First look at RoadGrandTours virtual cycling

I’m a big Zwift fan. I’ve been with the virtual cycling community since it was in beta. I remember those days when there were fewer fish in the pond and every new change was a big one. So, I was intrigued when I learned of a new option for my pain cave setup.



There is a lot of work to be done, but these guys are off to a good start. Currently the application is in alpha phase. Each release has some good steps forward and some steps backward as well. I’ll be interested in seeing what it will look like when they release the beta.

I’ll be stopping into RoadGrandTours from time-to-time, but I’ll be spending most of my trainer time with Zwift for now.

Welcome to Bladenboro

Bladen Journal article on the ride

The Bladen Journal is the newspaper that serves my childhood home. I was pleased that they published an article about the I Do It For Foundation and my ride this past weekend. Every amount of attention to the foundation is appreciated!

You can read the article here



Tired legs near Lumberton


I’m pretty cranky this morning. I get that way with pain… especially pain that affects my mobility. Welcome to Achilles Paratenonitis. tells me it is “inflammation of the covering of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It can cause scarring that restricts the motion of the Achilles’ tendon.” Tell me about it!

Image for reference from

Image for reference from

I started feeling it when I awakened the morning of the second day of the 2016 Ride For Mike. Once I got on the bicycle and got warmed up, I felt okay. The following morning things were a little worse but manageable. I went to work Monday morning stiff more than in pain. The pain came later in the “Grade 1” area seen in the graphic up to the lower calf muscle.

Tuesday I was noticeably limping. By the end of the day, the limp was a jerk as the pain shot up the back of my lower leg each time I bent my ankle. I wanted some relief.

Remembering that warming my leg up on the bicycle helped, I decided to do a lap of the London 8 on Zwift. Sure enough, after a painful start, my muscles stretched out and warmed up. I wasn’t without pain, but it certainly felt better.

Until I was off the bicycle for several minutes. Oh. My. Word. It felt like my leg seized up. I was not feeling more pain than before. That is when I went to the web to find out what might be up.

“Achilles paratenonitis is caused by overuse or repeated movements and poorly fitted shoes,” was the reason gave for the cause. Well, I don’t know about the poorly fitted shoes, but I certainly had some repeated movements!

One question that came to mind was that the article went on to say, “Symptoms are usually worse during activity.” This isn’t really the case for me — when I am on the bicycle. Walking and especially going upstairs is awful. However, riding the bicycle isn’t nearly as bad.

Whatever the case, I’m going to be good from now on! I’m taking the advice of the article, “Treatment consists of rest, pain relief, stretching exercises, and changes in sports techniques and footwear to reduce stress on the tendon.” I’ll be off the bicycle for a few days. I’m taking some acetaminophen, putting my leg up on ice when I’m home, and trying to gently stretch.

One thing I have learned from this is that as you get older, you can’t just jump out there and do the things you could do when you were younger. Next time I’ve got to do a better job of training. I’ll pay with the work early, or pay with the pain later.

2016 Ride For Mike – Greenville to Bladenboro

Here 2016 Ride For Mike by the numbers. This year’s version took me from my current home in Greenville, SC to my childhood home in Bladenboro, NC. I continue to ride in memory of my friend Michael T. McMaskill and rode this year in honor of my father recovering from a massive stroke. Here is a little data insight into I Ride For Windell.


Day One

2016 Ride For Mike - Day One Route

Day One: Greenville, SC to Ruby, SC.

Elevation profile for 2016 Ride For Mike

Elevation profile

Greenville, SC to Ruby, SC
Distance: 143.6 miles
Time in saddle: 7 hours 37 minutes
Total elapsed time: 10 hours 23 minutes
Average speed: 18.8 mph
Weighted average power: 200 watts
Elevation gained: 5,663 feet
Calories: 7,022
Read recap

Day Two

2016 Ride For Mike Day Two Route

Day Two: Ruby, SC to Bladenboro, NC

Elevation profile for 2016 Ride For Mike

Elevation profile

Ruby, SC to Bladenboro, NC
Distance: 95.1 miles
Time in the saddle: 5 hours 3 minutes
Total elapsed time: 6 hours 59 minutes
Average speed: 18.8 mph
Weighted average power: 178 watts
Elevation gained: 1,529 feet
Calories: 5,013
Read recap


