total of 120 volunteers the day of the event,” says Ramona. “The ride is an amazing experience and participation in all forms is something you will never forget.”

“The 501(c)3 Michael P. Nosco Foundation, Inc., for which I am president and CEO, was established to provide financial assistance to families and/or individuals in need,” says Jack. “Unfortunately, many families in our local communities cannot afford to pay the medical expenses accumulated by patients with grievous illnesses that are not covered by insurance.

“It is our goal to allow families to reach their full potential in providing the utmost support in the recovery of each recipient. To help them, we offer financial assistance to those who have qualified. Since 2009, more than $500,000 of financial assistance has been awarded to recipients.”

General eligibility requirements for assistance include being a resident of the tri-county area, suffering financial hardship due to a major illness, providing one or more volunteer(s) for the Mike Nosco Memorial Bicycle Ride, having legal resident of the United States status, and submitting a completed application.

“I am blessed and fortunate. There is no better place in the world than the Conejo Valley. It’s Paradise. It’s safe and beautiful,” says Jack. “People show up for our event, no matter what day of the week November 3 falls on each year. The community is unbelievable and it’s important to help make it better, emotionally, spiritually, and through our generosity and compassion.

“I’ve been a public servant more than half of my life and I’ve loved every minute of it. Being community involved and continuing my brother’s legacy go hand-in-hand. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I know Mike wouldn’t either.”

For more information and to donate or volunteer, contact Ramona Lennehan at 805.418.0382 or visit MikeNosco.com