Tag Archives: Palmetto Peloton Project

Getting in gear and picking it up

It is a beautiful morning in Tupelo, Mississippi. Wow, I got seven hours of sleep and I’m not having to rush around to get my bags packed.  It’s going to be a good day!

To get things started on today’s blog, I’ll point you to the video for Day One.  You can read the report of the day here.  You can see a sampling of the day in the below video.

What about yesterday?  It was an eventful and fun ride.  It certainly exceeded my expectations.  Here is the report followed by some video from the day.

We started off waking up in Chattanooga, TN.  We had a really nice hotel that we got for $29 a room!  The breakfast was a nice warm buffet.  We got ourselves loaded up by 8:30 and we headed out to a cool coffee shop in the city.  Then it was time to climb into the KIA and go down the road.

Ahhhh, the KIA… it is an adventure in and of itself.  Those back seat benches are less comfortable than my bicycle seat!  Of course, we have seven people in this seven person mini-van along with food, gear, and all kinds of technological devices.  Oh, don’t forget Bo’s ukulele!

We made it to Spencer, TN where we were supposed to make our transition.  Once again we made the switch off without a hitch.  Then it was time to hit the road.

It was then we realized our first issue of the day.  Nikki was unable to start with us because her bike was on the mechanic’s bus.  She had to get into Betsy’s support vehicle and they drove ahead to find them.

It was a little discouraging because we kept having to move over to the side of the road to let traffic by.  Then we missed a turn.  However, we were able to find an alternate route that got us back in gear.

Thirty minutes into the ride we were averaging 11 mph!  I was starting to get worried that the whole day would go this way.  It made me a little antsy, and I finally had to move to the back of the group so I wouldn’t gap everyone.

Then we hit the sweet spot!  The road changed and there was less traffic.  We were heading into Tennessee Walking Horse country.  Not only was it beautiful, the terrain was slightly rolling.  We all got in gear an started making up time.

First we started a pace line that put one rider on front for 30 seconds.  For a bunch of riders who had ridden together as a group for the first time one day earlier, we did pretty well.  Then we upped the ante and we started rolling with a rotating pace line.  Again, I was surprised by how well we worked together.  We were rolling along for sometime averaging 23 mph.

By the time we met up with Nikki an hour into the ride, we had our average back up to 16 mph.  We held that average until we reached our next transition in Columbia, Tennessee.  It was a great moment to roll in there knowing we had more than pulled our own weight… and that we had done it was a true team effort.

We did make one more wrong turn, but it wasn’t surprising.  The roads we were taking were pretty small and in some cases not marked at all!  One road in particular we sat there wondering if it was the right road until a local showed up to confirm it for us.

Other than that it was smooth sailing through some truly beautiful, rolling countryside.  You can get a small idea of it all in the video, but the tiny helmet cam simply doesn’t do it justice.  The majority of the ride was this way until we neared our finish where we had some wonderful pizza before heading on a several hour drive to our next stop.

It’s great to have Nikki back.  She is a real trooper.  You can see in one scene of the video where she is riding holding her arm gingerly.  Her shoulder might be hurt, but her legs aren’t!  Having her there — along with Arthur and Bob — was a major help in keeping each persons’ work load to a minimum.

Well, off to find some breakfast.  I’ll just finish by reporting that the experience is certainly different that last year, but both times are turning out to be just as enjoyable in different ways.  It’s going to be a good week.


What a first day.  I’ll have to make this one short because we have to be loaded soon to head to our next transition area.  Got to sleep at 1:30 AM and had to roll out of the bed at 7 AM.  Now, it is time to get day two underway.

We left shortly before 3 PM on Sunday.  The entire crew rode out together for about three miles.  I thought that the Green Team would then continue for another three hours.  However, I was going off an old rotation sheet (the one I used for yesterday’s blog).  Turns out we were going to drive ahead to Seneca and wait for the Polka Dot Team.  We would be doing our first leg from 6 PM to 9 PM.

However, before we could even get the first three miles done, Jerry Page had a front flat.  The mechanics got it switched out pretty fast and it was a good practice.  Before long we were all back together and then at the final launching area.

We had an awesome transition.  It all went perfectly.  Well, all except that Jerry unfortunately had his hand on the door jam of the van when Betsy, our support member, closed it.  Hmmmmmm, it is going to be black and blue!

The ride itself was hard!  They had us going from Seneca, SC to Hiawassee, GA.  Don’t know if you have ever been on that route before, but it is a load of climbing!  We were supposed to cover it all in three hours!