Distance: 238.7 miles
Time in the saddle: 12 hours 40 minutes
Total elapsed time: 17 hours 22 minutes
Average speed: 18.8 mph
Weighted average power: 191 watts
Elevation gained: 7,192 feet
Calories: 12,035

Funds Raised

Total: $3,025

The ride itself was a success. I was able to keep a goal of riding yet another year in memory of Michael T. while being an encouragement to my mom and dad. I must admit that the amount of money I was able to raise is discouraging. DON’T GET ME WRONG, I am very, very thankful for those who have given. The discouragement comes with the knowledge that while $3000 is going to help maintain the foundation for another year, it is not enough to advance it as I hoped.

If you have not given, would you please consider donating event small amount? The opportunity continues through October 31. Thank you!



The roads: We’re in this together

Yesterday, I returned from a 240-mile ride that took me across northern South Carolina and into southeastern North Carolina (read about it here and here). It was a physically demanding solo ride. I was glad to get home but even happier to be alive.

Returning to Greenville Sunday evening, I was sitting down to catch up on things I may have missed while cycling. I happened upon a news report of a Michael Roberts who died while riding his bicycle in northern Greenville county. Having just spent so many hours covering all those miles across two states, this really hit home.

I can assume that Michael was riding recreationally judging by his bike brand and the fact he was riding north of Travelers Rest when his home was in Greer. I do not know much about him, but I do wonder if he has children. At 55 he’s not that much older than I. Maybe he has a highschooler or maybe a college student like I do.

It brought one specific instance to mind from the ride. It was one that shook me. It was the first thought as I read the report about Michael.

Now, don’t get me wrong. During that 240-mile trip, I was passed by many, many drivers. The vast majority of them gave me plenty of room and treated me well. I received some thumbs up and some friendly “toot-toots”.

One instance comes to mind was as I approached a narrow bridge on a two lane road. I could hear the exhaust modulation from a semi as I heard him let off the accelerator as he approached me down a hill. I pulled off to the shoulder so he would not have to come to a complete stop. He passed blinking his lights in thanks. Then a jeep driver was next. I looked at him and waved him on. He blinked his lights back at me and I could see him motioning for me to go first.

There are good people in the world. In all my years of cycling, I’ve found that for the most part when cyclists and other vehicle drivers take notice of each other and work together, we get along fine. Really, on this weekend’s ride, I could count on one hand the number of drivers who expressed displeasure with me.

Those don’t really scare me. They annoy me, yes. Sometimes they make me angry, but they are aware of me. Their expressions of annoyance toward me are evidence of it. The guy who gives me plenty of room, but holds his horn down as he passes me is not a threat. The redneck in his pickup truck who accelerates to blow diesel smoke in my direction is merely an annoyance to me.

The one moment that struck fear in my heart was one instance on Highway 9 in South Carolina. It was four lanes at that time. I was nearing a town and had only a mile before I would make a turn onto a parallel road that was less traveled. For the most part, drivers were giving me the entire right lane as they used the left.

Then I felt a car go by me. The wind ruffled my tight-fitting cycling jersey. I held my line and watched the car move away from me. When it did, I saw it wobble a bit. I could see the driver’s head jerk.

I am guessing, but I would be willing to put good money on the fact that this is how it went down. This driver was following along with traffic. Pretty much it was the flow of traffic guiding this individual as the driver was looking down at a cell phone while keeping track of the road with peripheral vision.

The fact that I was on the road did not register until the car was pretty much beside and then beyond me. Most likely, the driver had the same feeling of panic I had as the realization sank in that we were both nearly involved in a tragedy. The wobble was caused by a too late reaction to what could have happened.

This person was not out looking for cyclists to annoy. The problem was that this driver wasn’t looking for cyclists — or anyone else for that matter. This is the great danger of our roads today… for cyclists, for pedestrians… for everyone.

