Tag Archives: Mike McCaskill

Meet the I Do It For ___ board

I’m having to fight the urge to jump in to design mode with the I Do It For Foundation website. I know that in a couple of months all the work I would do during the time will be replaced with something much better. There are better ways to spend my time at this moment.

However, I did want to take a moment to get up a page introducing you all to the charter members of the I Do It For Foundation board. We don’t plan to stop here. We are starting with three just to get the ball rolling. We hope to expand it as we are able to present possible members with a more developed structure.

For now, swing on by read about Mike McCaskill, David Mruz and Jonathan Pait. Again, please excuse the rudimentary web page. You can click on the page header to go to the I Do It For Foundation home page.

Meet the I Do It For ___ board.

Now, I’m going to go ride my bicycle!

Ride for Mike – a life changing event

12 Days – $08,300

Pledge to the 2012 Ride for Mike

Today we have a guest writing a post for the Low Cadence blog. I think the first time I met Mike McCaskill was playing golf with his son Michael T. McCaskill. Of course, I didn’t think of it much back then and that is probably why I’m not sure if that was the first time or not. The point is, I never knew at that time how our lives would intertwine.

A week or so ago, I asked Mike to answer a few questions and put them down for me to post here. “What was your first impression of the Ride for Mike?” “When did it ‘click’ for you what the ride was?” “What effect has the ride had on you?” Here is his answer…

Mike McCaskill

Mike McCaskill

Mike McCaskill: “Where am I now, in regards to the Ride For Mike?” is best answered by looking at where I started. I love telling the story of the ride for Mike because I always feel that it will encourage others along the way.

When Jonathan began the Ride For Mike in 2007, Janet and I really didn’t know Jonathan that well, but we thought that it was a nice thing to do for the cause of fighting cancer and thoughtful to do it in the memory of our son. We supported Jonathan financially by giving to each ride he did over the next two years.

2009 Ride for Mike jerseyThen things changed!  In 2009, after Jonathan did the “Challenge To Conquer Cancer” relay from Greenville SC to Austin TX, he gave me one of the jerseys on which he wrote “RideforMike 2009 Jonathan Pait”. I was overwhelmed with his kind gesture.

I began to wonder what this was all about. I went to the Low Cadence web site and looked at some of the video of the ride. On that video, I saw my son’s name written on a pennant, and at that moment I began to realize the magnitude of Jonathan’s efforts and the depth of his love for his friend—our son, Mike.  Now I’m really getting curious about how I can help him with his yearly ride.

We talked some about the 2010 ride, but I still didn’t really understand the mind of a cyclist. One day Jonathan and I talked, and he told me that he wanted to switch gears. Little did I know how large a gear he was about to get into.

He said he wanted to ride for a different reason –not for the fight against what took Mike’s life, but he wanted to bring to light what Mike’s life was all about.  Janet and I had already started a scholarship fund in Mike’s name for students who were interested in going into the ministry to work with young people. That was Mike’s life. That was what the ride in 2010 would be all about — riding his bike down the path that God had taken Mike.

It was settled.  Jonathan would ride from Memphis  to Greenville, then on to Raleigh in seven days, a total of 700 miles. I still didn’t understand what it would take to do that ride.

Well, he came to Memphis and after attending morning worship, he hit the road. Starting out with him was Corey Nelson and Chris Phillips. Annette, the person he calls “the beautiful redhead” (whom I call his wife), followed in the sag car.

Janet, Lora and Grace (Mike’s wife and daughter), and I took off in the lead to help get him headed in the right direction and out onto Hwy 72. It was one of the most exciting things I had done in years. As we headed east, I could see the three guys in my rear view mirror riding and talking. Then about 20-30 miles out the two dropped and Jonathan was on his own.

We could only go about 50-60 miles that day with Jonathan, but it was enough to change the direction of my life. At that time I was 40 pounds overweight, struggling to keep all my numbers satisfactory for my doctors and extremely worried about having another heart attack. As I watched Jonathan, I thought to myself, “you know, I ought to get myself a bike and next year ride 10 miles or so with him. That’s the least I can do.”

