the last day

we went to bed excited with the prospect of finishing, it has been a long trip. lincoln was ready to go as usual, the rest of us were hearding cats. the morning was perfect, we even had a tailwind. we all drove out to the start, everything was ready, the last of sunblock applied and link and maria braced me up for the last time. wayne our leader for the last few days made a route adjustment and with a 2 motorcycle police escort we began rolling. the pace was easy, single file, i spoke with my friends paul, peter and margaret as they took turns behind me. we made a left at a1a and began the last 5 miles to the finish in the state park.
the police escort was great as we sailed through intersections, as we got closer, i rode as hard as i could.
it was as free as i have felt in a long time. we sailed into the parking lot, i saw our rv, my dad, my in laws and complete strangers supporting our group. my friend paul pushed me up the sand to where tents were set up and we celebrated the challenge. it was over.
there are many people to thank but i start with my wife who without her support i never would have been able to do the challenge. maria who watched me like her own child as we hit so many issues. lincoln baker who never meet a problem he couldn’t solve. he always had my back, he is one of the worlds greatest wingman. i am lucky to have him lead our team. my thanks to you all for following us and supporting the RIC.
be well,

only 21 miles to go!

what a great day! hot and sunny for sure but a few surprise riders, kevin mcguire, greg robitie landed this morning and caught us. last nght scott rosen and mike mikinney jumped in.
we lost casey, jim and howard this morning, great having them.
the morning part of the ride was mainly bike path, 17 miles of wide open pavement, we covered 27 miles before lunch under the shade. the afternoon wa hot and we were exposed to the sun, no shade, it was taking a toll. my foot was killing me so we pulled the plug at 47 miles. again my sincere thanks to wayne for his leading our group.
we got to our hotel and a number of early riders were back to help us finish, the beer was flowing.
should be last day of riding, but our challenge and support of the RIC continue, thank you.
be well,

two days in florida almost done

yesterday was a great day, we had the bonnel’s riding point and putting pressure for a big mileage day. our weather has changed, for the hot and sunny from the massive rain storms of debbie. we were lucky that our route has not been disrupted, many roads in the area are closed. the bonnel’s kept the path clear and we rolled to 52 miles. the highlight of the day was coming to the hotel and seeing a group of Chicago friends and my wife Margaret and son barrett, it was an awesome surprise.

Luke and Steph ready to ride!

Another hot morning greeted us and we lost tom in the morning and the bonnel’s miday. we had the great pleasure of connecting with a young 5 year old named luke who has a spinal cord injury, he has learned to ride a bike and wanted to ride his trike with us, we rolled together for a block, he is my inspiration.

wayne from the local gainesville cycling club lead us today, it was great to have his local knowledge as we did have a road closed and were forced to detour. the issue today was heat but everyone stayed hydrated and we pushed another 50. we stand with 65 left, it appears to be a sunday finish, weather looks solid.
thank you for your support of the RIC.

be well,

2 days under our belt

yesterday morning we sat in lobby of hotel with the guys from the weather channel, it was ugly. we were going to get a late start given the conditions, but we were not sure what roads were passable. there was a break on radar in the area we wanted to go, so we loaded up and headed out. we unloaded and started out in a downpour. a couple of new riders were in, john bailey and alain leque, friends from college. the headwinds and hills were still rough but the rain was letting up and we had lunch outside. we finished the day on a 16 mile bike path which was really cool. we picked up ed chestnut along the way as well as tom gorman, an old ski buddy, tim shannon joined us for dinner.
today was as close to perfect as we have had, cool, sunny, flat, good shoulder. we lost john and alain at breakfast, greg and ed late afternoon and don early evening. we were joined by mike mercuri, his buddy marchak and their sons, they helped us finish off the day, 51 miles done.
my foot is issue but we change the dressing regularly, we have another sore brewing and we are padding and sending photos back to RIC. hope this old body hangs in there.
i am guessing 165 miles to go, could push and be done sat. but have not had a rest day in weeks, going to be sun. or mon. assuming all hangs in.
thank you for supporting our challange and the RIC.
be well,

debbie kicking our butt

it was mead, my friend scott bondurant who joined us for the day and i starting out. what a day 8 inches of rain and sustained 25 mph headwinds, it came down in sheets, we could hardly see at times, add hills that were as steep as we have seen since san diego and that was just the morning. the afternoon brought a time change to eastern time, darker skies, and more of the same weather. we were joined by don miller and greg van schaack, they had dressed for he weather and jumped right in. the good news is rain and wind kept temp. down.
the storm was right on us and thunder and tornado warning brought us in at 36 miles. the storm is slow moving, going to be more of the same tomorrow.
we are inching to the end, my foot pressure sore opened, we took pictures and have talked to md, we will know more in am, keeping it dry.
be well,

tropical storm debbie

we lost rob and andy to early flights, said goodbye to ron,wade,jeff,jon and leslie as we borded the rv and miday lost the schoders group and kristen.
it was mead and i with debbie and she was a bitch…….nonstop rain and 25 mile an hour headwinds, we pressed and pressed knocked out a tough 50.
i am clearly having an infection issue with my foot and that could slow us down. my best guess is tuesday finish but do not hold me to it.
more of same tomorrow, party with debbie.
be well,