I love to ride my bicycle. I ride for the opportunity to get outdoors and feel the freedom of the road. I also ride for the exercise. I’m not getting any younger and I know that staying in shape becomes more important if I want to live a quality life in my older years. On the other hand, I want to live long enough to enjoy my fitness!

That is one of the reasons why I find myself riding indoors using the computer cycling simulation called Zwift. It minimizes my time spent on the road while helping to maintain my fitness. The vast majority of my riding in preparation for this weekend’s long ride was done in my basement.

Still, I will be back on the road. I choose my routes carefully. I have a follow car when I can. I operate aware of the vehicles around me and contrary to many opinions, I give way to the cars. I do not seek to “own my space.”

This approach, along with Zwift, has served me well. I know that when it is my time to go, I’ll go. At the same time, I’m not into taking unnecessary risks. But that goes for everyone else on the road…

Ride aware. Drive aware. Ride to be noticed. Drive with expectation. Give room.

We can get along.

Ride For Windell Day Two Recap

After enjoying some pretty good Tex-Mex at Fiesta Tapatia in Cheraw, SC, the Beautiful Redhead and I headed back to the hotel. We ended up going to bed around 10 PM.Of course, I had to write the Ride For Windell Day One Recap first.

I had good intentions of getting up at around 6 AM in hopes that we could get going by no later than 7:30 AM. The alarm went off and I awakened. Getting out of the bed was another matter.

I got some waffles yogurt, and juice — oh and plenty of coffee — from the hotel breakfast and then started to load up the truck. We were going to have to drive me back to the point in Ruby, SC where I had stopped the day before.

It is a nerve-wracking feeling when you are driving in a car the opposite direction that you are supposed to be going in on the bicycle. The ride to the hotel didn’t seem so far when we covered this ground on Friday! Watching the rolling terrain didn’t help either.

Unloading the F1

Getting ready to start day two in Ruby, SC.

Finally, we came to the small “station” where I had pulled the plug the day before. I unload the bicycle and we were off. On the way to the start, I noticed there were a number of cyclists on the road. I would be awesome if I could come upon some and pace along with them.

I only saw one cyclist as I crested one incline after another. I kept telling myself that the climbing would stop on the other side of Cheraw. This business of pushing out watts on cold, tired legs was not enjoyable!

The good news was that Annette was with me this time. Just knowing she was there and hearing her voice over the radio was an encouragement. It was like going back in time to the Memphis-Raleigh and Greenville-Charleston rides. It made me feel warm inside on an otherwise chilly morning — even at 8:30 AM.

Somewhere between Ruby and Chesterfield, SC

Another hilly start on day two.

Cheraw came faster than I anticipated. For a good amount of the time, I was averaging over 20 mph. However, that average got wiped out as I neared town. There are some pretty long grades and I simply could not power up them without my legs starting to get that expanding feeling.

In Cheraw, we took our turn off of Highway 9. We were going through some residential roads and then turned onto a street lined with businesses. In the distance, I could see the bridge over the Great Pee Dee river. I knew for certain the terrain would begin to change on the other side.

It did. It just wasn’t as much as I hoped. When I was on flat roads or descending, I felt great. I could even get some power down. However, as soon as I hit any sort of grade my power dropped. It wasn’t that I felt sore or anything. It was just that my legs wouldn’t produce it.

This became my existence for the next hour or so. I got a reprieve right at the North Carolina state line when my sister and her daughters drove up from Florence to cheer me on. Thanks, Suzanne, Grace, Melinda, and Stephanie!

North Carolina state line

Welcome to North Carolina! Two counties to go…

Buoyed by the visit, I climbed up from the line and then started to descend to the next intersection. As I neared it, I could see the road I was supposed to take on the other side. There were orange signs plastered on either side: No through traffic. Detour.

I could think of no option but to follow the detour. Even if I could make it through the obstacle, Annette couldn’t. The question was how far out of the way would this take us? I figured it couldn’t be too far since this was a local detour.

A slight deviation from our plan.

Detours add the ad in adventure.

