Miles: 73.75 Today / 1032.97 Total
Elevation Gain: 502 ft. Today / 9135 ft. Total
Another day, another disaster. We left St. Augustine, FL with 8 riders and 4 volunteer ride leaders from Bike the US for MS (BTUSFMS). As of today, we are now down to 6 riders. More about that later.
I was able to snap photos of the barn and other facilities where we stayed last last night, before leaving this morning. Only 3 of us slept in the barn—the rest set up tents in the grass. I’m by no means a whimp, but there’s still dew on the grass here in the mornings, so I’ll sleep indoors any time I can, so I don’t have to deal with a wet tent.
Once I’d done all my morning chores and was on the road, today’s ride just felt like a nice long bike ride. It was cool out—about 68-70 degrees, and we either had light cloud cover or were shaded by the trees that lined the roads we rode on. Spending most of our time off of US Highway 17, which is busy, with a rumble strip and a sliver of a shoulder, we did the majority of our riding on low traffic roads that looped away from the highway. We passed through Francis Marion National Forest, crossed over numerous rivers and creeks, and toward the end some large stately de plantations.
Shortly after our first rest stop, I rode up on a group of our riders assembled on the other side of the road. One guy was sitting off the road and leaning against a ground mounted sign. He and the guy he has been riding with were stopping, but this guy’s pedals have been hard to get out of, and on this stop, he was unable to unclip his right shoe from the pedal. So he and the bike went down onto the roadway. He got his foot out of his shoe, but was never able to get the shoe off the pedal. He had road rash on his right elbow, but the bigger problem was that his right hip was killing him, and he couldn’t put any weight on that leg. Including the injured rider, there were 5 of us there, 2 of whom were ride leaders, so I told the guy I would pray for him and rode off.
The ride leaders summoned the rider support van that staffs our rest areas, and about 20 minutes later, it passed me on its way to pick this guy up. When I got to our second rest stop, a Circle K store parking lot, he was draped across the second row bench seat of the van and wasn’t planning on moving. I was the only Mom on the scene, at that point, and noticed that he hadn’t eaten anything and had a bloody elbow. After buying him some strawberry milk and a hot dog, I got the ride leader to put some bandages on his elbow so it wouldn’t get infected or stick to the van seat.
All of us riders rode on and left him with the rider support vehicle driver, who drove him up the route to the Wayne United Methodist Church where we were staying for the night. At the church, they called the paramedics who showed up with a fire truck. He was taken to the local hospital in an ambulance, and a couple of hours later, we got the word on his condition. He has a broken femur neck and will be having surgery in the morning. The ride is over for him, and his wife is flying out tomorrow to take him home, once he can fly.
I didn’t mention this last week, when it happened, but another rider went home last week. He was a really great guy who rode the Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine with BTUSFMS last year. Sadly, this year he was having two or more big medical problems that made it impossible for him to continue riding. He lives on the East Coast, so his wife drove down to pick him up. They have a granddaughter who graduates this year from Perry High School in Gilbert, so I’m hoping to see them on the one day I’m home in May.
It’s sad to lose these guys from our team! Both of them put so much into training for the ride, preparing their gear, and the fund raising required to participate. More that that, they are A+++ people, and we will miss them.
Didn’t I just say Never a dull moment a day or two ago?
I know I’m all over the place, here, but I wanted to throw in that the store manager of the Circle K where we ate lunch chased me down to give me a $20 donation. What a nice lady! Donations big and small are appreciated.
The members of the Wayne United Methodist Church made us a huge taco salad dinner and brought in a strawberry cake made by a local baker. So good! We are really enjoying the hospitality we receive from the members of the churches who host us.