4K for Cancer rides through Richmond

 

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com It's a lot of work, but cycling 4,000 miles across the country is also more than a little fun.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
It’s a lot of work, but cycling 4,000 miles across the country is also more than a little fun.

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

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ROCKINGHAM — In the world of running, 4K usually means 4 kilometers, or about 2.5 miles.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Pastor Matt Seals (in red), of Pee Dee United Methodist Church, stands in a circle with 4K for Cancer cyclists early Wednesday morning for dedication and prayer.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Pastor Matt Seals (in red), of Pee Dee United Methodist Church, stands in a circle with 4K for Cancer cyclists early Wednesday morning for dedication and prayer.

In cycling, 4K means a whole lot more than that. Around 6:45 Wednesday morning, two dozen cyclists with 4K for Cancer left Pee Dee United Methodist Church in Rockingham and headed west to Wadesboro and points west. The day’s destination: Gastonia, a 101-mile trip that will put the group of 20-somethings in San Diego, Calif., on Aug. 9.

The 13th annual 4K for Cancer is a cross-country bike ride from Baltimore, Md., to San Diego. The southern route takes cyclists south of the Smokey Mountains through the Rockies, then across Oklahoma and Texas and finally into San Diego. Cyclists left the Queen City on June 1 and arrived in Richmond County via Hoffman Tuesday evening with a police escort. The group’s host for the evening was Pastor Matt Seals and volunteers with Pee Dee UMC. They banded together to help prepare evening and morning meals, a place to sleep and coordinate shower facilities with administrators at Richmond Senior High School.

The 70-day ride has cyclists, supported by two 15-passenger vans with extra food, water and equipment, averaging between 60 and 100 miles a day depending on terrain. And weather. Team captain Eric Knapp said the humidity for most of the riders, who live in the Northeast part of the United States, took its toll on the group Tuesday. Water stops scheduled for every 15 miles or so became more frequent as the humidity descended onto each athlete and settled into their chests, making it that much more difficult to breathe.

Knapp said cyclists had to work that much harder to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes. It was, Knapp said, “pretty intense.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The first challenge of the day for cyclists was the hill leaving Pee Dee United Methodist Church onto Lee Street and then McNair Road.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The first challenge of the day for cyclists was the hill leaving Pee Dee United Methodist Church onto Lee Street and then McNair Road.

Ultimately, though, the weather is irrelevant and group members must work to push through any unanticipated obstacles.

“At the end of the day, we remember why we’re out here,” Knapp said of a group of individuals who first met June 1 in order to try and raise funds to fight cancer.

It’s the second year for this, the group’s most southern route, and the first time in Richmond County. Knapp said with the southern hospitality experienced at Richmond Senior High School and Pee Dee United Methodist Church — in addition to a swim at the Browder Park pool — he hopes it won’t be the last.

Pee Dee UMC volunteers Tuesday night included Mark Reeves, Nancy Cauthen, Wilbert and Carol Gibson, Mitchell and Pat Steele, Wayne and Tina Powell, Trey Powell, Hannah Leviner, Ronnie Wallace, Leslie Seals and Jennifer Powell.

The breakfast crew at Pee Dee UMC included Wilbert Gibson, Carlton Hawkins, Art and Ina Beardsley and Jerry Patrick. Mary Griffth, of First Rockingham United Methodist Church, drove the church bus to transport the athletes to Richmond Senior for showers and back to Pee Dee UMC.

Knapp said the cyclists look each day for a place to park their bikes and have “a roof over our heads.” Shower facilities and food is a bonus.

“We don’t have any expectations,” Knapp said of host groups.

Pastor Matt Seals, of Pee Dee United Methodist Church, said local entities, including the school system and local businesses, were generous in supporting the cyclists. Cold water was donated to the cyclists as they got turnaround around Camp Mackall, helping to put a positive spin to the end of a very warm day.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com A cyclist finds motivation from within, but also from sharing a positive attitude with spectators who, in turn, cheer the riders on towards their final destination.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
A cyclist finds motivation from within, but also from sharing a positive attitude with spectators who, in turn, cheer the riders on towards their final destination.

Seals said the church served as one of several planned mail drops for team members. Family members and team supporters sent packages containing notes, goodies and equipment.

“The first thing they did was rip into the mail,” Seals said.

Afterward, church members prepared a spaghetti dinner for riders bedded down for the night.

As the sun rose, riders checked their gear and prepared their bikes for the day’s ride, then stood in a circle, held hands and dedicated the upcoming miles to a loved one — grandma, grandpa, a sister, a brother-in-law or even a stranger who had succumbed to cancer.

“If they were here, they would definitely push me the whole 100 miles,” said one rider of the person to whom she honored the day’s ride.

Cyclists were escorted Wednesday morning by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies as they headed towards the Pee Dee River and the Anson/Richmond border.

 

 

 

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors

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  • Norma Garris

    Great coverage of the 4K for Cancer project!!
    Y’all are doing an excellent job!!

  • Pingback: Day 11 – Century | Tyler Stocksdale's 4K Ride()

  • http://gethealthywithcinda.com Cinda

    Great coverage of an awesome event, Kevin!

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