As it turned out, it wasn’t that bad. Maybe we went a mile out of our way. The best thing was it was a distraction to my mind and gave me something to think about other than my legs, back, and neck.

We reached Laurinburg, NC and I loaded the bicycle in the truck as we went in search of something to eat. I always have to remind myself that these rides are not a race. It is okay to eat at a restaurant along the way. There is no rule that says I have to eat on the bicycle!

Ahhhhh, here were the flat roads I was looking for. It took 50 miles, but this is what I hoped for back near Cheraw. I was able to keep a pretty good pace through the landscape becoming more and more numerous with pine trees. I knew I was heading in the right direction.

Tired legs near Lumberton

These puppies were tired!

Then the wind came. It started as a headwind. I saw the flags along the route waving toward me. A particularly disheartening scene was a small balloon on a mailbox. It was out straight to the right of the mailbox straining on the nylon ribbon as though it was trying to escape.

Wind changes, though. It swung to a cross wind from my right to left. I wondered if I could use my upper body as a sail. Maybe if I moved my right shoulder forward and my left shoulder back I could turn it into a bit of a tailwind. Can you tell I was starting to get a little warm under the afternoon sun? Now it was just settling in for the long haul.

As I neared Lumberton, NC, the wind seemed to die down. I looked for flags and found them gently swaying. Now I had another battle. It was with my body. I found more and more that my head was hanging and I had to remind myself to look up and not get mesmerized by the white line along the shoulder.

Then Annette came over the radio. “Why don’t you draft off the truck for a bit?” That was not something she would normally offer! I was willing to give it a go.

So, for periods of time I would slot in behind the Pilot and Annette would hold a speed around 24 mph. Then she would radio back to me that a car was approaching us and I would go off to the right while she would drive ahead, pull over, let the car pass, and then move up to be my shield again.

It helped. I’m not so sure that it made me that much faster, but it certainly was an awesome emotional lift. In some ways, it was an effort as I accelerated to get in position and then had to stick my nose back in the wind. All I know is that before I knew it, we were at the Welcome to Lumberton sign.

Entering the far side of Lumberton

Happy to see Lumberton!

Wow! I was almost home! I knew from this point on I would recognize all the landmarks. I started through the city streets with a renewed energy. Still, by the time I reached the intersection that would put my on Highway 211 — and just two turns from home — I was needing to find some shade.

We pulled over and I got new water bottles from the cooler. I poured one of them over my head.  I was now 17 miles to the finish. That was exciting, but also a realization that I was going to have to spend another hour on the saddle. There was nothing to do, but to do it.

211 is a pretty flat road. It is also a pretty straight one. Once again, I started to find myself staring down at the computer screen. Annette offered to draft again and I took the offer. As it turned out, I didn’t get to enjoy it for long because we were closer than I thought.

Welcome to Bladenboro

Reaching Bladenboro! Only a few miles to go.

We stopped to take a photograph near the Welcome to Bladenboro sign. Then I started to roll over the next five miles to my parents’ house. Now I was feeling great! I’ve ridden this road many, many times.

As we turned onto the road to my childhood home, Annette came over the radio to tell me that my mom had called to say that my dad was looking at his watch and trying to communicate the question, “When will Jonathan get here?” I was happy that it would be less than a minute!

Windell and Jonathan

The man I was so please to honor with this year’s ride!

The whole trip was worth it when my dad stood up from his porch swing and came over to hug me. Of course, I didn’t let him! I didn’t want to kill him with the sweat and smell! I’d get the shower out of the way and then we could spend more time together.

And so, the 2016 Ride For Mike comes to an end. I was glad to honor my father in the process.

Please support the I Do It For Foundation with a gift today!

I Ride For Windell Day One Recap

Okay, where do I begin? At the very beginning… that is a good place to start.

Due to my usual last minute changes of mind we were a little late leaving. My goal was to be gone by 6 AM. We didn’t roll out of the driveway until 6:19 AM. That was okay. I wasn’t going to let anything get me off my game.