The first thirty minutes we were averaging 16 mph.  Then we hit the hard stuff.  Our average started to drop and we struggled up the climbs.  I’m sure there were some times of downhill, but I don’t remember many of them.  It just seemed like it was up, uP, UP!

At 10 miles in we had to pull over to clear the road for traffic that had backed up behind us.  I pulled into a parking lot that looked to be a cheap asphalt.  As I came in I realized it was gravel.  I instinctively adjusted the weight on the bike, but did not instinctively call out that I was transitioning to the new surface.

The next thing that I heard was a commotion behind me.  Nikki had come off the road and slipped on the gravel going down very hard on her left shoulder.  Megan turned quickly to avoid her and went down as well.  I felt awful.  I’m sure had I warned them she could have been better prepared.

It was bad enough that Nikki had to get in the bus and finish the ride there.  We pressed on with our average continually dropping.  To add insult to injury, the temperature was in the low to mid 30s.  It was only three hours, but it was worse than any ride I did during the Austin trip last year.

Ultimately, we had to let the bus go about three miles from our finish.  They had to go meet up with the next team.  Still, considering all that we dealt with, I was very pleased with the effort of the team.

Today, we’ll be meeting our transition at noon.  We’ve got to get things packed up, get some breakfast, and then get going.  Supposed to be 54 degrees and sunny when we start.  It should be a good six hours for us as the high is to reach 64 degrees.

Well, I have to stop.  I’m running up against the deadline to get my bags down to the van.  Hopefully, we’ll have some more down time after this next shift.  If I can remember anything more about the first segment, I’ll report it then.

Packing for an epic ride

Okay, so maybe “epic” is a little too strong of a word, but it probably was the one that got you to the blog.  Still, compared to most of my other rides during the year the 1400 mile trip from Greenville, SC to Austin, TX rates pretty high on the “don’t do this every day” scale.  Whatever the case, for posterity I’m listing my packing list for the ride.  Maybe next year it will be yours!

Bicycle – the Giant TCR Advanced is ready to roll.  Got my wheels all true, good chain, new cassette, and a tune up about a week ago.  This part of the ride I’m confident about.

Bicycle gear – shoes, helmet, and gloves (fingerless, fingered, and winter) are a must.  A pair of shades with several lenses for different lighting conditions.  I’m also taking a spare pair for quick transition if needed or if one gets broken.

Cycling clothing – two pairs of bibs, two P3C3 jerseys, one POA Cycling Team kit, one rain jacket, one P3C3 wind vest, one winter jacket (one of our rides has a projected temperature in the 30s!), several under layer shirts, arm warmers, leg warmers, several pairs of socks of differing thickness, shoe covers, head covering (cycling hats and cold weather protection), and LiveSTRONG wrist band.

Bicycle accessories – Garmin 705 (got to record those TSS points!), Blackburn Flea front and rear lights, Mini-Newt front light, won’t carry a bag because of the support following.

Food/hydration – three water bottles, Cytomax powder and maltodextrin powder for creating “meal bottles”.  Any other food will come from the support.  I’ll prep two meal bottles before each ride and then add a water.  One water for each meal bottle and then some extra water.  I’ll be able to replenish both from the support bus.

Miscellaneous support items – two D sized batteries and chargers for Flea, plug in chargers for Newt and Garmin 705, and towel for changing.

Memory stuff – VHoldR helmet cam and accessories, iPhone (for pictures, video, etc.) and accessories, laptop, and necessary cables, etc.

Other accessory stuff – power converter for van, multi-plug wall socket adapter (for hotel), and iPod.

Clothing – got to have my underwear and socks, several t-shirts, two pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts, polo shirt, light jacket, LiveSTRONG pullover, couple of hats, Crocs and pair of normal shoes, mesh bag for dirty clothes, toiletries.

Things I almost forgot! – sun block, chamois cream, wet wipes…

Believe it or not, all of this will fit in a small duffle and my HincapieSports Pro Pac.  The only other storage I will need is my computer bag.  Cycling gear is quite compact.

Well, it is 10 AM Saturday morning as I finish this post.  Now I’ve got to start putting it all together.  Then I’ll need to start focusing on getting some things done that I have to finish before I can leave.  It is going to be a busy, busy day, but it will be worth it when I can roll off tomorrow knowing I haven’t left anyone in a bind.

Let’s go!

Bye, bye, $5000

I try to live a balanced life.  As a Christian I also try to follow the Biblical command to “be anxious for nothing… let your requests be made known to God.”  However, Christians aren’t perfect… I’m certainly not!  So I have to admit I was starting to get pretty anxious the last couple of days.  Once again though, God showed He is perfect in my weakness.