2 day review

time is flying, yesterday was a really late start as we spent the morning sending photo’s of injured foot back to RIC for their guidence, the way to treat an infected pressure sore on foot iso stay off it completely and put no pressure on it.
so we slice up 3 pairs of shoes until we got the hole right, redrilled the cleat for my shoe into the heal, wrapped it up and put it into the shoe, hurt like hell, but can pedal. drove to where we finished and kept going. we were joined in the afternoon by friends from home, ron schutz, mead montgomery and wade Fetzer, it was hot and windy but we managed 27 miles. we say goodbye to jim and beth myhnier, a great help. my friend rob schorder, his sons scott and michael joined by charlie palmer as well as good friend from RIC kristen and buddy rob brock arrived that night.
we were a big group but lincoln had everyone ready to go in minutes. the morning was nice, good pavement but strong headwinds, we made fare time and were met on the road by andrew flynn in from chicago after overnight delay in charlotte. great to have everyone together, jeff riding point which is really group leader and jon riding the newly created position of scout.
we broke for lunch as the heavens opened, lincoln had lunch and chairs under the tent in seconds. as we rode off into the rain, two things happened, andy found an ipad on the side of the road, tracked down the owner and they were able to pick it up. we were also met on the road by jerry sanford who leads a bike club east of houston. we met jerry a few weeks ago when he graciously hosted us for dinner. it was a pleasure to meet his wide and daughter as well.
we rolled a solid 52 miles.
be well,

Forest Gump by Colin Hall

At lunch along the 190 East trail a car stopped and a very nice lady approached our group.  She had seen a news story about Steph on the local TV station and wanted to come meet Steph.

She spoke to Mark and the group for about 15 minutes.  She explained that she has a special needs child who is 23 years old.  She asked Mark to stop at the nearby town of Elton to meet the Mayor, enjoy some refreshments and speak to her son.  Of course Mark obliged.

After she left the group, we were all sitting around amazed at the impact Mark has made on strangers along the route.  Mark sensed our contemplations and quipped “I am Forest Frickin’ Gump.”

No Mark… allow me to publicly correct you.  You are Mark Frickin’ Stephan!

A little bit of everything

Started this morning with clear sky’s, the same headwind but we we hoping for a long mileage day. We got through downtown Pensacola with Mike’s expert navigation. The day was heating up but the cooling breeze of the ocean made it seem cooler. Just outside Pensacola is Pensacola bluffs a very steep rolling area, it was brutal, just when you thought it was going to be flat, it slaps you in face. We broke for lunch and were joined by my good friend peter heck. We did one more set of rollers, hit a flat busy street and rolled up some miles. We had a great bike path at end of day, called it at 530 with 50 miles down. The ride was very painful for me, my foot was killing me. To make a long story short it was back to the ER for an iv of antibiotics and pain meds. The foot has an infected pressure sore. It has not broken skin but is delicate. The ER people were very nice I have drugs to get in morning and we will push on. My friends Jon Lewin and Jeff Willian are in and I said goodbye to lead navigator. Mike Kerr.
Going to be late start tomorrow!
Be well,


florida! here we are

left the hotel a little later this morning, mike, tom, louise and i pushed off from where the ferry had dropped us in fort morgan al. the morning started tough with a stiff headwind, the scenary was great, but we were not getting far. after lunch things got worse…… of the only things that can shut us down happened, my leg brace broke, we had a spare but a stripped screw made it ineffective. we do what we do on this trip, we let lincoln figure out a way to couble one brace from the two. we know have a frankinbike and a frankinbrace, but wear and tear is starting to show on our equipment and our bodies, we need to hang on.
the afternoon brought cooler temps and lighter winds, we had a bike lane and sailed into florida, we put in 40 miles and are 16 miles out of pensacola. we say goodbye to the flickenger’s but my friends the myniers arrived to join mike to get me another leg.
thank you for keeping an eye on us and for supporting the RIC.
be well,