We left Jonathan that day riding those hills on his way to Raleigh, North Carolina. It just about killed me to watch him and Annette ride off that day, but I wasn’t leaving my thoughts behind about getting a bike. He finished the ride in 7 days, a total of 700 miles, in one of the hottest summers we had in years. I went home determined to make a change.

Yep, I got a bike and I began to ride. Being so out of shape, and not having been on a bike since I was a kid just about killed me. All I could think of was Mike and how he would be encouraging me to do it. I remembered how he went through so many things and yet did not complain one time or even ask why.

I had to do it!! Someway or somehow, I was going to be beside Jonathan for the 2011 Ride for Mike. It wasn’t easy.

My first ride was less than one half mile. After I finished that half mile, I went in the house, flopped down in my chair with my helmet still on, gasped for breath and almost passed out. Man!! I thought if I could just get to one mile.

It was clear I had to lose weight and get in shape. I got a trainer’s name from Bike World located in Memphis and I called her. Lisa Burch began to work with me on nutrition and core strength. She is a triathlete so she could help me on my bike as well.

I lost 40 pounds and began to feel like I hadn’t felt since I had the heart attack. By the way, Mike saved my life the day I had the heart attack, but that story is for another day. I was getting ready to take the next step in this story.

The 2011 Ride for Mike included a fifty mile ride on Saturday followed by Jonathan’s ride of 220 miles in one day from Greenville to Charleston. This year would be a turning point for the Ride for Mike. Jonathan told me about a beautiful young girl, Rebeka Grace Ellis, who suffered from a congenital heart defect. Jonathan’s idea was to raise money for medical expenses and encourage the family. Great Idea!!

I loaded my bike and worried all the way to Greenville. Had I trained hard enough? Was I just fooling myself? Could I really do it? I had never ridden fifty miles — much less in the mountains!Are you kidding me?

I did it!! I rode next to the guy that got it all started. I was ecstatic.

Now, to bring us back to the present. Many people make resolutions about losing weight or getting in shape, but this was different for me. I had a purpose to be on that bike and ride. Not only because for the first time in ten years the doctor is telling me that all my numbers are in range or that I feel better or that I have lost the weight; The purpose now is not for me, but for others.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy riding or the way it makes me feel when I climb a hill or race with some friends. But if those were the only reasons, then it would get old for me. When Jonathan told me about his idea for the “I Do It For Foundation,” I knew immediately that this was it.

The Ride for Mike now had developed into what his life was all about. To be able to help others in their fight against whatever they are facing, to be able to come alongside of those in pain, and to be able to be an encouragement to them is a purpose that never grows old.

This year at The Ride for Mike I am going to try to do 100 miles with Jonathan and others. I’ve never ridden that far and don’t know that I will make it. I just know that the purpose will motivate me more than ever before to do it.

We are doing the ride this year to help fund the new foundation. I’m riding this year, not only for the memory of my son, not just the foundation, but for some other dear folks who are in the middle of a fierce battle for their life. My prayer is that those who read this will be encouraged to know that there are those that you have never met who care about you.

I Do It For You.

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.

Ride for Mike 2010 planning continues

Tomorrow I plan to write a more indepth review of the Garmin Edge 500. However, I do want to give an update on my plans for the 2010 Ride for Mike. You’ll be hearing more about the ride after the first of the year.

I have two plans to help make giving to the event fun for the contributors. One option is that donors giving a certain amount will receive a custom kit featuring a 24-hour restaurant dear to the hearts of cyclists. I’m working now to get approval from the company to design and produce it. Thanks to Hincapie Sportswear for agreeing to do the kits and Chris Hartzler for helping me design the graphics.

By the way, while I am hoping to have this one primary sponsor, there will be openings on the kit for secondary sponsors. If you have a company you would like have on the jersey and shorts, let me know and I can get you information on how to be included. There are limited spots available.

A second option I am considering is branding a LowCadence blend of coffee. This would be a special blend and packaging for this event. People who give another yet to be determined amount would receive a bag of the coffee.  The coffee would also be available for “sale” in local bicycle shops.

