Tag Archives: 2010 Route

2010 Ride for Mike route: Day Seven

Here is the route for the final day of the 2010 Ride for Mike. Even as I type the words, I am struck with mixed emotions. Part of me is breathing a sigh of relief. All this work is nearing an end! Part of me has a hollow feeling spreading. This adventure into which I have invested so much is about to be over. It is as it should be.

Five days is all that is left before that adventure begins. Five days and I still have a lot of work to do to get ready. Five days and I’d love to see another $1000 come in to help reach the $14,000 goal. Five days and I’ll be on my way to this seventh and final one.

Asheboro to Apex, North Carolina

Route for Day Seven of 2010 Ride for Mike

This is my catch all day. We’ll be covering just over 55 miles from Asheboro to Apex, North Carolina. That is half the distance of a majority of the days for this trip. Really, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m trying to make it to Greenville from Memphis in four days, I could stretch things out a bit more. At least for the last three days I won’t have to drive hard. I can add a few more miles onto this last day if I need to.

We’re talking about a pretty straight shot here folks. Not only is it straight, it is probably the flattest portion of the whole trip as well. I guess we’ll call this our tapering down day.

I’ll be looking forward to getting some rest and reliving the successes we’ll experience along the way. I really am looking forward to those things. I know they’ll come.

It is going to be neat to see how this experience helps the Beautiful Redhead and I to grow as a couple. Sure, in a couple of years we’ll celebrate our 20th year together. We still have a lot to learn about each other and this will give us an opportunity to turn our routine upside down! I’m seeing this as OUR adventure… not just my own.

It is also going to be exciting to see how much money we end up raising for the Michael T. McCaskill Memorial Scholarship Fund. I know that the church where we’ll start the trip as well as the one where we end it are planning to promote the ride and possibly even take up an offering. Add that to what we have raised and other donations that will undoubtedly come in during the ride and… well, we might even reach $20,000!

Finally, it will be exciting to know I’ve accomplished the hardest physical achievement I have ever attempted. It will be not only a victory over the road. It will be a victory over the injuries that made me question if I would even be able to attempt this year’s ride. Really, it was the thought of this ride that gave me the motivation to attack my injuries and not succumb to a pity party. Half way through the ride I will “celebrate” four months since breaking my neck, fracturing my skull, and breaking two of my fingers.

On the other hand, I’ll be glad to not be asking people for money all the time! I’ll be glad to take a break from the bike. It is even going to be nice to take a little break from the blog. Honestly, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now. It seems that almost every facet of my life is throwing things into the mix. I’m a juggler with too many props in the air!

I’m ready to get this done!

2010 Ride for Mike route: Day Six

We’re almost there… at least in my planning dreams. We are definitely almost to my goal of $14,000 for the Ride for Mike. This morning as I type this the total has reached $12,950.  Who knows, perhaps today will be the day we reach the goal. Still, there is a lot of pedaling left to do!

Talking to my friend John at Sunshine Cycle Shop I got the best advice. “It is just another bicycle ride,” he said — meaning more than what it sounds like at face value. He could tell I was getting too caught up in the big picture. When you approach the trip as 60 hours on the bike in a single week, it seems overwhelming. When you analyze your approach this way and that, it is easy to start second guessing. What John was saying was, “Just get on the bike and start pedaling. Enjoy the ride. The rest will follow.”

“The rest” includes the route from Belmont to Asheboro, NC. It will hopefully be my second sub-century day in a row. Of course, one aspect of the route as a whole is that the distances in the later days are shorter. This is planned for two reasons: 1) If I am able to get the mileage I planned in the early days, I’m going to be pretty tired toward the end and the shorter distances will be welcome; and 2) If I fall behind during those first four days, I can try to make up the distance in the last three days.

Belmont to Asheboro, NC

Ride for Mike Day Six route

Basically, we will get on Highway 49 and head northeast. Depending on the weather, I think I can make some good time this day. The road is good and sections of it are four-lane divided highway. More and more I welcome those types of roads.

One of the things I am concerned with is also one of the things I am comforted by. That is the fact that my wife will be following me in a support vehicle. It is a great thing because I look forward to sharing this adventure with her. It is a concern because sometimes having a support vehicle can be problematic in traffic. In some cases on certain roads, I would feel more comfortable riding without a follow car. Irate drivers who are being held up on a narrow road are not ones I want to deal with. I’ve seen them do pretty stupid things.

I think we may take an approach where she will not always be behind me. There will be certain roads where I will have her go ahead to a designated area to await my arrival. There are several reasons I think this is a good idea. First, there are times when it will simply be safer. Second, there will be times when she can go ahead to scout out resting areas and food stops. Third, I think she is going to need a break now and then! If I’m spending 60 hours in a week on a bike… imagine spending 60 hours in a car averaging under 20 mph!

I love you, Beautiful Redhead!

2010 Ride for Mike route: Day Five

I’ll tell you. I’m getting nervous. I’ve been out on the bike several time over the last couple weeks finishing 4 – 5 hour rides. I’m pretty much toast by the time I finish. Normally the distances I cover are 60 – 70 miles. Ummm, that is about half the miles I’ll need to cover some days during the Ride for Mike.