The morning was dark and chilly. There wasn’t any need for leg or arm warmers, but I did have fingered gloves and a wind vest. As the ride continued, I was happy with my choices. I didn’t remove them until the sun came up during our arrival in Spartanburg.

We turned off our neighborhood street onto Highway 29. This is normally a very busy road. The plan was to avoid as much of that as possible with our early start. It worked. We didn’t start really running into heavy traffic until we reached Spartanburg.

The only negative was that I was never able to find a simple way to create turn by turn directions from my Garmin course file. So, Annette was using an iPad in an attempt to decipher the next turns in Garmin Connect. This turned out to just fine… because of other issues.

It didn’t hit me until we stopped in Spartanburg that I could see my own course map right on my Garmin 1000! I had forgotten to start the course at the beginning of the ride. Now I could follow the route — though there still no turn by turn directions.

It was during one of these times of uncertainty that Annette was trying to make sure we were on the right road when suddenly I heard “Oh no! We’ve got a flat!” come over the radio. I looked back to see our Honda Fit on the side of the road and a distressed looking wife sitting in it.

Oddly I felt very calm and laughed to myself that the support car was there in case the Felt had a flat! The point was that we needed to get that tire changed and get back on the road ASAP. I’m not sure, but I think it took us around 20 minutes.

I rolled off and Annette came around me to head to Pacolet, SC. Someone was waiting to fix the tire (which by the way was damaged by a pothole). The Garmin was going to have to guide me from here.

Rolling, rolling, rolling...

Rolling, rolling, rolling…

Finally, I was settling into a rhythm. I continued on through Pacolet where I saw Annette standing in the waiting room of the tire place. I sent her a quick text that I was going to keep going. The idea was that she would get the tire repaired and then come to meet me. All would be good.

That is not what happened. Annette called and asked me to pull over somewhere so we could talk. I found a spot and called her back. I learned that the tire could not be repaired (by the way, it was a brand new tire!) and that there were no tires to be found (the Honda Fit Sport has a special tire).

The Beautiful Redhead was going to have to drive back to Greenville to get our Honda Pilot — which had gotten a screw in the tire the night before. It was at our mechanics waiting to be plugged. We would be trading one for another.

Meanwhile, I was really enjoying the morning. I was feeling strong at this point. The primary challenge was the fact that I only had two bottles of water and no food. Until Annette rejoined me I would have to stop for calories and fluids. I could see my day in the saddle getting longer and longer.

Then Annette texted me. (Have I told you how cool the Garmin Edge 1000 is in how it shows text messages right on its face?) More bad news! Turns out that when our mechanics removed the wheel they discovered that the wheel — and three others — had rotting tires. Not only that, the brakes were almost non-existent. It was bad enough that they would not let her leave the car in that condition.

So, three new tires and four brake pad sets later (we bought the car used in the last three years), she was finally on her way back to me. Of course, I was just riding along enjoying a beautiful morning!

Never fear. Things got tough for me as well. This was primarily because of the rolling terrain. It is kind of like crit racing when you don’t roll well through the corners. You find yourself having the sprint to catch the field. That constant acceleration starts to wear you down.

On rolling terrain, you do get the advantage of the downhill, but then you have to power up the next climb. You do this over and over. Then you pull into a town with one traffic light after another and it is stop-and-go.

Well, basically, from Greenville, SC to Pageland, SC it is nothing but rolling hills. Some of those can be grinding grades. Throw into that the fact that I was fueling with snack bars, peanut butter crackers, and candy bars. I was starting to fade.

I pushed into Lancaster, SC after mile 100. I stopped at a Subway and devoured my sandwich and a large sweet tea. I would regret that beverage choice later.

Annette was on her way, but I struck out toward Pageland. I figured she would catch me before I could cover the 26 miles to get there. I was missing her and as the day got longer I wanted her company.

That section was the hardest of the day. I was tired. The iced tea left me feeling bloated and I was feeling some cramps in my stomach. My Garmin was starting to get low on power. Impressively, my iPhone 7 plus was still at 36%.

I didn’t look at the Garmin. I’d get there when I got there. My feet hurt. My neck and back hurt (a  normal thing for me since I broke my neck back in 2010).