Chris and I will be getting together here over Christmas vacation to work out our plans. There will be a new website – perhaps even some t-shirts. We’ll definitely be taking some risks this time around, but that will make it fun!

Those of you following the progress of the event and praying for its success, please pray that I will get approval from the company to produce the custom kits. Once I can get that approval, we will be going in high gear – with a low cadence, of course.

A service of praise

I got up this morning to board a plane to fly up to Raleigh for Mike’s funeral. I was joined by David Orr and Jeremy McMorris. We landed in Hickory, NC to pick up Dr. Bob and then it was on to Raleigh/Durham. After a short drive, we arrived at the church where Mike’s funeral service was held.

Looking out the window of the plane thinking of Mike.

There is something about being a Christian when it comes to face the death of a loved one. Certainly there are feelings of sadness. However, you can’t come to a conclusion that the one you love is gone. It is as though they boarded a plane and flew to some distant location. You don’t see them, but you KNOW they ARE. You have not faced the end of their existence. They exist – in a sense in a way much greater than they did when they were with you.

That is the feeling I had as I looked at the wooden coffin holding the body of Mike. It was not him. Yet, he IS. The sadness is in not having him here with us. The gladness is knowing that we will be with him again. The sadness was in seeing his family knowing that they would not feel his hugs or hear his laughter any more on this earth. The gladness was knowing that they are not without hope.

The credits song to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, “Into the West,” came to my mind. It is the song about the ships sailing into the west to take the elves away from the changing Middle Earth to a new land. “What can you see on the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea a pale moon rises. The ships have come to carry you home. And all will turn to silver glass. Light on the water, grey ships pass into the west.”

Mike has boarded the ship. The ship will return for each of us and we will board it. We’ll leave the fading world and enter a new one that is made new. “The white shores are calling. We will meet again.” Mike is not dead. He is simply waiting.

Michael T. McCaskill April 27, 1981 – June 16, 2007

Thanks, McCaskills, Lora, Carl, Johnny, and all the folks at Catawba Springs Christian Church. You are an inspiration and testimony.

New Ride for Mike Web site

UPDATE: After posting this entry, I visited the Caringbridge.org site where messages are left for Mike and his family. At that time, I learned that Mike passed away. I’ll miss you, Mike. But I will see you again.

Check out the new Ride for Mike Web site. Chris Hartzler was really nice to redesign the site and create a really nice logo that will go on my jersey. The logo will also be going on t-shirts that will be available for purchase with all the proceeds going to the ride in honor of Mike.

Mike is not doing well. We do not know how much longer he will be with us.

This morning was the Sunshine Shop Ride. John and Tony, our two normal leaders, were not on the ride this morning so it was kind of a self guided ride. It also meant that I was one of the top riders out there.

I was a little tired at first because I had ridden 20 miles just the night before after being off the bike since Monday. However, I got my legs under me and for the sprints I tried, I did pretty well – finishing 1st or 2nd. I even had someone jokingly ask me if I had a secret coach.

The Paris sprint was the most fun. About six of us started a break away and I purposefully went to the front to bring up the cadence. Then I backed off to allow five riders in front of me. We crested a hill that would start the downhill before the last climb. I moved into the big ring and tucked in. The draft allowed me to slingshot around the outside just at the base of the climb.

I used the momentum to take me into the climb and smoothly transitioned into a lower gear. As I climbed, I looked back between my legs and there was no one on my wheel. I pushed a little more but let up a bit as I neared the end of them climb. Then on my outside a rider came rolling by. At that point, we were just five yards from the entrance to the park and I couldn’t get up speed enough to pass him back.

Foiled again!

The best thing though is that I have been able to earn the respect of the riders I’m with. They know I can hang with the best of them, but I’m not a dangerous rider. Frankly, that makes me feel pretty good.

Pray for Mike

My heart really isn’t into writing anything today. I have learned that an earlier MRI that showed swelling on Mike’s brain possibly shows that the swelling was actually more growth by the tumor. Unless something amazing happens, they will be taking Mike home.

I have my own problems right now, but how insignificant and puny they are.