Fund raising is not my strength!  I’m one of those people who would much rather work to earn the money than to ask other people for it.  You might think that is admirable, but I think it is a weakness.  My pride that made me uncomfortable asking people to give to my Ride For Mike, robbed people of the opportunity to participate.

I’m thankful to announce that the goal of $5000 has been reached — and surpassed.  The amount we have been able to give to the Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride has reached $6430!  Much of that was through one gift that came in yesterday, but once that one came in several others followed.

Yes, I was anxious Wednesday morning.  Like most everyone else, things are tight for the Pait household now days.  I was committed to making sure that the $5000 goal would be reached, but I honestly wasn’t sure where in my wallet it was going to come from.

I finally gave in.  I told God that He was in control of this and if it was going to cost me then it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.  If He was not going to choose to supply on the front end, then I would trust Him to take care of me going forward.  I guess you could say I was resigned without much faith!

“Oh, me of little faith.”  God took my weak, mustard seed sized faith and once again reminded me of who He is.  I’m sure my agnostic and atheist friends will say it is just coincidence.  That is fine.  However, I don’t believe things just happen.  I also believe in a personal, great, and good God.  It just so happens that so often He uses people to do His work — He gives them an opportunity to participate in and enjoy His acts of mercy and grace.

I’m not apologizing for the sermon on a cycling site. 🙂  I would be wrong not to express my thanks to God and to those who He moved to take part in this project.  Thank you to all of you.


As the days pass and the Palmetto Peloton Project’s Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride gets closer, I can feel the momentum building within the team – and within me.  I can tell that the ride is starting to have the correct effect on me because of my maturing view of the ride.  This year’s event will be more meaningful than ever.

Last year I did have a desire to remember my friend Mike.  It was the first thing that moved me to attempt the ride.  However, another driving factor was simply the epic nature of the ride.  It was another one of those things that I could do to push myself on the bicycle.  It was another “notch in my belt”, so to speak.

This year as I draw near to the event, my mind spends much less time thinking about the actual riding and more than on the people for whom we are doing it.  This has been even more gripping in that we have lost two of our warriors within recent days.  It makes the ride seem so much more urgent.

The funny thing is that I almost feel as though somehow reaching Austin will bring an end to cancer.  It is as though we need to get on the road and make it to the finish line before someone else has to face the pain.  Of course, that isn’t how it works.  Yet, that is the spirit with which I find myself approaching these long hours in the saddle.

The desire to ride is driven by the hope that the money raised will be one of many drops in a bucket that will overflow and see a quenching of the fire – or at least a portion of the fire called cancer.  The more I think of that possibility, the more excited I become about the ride.  The more plans I finalize, the more I recall the awesome experience of lining up for the LiveSTRONG Challenge ride with so many survivors and warriors surrounding us.

I will remember those warriors we hoped would be with us and those who will.  One of those who will not be there was featured in a recent article in the Anderson Independent Mail.  I believe the article captured the spirit of our ride well.

— Cyclists participating in the Challenge to Conquer Cancer relay will honor a late Anderson man by taking his bike along with them on a trip to raise money for cancer research.

Scott Shuey, who died of lymphoma on Oct. 5, was a physical therapist for Shuey Physical Therapy in Anderson. His wife, Kim, said he had been looking forward to participating in the second annual relay, which begins on Oct. 18 and is sponsored by the Palmetto Peloton Project in Greenville.

Kim Shuey said her husband’s lymphoma was diagnosed on Sept. 11, 2008. She said that thinking about the gesture to take his bike along brings her to tears.  Read More…

Here is the update on my fundraising.  I am now up to $2100!  I am so appreciative of those who have given — especially Lora McCaskill, the wife and best friend of my buddy Mike.  I’m not only riding for him.  I’m riding for her and little Grace.

Here’s hoping this ride as it begins and finishes will be part of the momentum to a new phase of success in fighting this disease.

Getting ready for the big one

It hit me this morning as I was getting ready for the day that this time next week, I will be somewhere on the road between here and Austin, Texas.  I’ll be honest, my mind is aware of it, but it has not yet become a reality.  It seems that the hardest thing about this trip is getting ready for it!

A trip like this takes a lot.  There is the money, of course.  There is a lot more involved as well.  Consider that the people taking this trip are all having to take time off from their normal activities to participate.  For those employeed by someone else it means they will be giving up vacation time.  For the self-employed, it means they will give up opportunities.