The two of us met again just as I was coming into Pageland. I really didn’t think I would be able to continue. The town was my original target for my two-day plan. Still, it was 3:30 PM and I wanted to cut into Saturday’s distance as much as possible.

After stopping to talk to Annette, I started feeling a little better. We decided I was head for Cheraw. If I couldn’t cover the 30-mile distance, I would stop and Annette would take me to the hotel. Saturday morning, we would head back to the spot where I stopped on Friday.

Well, I didn’t get but 15 of the miles complete. I knew I would have to stop when climbing a grade I was only managing 6 mph. The final straw came when I wobbled and went over those blankety blank rumble strips that DOT has put on all the white lines!

At 143 miles, I called it. Annette was supportive. Yes, that meant I would have to do another 100-mile day, but if I kept going so slowly I would still have a long trip left and I would have less time to recover.

The Felt F1 at the end of day one in Ruby, SC.

The Felt F1 at the end of day one in Ruby, SC.

That was it. Thank you to all of you who texted me, commented on my myriad of social media posts, and gave money to the I Do It For Foundation through Oh yeah, that is why we’re doing this!

Looking forward to seeing my mom and dad tomorrow. We’ll try to get there as soon as we can. Hope you’ll follow along with us!

Don’t forget…



Today is the day! I Ride For Windell

Today at 6AM EST, I leave out on 240-mileile solo ride raising awareness and financial support for the I Do It For Foundation. Ride along with me on social media. I could use all the “Ride Ons” you can give me along the way!

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 9.24.58 AM

Here’s what you can do…

As I type this there are only 30 minutes to go before I leave. I’m nervous… mostly about dealing with traffic along the route. However, there is also that nervous excitement that always comes before an event like this. It’s a good feeling.

Ride On!

What about you? Countdown Day 1

Tomorrow I roll out on the 2016 Ride For Mike. I’ll be doing it for my father, Windell Pait. I hope you’ll follow along with me throughout the day on Twitter and Instagram. More than that I hope you will make I Do It For your own.

There are two ways you can, as our slogan says, “Do it for someone you love.”

Many people reading this blog are active in different sports. There may be a few who are looking for motivation to get involved in a more active lifestyle. I Do It For is here to help add a little motivation to your training… or to your desire to get started with a more active lifestyle.

The "Doer" Dave Vandeventer

The “Doer” Dave Vandeventer – 2012

Here is how it works. Dave is beginning to train for a local marathon. A friend of his at church is also enduring an ongoing battle with cancer. He learns of the I Do It For Foundation and decides to start an I Run For Juanita project. His objective is to raise money for the extra expenses that Juanita faces while rallying others around her in emotional support.

As Dave begins his training, he launches his website. He encourages friends to give money to support Juanita, but he also asks them to join him the day of the run… either as a fellow runner or just along the route wearing “I Do It For Juanita” t-shirts.

Through social media, he keeps people aware of his own journey toward his goal of the marathon while also telling Juanita’s story. The two journeys become intertwined. Dave’s run is no longer simply about a PB. It is about Juanita and her battle.

The day of the run Dave starts with a group of “Doers” for Juanita cheering him on. But they are there also to cheer on Juanita. She is too sick to be there, but people keep her up-to-date with the progress. The day ends with Dave accomplishing his goal of finishing the race, but think about what more he accomplishes in the process.

Juanita receives money to help her with the expenses surrounding her treatment not covered by insurance. More than that she is bolstered by the outpouring of support of the many who give, encourage her online, or express their love for her wearing I Do It For Juanita tees around town. That’s what it is all about!

What is your next event? You’re training anyway… why not use that time training drawing attention to someone else in need? Why not make that event mean even more? Do it for someone you love!

Maybe you aren’t even exercising, but you want to get started. Perhaps making your exercise routine about someone other than yourself will give you the extra motivation to follow through. Choose an upcoming event — charity walk, local 5K event, or organized cycling ride — as your target. Start an I Do It For campaign and tell your stories as you reach your target.