Well, at least Day Five gives me a reprieve — sort of…

This day is the part of the route that sees me leaving Greenville and heading into the final state of the trip. Thursday night should find me just outside of Charlotte. It will be my first “sub-century” day if everything goes well.

Greenville, SC to Belmont, NC

Day Five route for the 2010 Ride for Mike

It is the Greenville, SC to Belmot, NC leg. If things go as planned, I will leave from the campus of Bob Jones University that Thursday morning, September 23. The route will take up Highway 29 through Spartanburg and on through King’s Mountain to Charlotte.

The miles may be fewer, but I’m familiar with these roads and they are not going to be easy miles. It is going to take a bit of work to knock out 90 miles. We’re talking the possibility of more 8 hour days even as the miles covered decrease.

Still, I’ll be soooo close. There will be only two days left if I can make it this far! The lift I get from the knowledge is surely going to help me finish the job.

2010 Ride for Mike route: Day Four

Greenville, here we come!

Here is one of the legs of my journey on the Ride for Mike that I get asked about the most. “When will you be in Greenville?” The answer is on day four. It is the final push for the long days and the end (I hope) will find me in my own bed that Wednesday evening.

Day Four Route

Dawsonville, GA to Greenville, SC

This is also another ambitious leg – Dawsonville, GA to Greenville, SC. The Google maps estimate is 124 miles this day. I’m hoping on two things… 1) that I will be farther along than I have planned by this point — which will help shorten the distance on this day, and 2) that the fact that I will be riding into Greenville will give me extra motivation — the old “horse smelling the barn” syndrome.

It is now 18 days before I start this journey. Actually, the journey started  little less than a year ago when I hatched this idea while riding my bike from Greenville to Austin with the Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride. September 19 will just be the beginning of the end of a longer journey — but it will also be the toughest part. Still, I am getting that excited feeling in the pit of my stomach!

Friends have been asking about riding along with me once I get near Greenville. I certainly would appreciate some help on this leg, but I will also be looking for some help on the leg out of Greenville. I should be publishing that part of the route in the next several days. I’m thinking that I will leave out of Greenville that Thursday morning from the campus of Bob Jones University. It will probably be a later start (around 9 AM) so we can avoid the early morning traffic.

If you do want to join me on the Day Four leg (GA to SC) you might want to have someone drive you backward on the route until you come across us. You can then join in and help pull my tired body up the Calhoun Memorial Highway. I plan to end the route that day at Bob Jones University, so you can call your ride to pick you up there — or just ride on home if there is still enough light!

Yes, I realize that 123 can have some traffic and speeds. However, the more I have looked at the route, the more convinced that staying on these divided highways is the best option. Though the speeds will be higher the traffic will flow more smoothly if the chase car and I don’t clog the only lane of traffic. Also, these types of roads are typically engineered with fewer step inclines. They help level out some of the terrain. Frankly, I just feel safer about it than riding on a hilly rural road with blind curves.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me up to this point. If you have not supported the 2010 Ride for Mike yet, please consider giving to the cause. I announced yesterday that we will be placing a second order for the Ride for Mike bibs and jerseys. It is a fun way to support the ride AND have something useful to remember it by later. Check it all out at RideForMike.com.

2010 Ride for Mike route: Day Three

It has been a while since I have updated everyone on my plans for routing my way from Memphis to Raleigh. This is such an important part of the trip and it is something over which I keep arguing with myself. I think I’m just going to have to make a commitment and do it.

If you are new to this endeavor you will find my plans here for Day One and Day Two. Those are the first two days of a seven day ride from near Memphis, TN through Greenville, SC and then on to a town near Raleigh, NC. That is around 700 miles that I’ll cover over those 7 days.

Day Three is going to be a challenge! While I will be facing some rollers in that those first two days, this third day is going to send me into an area with a bit more climbing toward the end. I also have myself putting in around 120 miles. This route from Collinsville, AL to Dawsonville, GA is going to be a gut check.

The thing I keep telling myself is that I am not limited by time. This is not a race. Though I wouldn’t want to do this (and don’t know that I physically could), I could fit 12 hours or more of riding into a day. That would mean I would be averaging 10 mph through that terrain. The scary thing is, that is about the average I would expect! Bottom line is, I’m going to have to turn the pedals with anger on those first two days out. I have a feeling I’m going to need to “bank some miles.”

Of course, my hope is that I will be able to average at least 15 mph for the whole trip. That turns a 120 mile day into a loooong but a manageable 8 hour day. I have completed several centuries at over a 20 mph pace (finishing at or under 5 hours), but that was on flat to slightly rolling terrain. Those efforts also left me spent. That isn’t going to work on a 7 day effort.

Have you figured out yet that this is starting to scare me? Folks, my confidence level isn’t very high right now. I take that back, I have no doubt I can do it. The thing is I am starting to realize just how bad this is going to hurt!

