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.
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.
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…
The 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.
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 IRideFor.org/Windell.