Start your campaign today!

The other way you can help is to support the I Do It For Foundation. There are many ways we would like to aid our “Doers” as they support their “Inspirations”, but it takes money to build and maintain these tools. Also, we are committed to giving 100% of the funds that come in to the Inspirations.

That is why I am riding the I Ride For Windell tomorrow morning. Yes, I am riding to show love for my father, but I’m also riding for all the others who in the future will inspire doers to make a difference. I’ll be thinking of my dad and the many others who have inspired us to do a little more as they run their own races in challenges far greater than sport.

Give to I Ride For Windell now!

I am not a ribbon, a color or a disease.

I am a person. I have a name. Do it for me.

Do it for someone you love!

Somewhere between Greenville and Saluda

2016 Ride For Mike Route – Countdown Day 2

Now that I’ve talked all about “why” I am doing the 2016 Ride For Mike, let’s take a moment to look at “what” the ride will entail. When the rubber hits the road Friday morning, where will I be going and how will I get there? Here’s the low cadence low down.

2016 Ride For Mike Route

2016 Ride For Mike Route

The plan is to have everything packed and ready to roll by Thursday evening. I’ll have the car pointed out the driveway and the bicycle tuned and prepped. Once it is all in place, I’ll try to get to bed a little earlier than usual.

I’ll awake Friday morning with enough time to eat a nice bagel and egg breakfast sandwich, take a wake-me-up shower, and get dressed for the ride. The weather is supposed to be awesome that day, so what I wear shouldn’t be complicated. There really won’t be much more to do at that point than to start the ride.

That will be simple as well. The ride starts at my driveway. I’ll head down my street with the Beautiful Redhead following me in the Honda FIT. Then we’ll make a right turn onto Highway 29 for the first long leg of the journey.

This stretch will take me from Greenville to the outskirts of Spartanburg. I’m hoping that by starting on the road at 6AM, I will be able to avoid most of the traffic and more importantly catch as many green lights as possible on this traffic light infested ribbon of asphalt. Even so, it will be tough because of the undulating terrain.

If I get the lights right, I might be able to average 18 mph through this section. An hour and a half into the ride I will make my next turn to by-pass Spartanburg. The road I’m aiming for is Highway 9 on the eastern side of Highway 29. At that point, I’ll be heading due east with a little southern bent.

I’ll pick up Hwy 9 in Pacolet, SC. There will be a couple of turns along the way as I move through some towns, but it is a pretty straight shot until I reach Cheraw, SC. Then I’ll move off of Highway 9 as I make my way over the North Carolina border. I’ll be heading through towns familiar to me from my childhood as I loosely follow Highway 74 into southeastern NC.

Laurinburg, Maxton, Red Banks, Pembroke, Lumberton, and finally Bladenboro. I won’t actually enter the Bladenboro city limits, but will turn into some rural farming roads that will wind away from traffic and bring me to my parents’ house. I’ll finish the ride as I pull into the drive on JA Carroll Road on the edge of Crawley Swamp.

Elevation profile for the 2016 Ride For Mike

Elevation profile for the 2016 Ride For Mike

I’ve broken the ride into two sections. The first is 125-mile section to Pageland, SC. This is going to be the toughest part of the ride. While the overall topography flows down toward the coast, the elevation graph looks like a saw blade. It is my intention to reach this waypoint on Friday.

Then I’ll decide what to do…

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-12-20-amThe second section is really the “horse smelling the barn” section. At this stage, there is an actual  negative grade toward sea level. The jagged rhythm-breakers of the first 125 miles gives way to more gently rolling to flat roads. Depending on detours or wrong turns I should have 115 miles to go.

So, depending on how I feel when I reach Pageland, I’ll decide if I keep going. In the back of my mind, there is a little voice calling me to make a day of it. Of course, that would mean a 14 hour day in the saddle. That is why the other little voice in my head is telling me to go into this with a two-day plan.

Stay tuned…

There is one more hurdle I have to get over. It is my fundraising goal of $20,000. Right now things stand at $1825. Can you help me with that? Learn more about the project and give at