I’ve just got to plan the best I can. I’ve got to train as much as I can. Then I’ve just got to go out there and do it.

2010 Ride for Mike route: Day Two

I didn’t mention this in yesterday’s post, but I will not be doing the 2010 Ride for Mike route alone. The beautiful redhead will be my support driver. She will be following me and supporting me from our Honda Fit along the way.

I call that love! It has been a hard year on her. I know it was very hard for her to be there the day I crashed. If I let my mind wonder, it can be dangerous. Both my wife and children were there the day I broke my neck. My oldest son was one of the first to arrive on the scene. I don’t think very long about what it would have been like had I been more badly injured… or worse.

However, Annette is a wonderful woman and she understands her husband. Sure, she lets me know that it is going to be hard for her to get used to me getting back on the bike, but she understands that I do not intentionally seek danger. The statistics are in my favor. Fear of something that probably will never happen shouldn’t keep me off the bike.

So, not only is she allowing me to get back in the saddle, she is also going to support me as I cover the 700 – 750 miles from Memphis to Raleigh. Wow! That means some long days traveling along at 15 to 25 mph! I think that has got to be harder than riding the bike.

What will happen is we will leave from Memphis with her driving the car and me following on the bike. The car will have a flashing light, extra bicycle, and decals alerting drivers that a cyclist is in the area. We will communication via two-way radios and the car will be equipped with Internet and GPS so Annette can navigate and prep for the trip ahead. Once we reach Corinth, I will continue alone on the route while the beautiful redhead gets us checked in at the hotel, etc. She will then drive to meet me at the target stopping area. We will then go back to the hotel together.

The next day we will start the route for Day Two – Burnsville, Mississippi to Somerville, Alabama. We’ll take the car together back to the point where I stopped the day before. Then we start to cover another 100 miles or so to the east side of Decatur, Alabama. We’ll do the same thing we did on Day One when we passed through Corinth.

It is going to be pretty hard to avoid riding on two-lane divided highways in this section. However, they are not Interstates. These roads remind me of some of the ones I’ve traveled on when riding from my parents’ home to Fayetteville, NC. It is also similar to the roads we had to ride on at times during the Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride last year. It certainly makes the role Annette will play with the SAG car that much more important.

The good news is that as I work through these routes, I’m starting to get excited. This is going to be doable. At least for these first 200 miles the terrain will allow for some good speeds. Just a little over 500 more to go.

2010 Ride for Mike route: Day One

It is time to start seriously mapping out my route for the 2010 Ride for Mike. It is a 700 – 750 mile trip from Memphis, Tennessee to Raleigh, North Carolina. My plan is to go southeast out of Memphis to go below the higher elevations of the Appalachians. It will take me near Atlanta before swinging northeast toward Greenville and then on to Raleigh. Whatever the route, I’ve got to do it in 7 days.

I’ve set some target cities along the route. These are the locations where I will bed down at night. I plan to reserve some decent hotels so that I can make the most of the rest I can receive. I’ll ride to get as close to each city as I can… or ride past it if possible… then I’ll stop, get in the car, and head to the hotel. The next morning I’ll get up and drive back to the spot where I stopped the day before. Then it is off to the next target city.

Here are my plans for Day One. The target city is Corinth, Mississippi. If I can get 100 miles in, it will put me near the town of Burnsville. The two major roads that would take me in the direction where I need to be are 64 and 72. However, the road I’d like to get on is Hwy. 57. My plan is to conceive of two to three alternate routes. If I find that traffic will allow me to take a road like 64 or 72, I will in order to make the best time.

The third route I am considering is to Hwy. 57 as quickly as I can. I would then continue on that road until I reach Wolf Pen Road. Of course, it would be a simpler route just to head down 72! The problem with that is there are numerous sections where the traffic lanes are three wide. The 57 route would allow me to take a rural road for most of the route. The distance would be only about an extra 7 miles.

Anyone have any suggestions? I’d also like to find a good bicycle shop in the Corinth area just in case I need a mechanic. If you live in the area, I’d love to have you come out and ride with me. I’ll be leaving from Eastside Baptist Church, 3232 Covington Pike, Memphis, TN on Sunday, September 19. I’d appreciate some company… and a good draft!

2010 Ride for Mike route

Not a long post today. Just want to put up the preliminary route for the 2010 Ride for Mike. Of course, it will change a bit as I take a look at the various directions and explore this “walking” route from Google Maps. My initial explorations and past experience with portions of this route, give me reason to believe this is pretty close.

Click image to go to Google Maps

Click image to go to Google Maps

The challenge is to cover the 700 – 730 mile distance in seven days.  That is what I want.  I don’t want to have a situation where it is a done deal before I ever start rolling.  It will only be fulfilling if I have to put out a great effort to accomplish the ride.

As I get farther into my planning stages, I will be breaking the route down into seven sections.  My initial overview of the route leads me to think that I should probably try to get as many miles in as possible in the first two stages.  Three through seven are going to be a bit tougher — especially the final four legs.

Anybody want to join me? 🙂