Mike, I want you to stay with us, but how selfish of me to want to hold on to you when you could be where I should desire with all my heart to go. I am praying for Lora and Grace – and your parents and all.

To God be the glory – you have already been a testimony for Him and you will continue to be so should He give you to us or take you home to Himself.

Newspaper and updates

My letter to the editor appeared today in The Greenville News. If you read it, you may recognize it as an earlier entry on lowcadence.com. You can check it out at the following link: Greenville needs to be more bike-friendly.

More importantly, I want to give you an update on my friend Mike. He had an MRI last week and the final report was that the tumor was slightly smaller. This is good news in that it isn’t bad, however the doctor would have liked to have seen it shrink more. There is also no bleeds from the tumor and it does not appear to be growing.

There are complications. Mike is having trouble swallowing. He hasn’t been talking, but does nod or smile to conversation. Of more concern is that he has started having seizures earlier this week. They had to take him to Duke Hospital where he had two more seizures in the ER and then two more later in the day. They were pretty bad.

He is currently under sedation and is being feed through a tube. The doctors seem to be stumped why the seizure medicine is not working. This prayer request comes from Mike’s church family, “Please pray that the seizures would be controlled, if they do not get better, they may have to induce a coma like state again. Last time they did that it took months for Mike to come out of it. Please pray for strength and God’s sustaining grace for all.”

Amen.

My Ride for Mike 2007 seems so insignificant right now. Still, I am glad that I can be an encouragement in this very small way. The donations have reached $1090. Things have slowed down somewhat, but I hope to find other ways to increase the amount. Would you consider giving?

Praying on Paris

Today I rode Paris Mountain for my daily ride. Mike was on my mind as I made my way toward the top. Didn’t see any other cyclists, though I did smell a lot of Memorial Day cookouts! The time was around 5:30 and I was trying to get a quick ride in before going to my son’s soccer game.

As I thought about Mike, it hit me, “Why don’t you pray for him while you are just sitting here spinning your legs?” Turns out that not only was I interceeding for Mike, I was also taking my mind off of the coversation my body was trying to have with me.

How to pray for someone with cancer like this? I just pray that God will get the glory from this circumstance that Mike is in. My heart asks that God will get glory through Mike’s victory over this and his use of the experience to help others. Still, I understand that God might have something greater for His son. Either way, God is good and God is great. Eternity will show the answer.

The fund for my Ride for Mike 2007 is now up to $1080. $420 to meet my minimum goal, but I trust it will be more. I know it doesn’t change Mike’s circumstance, but it is just like as I was riding today. I kept thinking, “If I could just transfer some of this health over to him.” You can’t. Then the pain sets in and you think, “This is nothing. Think of what Mike is going through. Share with him in a small way by pushing it just a little harder.”

I still have a lot of pushing to do. I left my house, passed over Paris, and then came up to the top in one hour. In another 19 minutes I was back home (20 miles at a 15.4 average). My first goal is to shave off 5 minutes from that ride.

Updates

Bryant Young – You may recall I mentioned Bryant’s trip across South Carolina. The man is still not back in the saddle because of the saddle rot he acquired during the ride. I saw him last night and he said we was going to try to start easing back this weekend. Wow, I hope that never happens to me!

Ride for Mike – I got an update on Mike yesterday. He is extremely week. They have continued to give him Avastin and CPT-11. With the last MRI, it appeared that the tumor might be shrinking somewhat. They are waiting for confirmation from the primary doctor. Right now are taking off the chemo in order to allow him to gather strength for another round.

Please, pray for Mike. I’ll keep giving updates as I receive them. Please consider supporting my Ride for Mike 2007.

Cycling – I’ve started a group in Facebook called, “I love cycling in Upstate SC.” If you have a Facebook account and you really do love cycling in Upstate SC, come and join us!

Here is my favorite sight in Greenville when it comes to cycling. Can you guess where this is?

Know where this is? Leave a comment.

Last night I did a ride of Paris Mountain to judge my time there and back. I made the ride in 1:20. I’m not sure what my goal will be. Probably would be best to do several rides to get an average and then set a goal for gaining on that time.