Why I am riding

Today is June 16. It probably isn’t a significant day for many people. For those of us who knew Michael T. McCaskill, it is a day that brings both sadness and a smile to our faces.

It was in the early morning of that day in 2007 that Mike went home. He left behind a lovely wife and a beautiful baby daughter — and many friends who loved him. We still miss him today. While there is sadness at recalling his passing, as the years pass I find myself remembering more the times I was with him. We simply said farewell — not goodbye. Then before I know it, I find a smile on my face.

Michael T. McCaskill with baby Grace

I remember well that time. I was planning on my very first Ride for Mike. It was the charity ride now known as the Stars and Stripes Challenge that takes place when the USA Cycling Professional Championships come to Greenville. The plan was to raise funds for this charity that provides money for cancer fighting causes. I had a jersey made up for it and I planned to present the jersey to Mike when I was done.

The ride that was planned as a  means of encouragement to Mike as he fought his battle, became a ride in his memory. I still have the jersey and it is a means of motivation to continue my goal of riding in his memory each year.

So, that brings us to today. I’ve had my own challenges this year and for a while the fourth annual Ride for Mike looked like it might be in doubt. However, I am happy to say that last night for the first time in 24 days after breaking my neck, I climbed on the trainer and turned the pedals. Granted it was only for 30 minutes at about 150 watts… but it was a start back.

Today, I am more determined than ever to climb on that bike in September and finish the job. It will certainly be the hardest thing I have ever attempted on the bike. However, this year has been the most fun year planning and fund raising. That is all because of YOU. The support I have received has been a great motivator to make this a reality. Thank you.

On this day when we remember Mike’s passing would you consider giving in his memory? Your gift would be appreciated.