That is where my mind is right now.  I’ve got so much to get done before I can leave with a good conscience.  I’m trying to squeeze in meetings in every nook and cranny.  On top of that I’ve got some projects I’ve got to get to certain benchmarks before I can hop on my bike.  It’s leading to some late nights and NO riding.

If I can tie up these loose ends and have my email box somewhat under control before I leave, it is going to be a great week!  That is my goal, to throw my leg over that bike and roll out having left things in good shape for my family and those depending on me.  The worse thing would be to have something hanging over my head for me to mull on during the long hours on the bike.  I’d rather be thinking ahead and planning for the future.

What does it take logistically for someone to make a trip like this?  Well, I’ve earmarked Saturday as my day to pull all of that together.  However, over the next couple of days I’ll list out some of the things that we are doing to make sure the trip goes smoothly.  You never know, you might need to know this stuff because you may join the Palmetto Peloton Project’s Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride in 2010.

By the way, I’ve now crossed the $2000 mark.  I had hoped to raise more than this from outside sources, but I am thankful to those who have given to my RideForMike.com and especially to the Wall of Love.  Friday I’ll make up the difference on any that is left.  Thank you for joining with me.

Next stop… the Land of Lance

It is October 1st.  That means only 17 days remain before I leave on the Palmetto Peloton Project’s Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride from Greenville, South Carolina – “The Hills of Hincapie” – to Austin, Texas – “The Land of Lance.”  Honestly, I haven’t been that excited about it… until now.

I’m putting the fund raising portion behind me.  I certainly welcome any gifts people wish to give (donate here signifying “Jonathan Pait” as your designated rider), but I set this day as my deadline.  I won’t be bugging you about it anymore.  However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be hearing about the ride!

The attention of this blog will start turning toward this epic ride.  I’m sure it will be the focus of this entire month.  Over the next few weeks, I will be recalling some of the experiences of last year’s ride and talking about my plans and hopes for the 2009 event.

This year we have five teams.  I’m on the Green Team.  It includes Jerry Page, Bo Zimmerman, Megan Snyder, and myself.  We’re going to have a fun time, but I sure will miss Team One from last year.  Joey Sullivan and I are the only returning members of that cast.  Joey will be joining the Yellow Team this time around.

This year my main hopes are for safety and that our team will get along well together – both as individuals and riders.  After that, I’m aiming to enjoy the time in Austin as the Beautiful Redhead will be joining me there this year.  Finally, I hope I’ll once again get to ride with Lance like I was able to do during last year’s LiveSTRONG Challenge 90 mile ride.

This is the last day I’ll ask you
to help me raise $5000.
$1355 raised so far to fight cancer.
Give to the fight today!

Riding for Mike and more

Cancer wasn’t something that touched my life very specifically growing up.  For the most part, my extended family was free of the disease.  None of my immediate family members had to face it.  It was something that happened to people farther outside my sphere of relationships.

Then, in 2006 that changed.  My friend, Mike McCaskill – who was a decade younger than I, was diagnosed with a brain cancer.  My bubble of immunity was shattered.

Mike’s friends joined in the battle with him.  My part was to determine to engage in a charity ride in his honor.  My plan was to raise money for the fight and then present him with a special jersey I had made.  It was my hope to be an encouragement and do something substantive at the same time.

I never had a chance to present the jersey.  Mike died before I participated in the 2007 ride.  My participation in that Palmetto Peloton Project ride was in Mike’s memory – not to honor his continuing fight.

It was at that time I determined to attempt a significant charity ride in memory of Mike each year.  That led me to participate in the first ever Palmetto Peloton Project Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride in 2008.  It was my way to keep Mike’s memory alive and keep me motivated to be aware of others who are fighting against this killer called cancer.

Since that time, I have come upon many other friends – and now extended family members – who have been pulled into this fight they did not choose.  My fund raising alone  probably has done very little to help them.  However, participating in the Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride has changed forever the way I see cancer and those fighting it.

My short ride across the country is an insufficient way to show my love and concern for those friends and family members facing these battles – or living each day supporting a warrior or missing a loved one whose battle has ended.  I ride for Mike… and so much more.  www.rideformike.com

3 days left to help me raise $5000.
$1185 raised so far to fight cancer.
Give to my fight today!

Hey, Mr. Spandex Man!

Last night I met for our last formal meeting before the Palmetto Peloton Project’s Challenge to Conquer Cancer teams head out on October 18 to ride from Greenville, South Carolina to Austin, Texas where we will participate in the LiveSTRONG Challenge there.  It was a good meeting and I’m starting to feel a bit more excitement about the trip.  It brought back some good memories of last year… I’m ready to make some more.

Ron (our fearless organizer) handed me my jerseys that I will be wearing during the ride.  A couple of t-shirts were included along with some arm warmers and a windbreaker vest.  Laying it all out on my bed brought a radio show I heard recently to my mind.

It was a conversation between some morning show guys about cyclists.  They were mentioning the normal complaints about cyclists.  Then they started going off on cyclists about what we wear.

Their impression is that we wear our spandex outfits because we want people to see how “fit” we are.  In their words, “Okay, I get it.  You’re more in shape than I am.  But why do you have to wear all that spandex? Why can’t you just wear regular clothes?  You don’t have to look like a racer.”

5 days left to help me raise $5000.
$1135 raised so far to fight cancer.
Give to my fight today!

Well, for those of you who do not ride – or only ride on your cruiser, etc., let me explain to you why we wear what we wear.  We’ll start with the shorts.  We don’t wear them to show off our legs.  At least I don’t!  Here are some of the main purposes behind them.

1) The most important part of the shorts is the chammie.  This is a pad made into the shorts that protects your more sensitive areas.  Unlike your typical shorts, there are no seams in that area.  Riding in typical shorts would be extremely uncomfortable on a road bike!  Chaffing, loss of circulation, and blisters would be the result of “wearing regular clothes.”

2) I mentioned there are no seams on the shorts.  Actually, there are, but they are strategically placed so as not to cut into your skin or rub in areas that have lots of movement.  The compression aspect of the spandex also helps with circulation.

3) We don’t like to think of crashing, but it does happen.  It is more likely to happen with racers, but recreational cyclists are not immune to a fall here or there.  Cycling gear helps protect the skin by serving as a second skin as you are sliding across the pavement.  Regular shorts would just slide up exposing more raw flesh for destruction!

What about those jerseys?  Well, for a recreational cyclist it is true a cycling jersey would not be as needful as the shorts, but there are a couple good reasons for them that I would like to mention.  Also, many times they have another sentimental purpose as well.

1) Most cycling jerseys are cut specifically for the positions you hold while riding a road bike.  They are also form fitting.  Go 20 mph down a road with a loose t-shirt on and you will find that doing so for any amount of time will start to beat you up.  The flapping can become quite uncomfortable.  Not to mention the chaffing in some sensitive chest areas!

2) One of the main reasons I use a cycling jersey is for the pockets.  One of the down sides to the shorts is they don’t have pockets — not that you would want something heavy knocking around on your legs while you ride!  A good cycling jersey will have three expandable pockets on the back lower portion.  It is amazing how much you can stuff in there!

3) Many times cycling jerseys represent something important to the rider.  Take my P3C3 jersey that I received last night.  It represents something important to me.  I also treasure my Assault on Mount Mitchell jersey and some of the charity ride jerseys I have.  You probably have that favorite t-shirt.  Well, cyclist often have that jersey.

It is true that some of us ride around in true racing kits.  These are normally outfits where the shorts and jerseys match with logos of sponsors all over them.  I wear my POA Cycling Team kit – or uniform – every time I am on the bike.  It isn’t because I am trying to show off that I am a big time racer either.

Most teams have rules that you are supposed to wear the kit while on the bike.  This is for the purpose of honoring the arrangement with the sponsors who help us enjoy our habit.  Sure, we’re rolling billboards, but it is worth it as a way to show thanks to those supporting us — especially when our kits are as cool as the POA Cycling Team ones!

What can get kind of messy is when you have two competing purposes.  Until the final race of the year, I’m wearing the POA kit… even when doing P3C3 events.  Then when I’m done, I’ll shift over to the P3C3 jersey.  Once I’m back from Austin… I don’t know… maybe I’ll get one of those black and yellow LiveSTRONG kits.

6 more days to reach our goal

No article for today. Just another request asking for your help as I seek to raise $5000 for the Palmetto Peloton Project’s Cancer to Conquer Cancer ride from Greenville, South Carolina to Austin, Texas. It is all a part of the LiveSTRONG Challenge. Thank you to Michael Reem who gave to the project just yesterday.

I only have six more days before my October 1st deadline.  Got a good amount yet to go!  Your help would be greatly appreciated.  It is very easy.  Just go to the donation page and choose “Jonathan Pait” from the rider list.

6 days left to help me raise $5000.
$1135 raised so far to fight cancer.
Give to my fight today!

I’m not sure if I can adequately express how much I would appreciate your support. Of course, I’m committed to meeting the goal regardless. The ride will go on.