Archive for October, 2009

Kathy Scourby – October 5, 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009
Day 1 – 112 miles.
 
What a long day, but what a great day!!  We started our ride this morning in the pitch black at about 6:45.  I was nervous leaving out of the hotel in the dark, but we were surrounded by the flashing red and blue lights of our state troopers and all the blinking lights on our 82 bikes.  It was a grey day with overcast skies and very cool most of the day, but it did not rain.  Actually, perfect riding weather.  For the first half of the ride, as we were heading south from Johnson City to Knoxville (Maryville), we had great views of the the Appalachian mountain range.surrounded by low hanging clouds – very picturesque.  I did my best to get some pictures (not easy to do while riding a bike).  For most of the day, my riding buddies were Scott (my best riding buddy from last year), Anthony, Rebekah and Betsy.   We kept each other going through the long miles, especially as I started hitting the wall at about mile 92.  Like last year, I marvel at how all the riders bond with each other and work together to help each other through the long miles. 
 
Once we got off the main roads this morning, we hit the back roads and all the little towns.  One of my favorites was Greeneville, a typical small TN town with a town square and lots of old Victorian houses.  Even though it is only October 5th, there were so many Halloween decorations out already and we must have seen four or five signs for Haunted Houses!!   We rode by many farms, rolling green fields, old gas stations with the old signs and churches.  My favorite church sign was for a church called the “Church of Perilous Times Ministry”.  My small group only encountered one dog who ran in the road in front of us, but no wrecks.
 
Once again, our THP (state troopers) were wonderful.  They stopped the traffic in the intersections so we could ride through, they kept the traffic away from us as much as possible and tried in every way to make our riding easier for us.  They are a great group of guys and even stopped a drunk driver this morning and prevented him from coming near any of us!!  We could not do this ride without their support.  They are here with us all week and part of this group.
 
Our support crew (with many of of the same folks as last year) are superb!!  They are there all along the route, cheering us on, at every rest stop to take our bikes, feed us ibuprofen and food.  Speaking of food, our food today was great. It doesn’t matter how many calories we are burning while riding, we make up for it in what we consume during the day!!
 
We rode into Maryville around 5:30 this afternoon to approximately 500 cheering people..  What an amazing site.  All the tv stations were there and we heard early in the day that our ride had been picked up by the Associated Press.  The celebration tonight just brought home why we are all riding this week…there are so many children in foster care that are looking for a family and there are many people out there looking to adopt.  Our mission is to bring awareness and make a connection with the children and families.  We are hoping to touch a lot of lives this week!!
 
We start early tomorrow at 6:45…
 

Kathy Scourby – October 6, 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009
Day 2 – 109 miles.
 
Another long but amazing day.  As I write, I am sitting on my bed icing down my legs.  Very, very sore and tired.  I think every muscle in my body hurts.  Other than feeling like if I turn my neck, my head will pop off and my calves feel like they might pop out of my legs, I have survived Day 2.
 
We left again this morning in the dark under escort from THP.  Imagine 80+ bikers riding 3 abreast on a lane of state highway at a major intersection (for those of you in Knoxville – we were by Foothills Mall on 321 and then 411) alongside of cars commuting to work.  Scary and dangerous, but we all did great!
 
Our route to Chattanooga today took us straight down Route 411 most of the way to Chattanooga.  Not the fun back roads, but long stretches of highway with rolling hills. Today was a totally different ride than yesterday.  With 112 miles under our belts and already working with sore legs, today was a day that involved pace lines, drafting and team work to get through the day.  Groups of riders worked together and helped pull each other through the long miles.  The group I rode with called ourselves the “No man left behind team”.
 
We all know that cycling can be dangerous and today was a good example why our THP friends are critical to this ride. On a long stretch of one lane road full of traffic, one of our riders went down after touching the wheel of the rider in front of him.  Other than being scraped up, he was fine, but once THP roared back down the road to where we were and stopped and directed traffic, we were ok.  We were all glad to get off that road!!  Not only did the troopers assist today, but we also had help from the local police in some of the small towns we went through.  One town in particular  really got in the spirit of things and sent their local utility trucks out to park their trucks in a major intersection in town until we all rode through.  What a great sight (wish I could have gotten a picture).
 
Probably the scariest (and admittedly, most thrilling ) was riding into the town of Cleveland.  A group  of about 6 of us rode in with two troopers trying to ride ahead and block the intersection at every traffic light in town.  Their sirens were blaring and we all felt like we were either rock stars or in a presidential motorcade!!  In Cleveland, we got to meet two families who had just finalized adoptions and the judge who presided over the adoptions in the town square.  The judge was also honored for her work in helping children find permanent homes.  What a touching sight that helped us all remember the reason we are riding and the important goal we have to bring awareness about adoption to the people we meet this week!!
 
We rode the last 10 miles into downtown Chattanooga under full police escort and were joined by the Chattanooga police bike patrol. Amazingly enough, we had overcast skies and no rain the entire day until we rode into our last celebration and then it started to pour.  By the time the celebration was over, we had 80+ people very tired, sore and very wet.  The surprise of the day was that it had been arranged for all of us to stay overnight on the Delta Queen, the riverboat on the waterfront in downtown Chattanooga.  What a great treat for all of us.
 
Since we are heading into Central time tomorrow, we get a break and don’t start till 8:30 tomorrow!!

Kathy Scourby – October 7, 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009
Day 3 – 73 miles.
 
 Chattanooga experienced a major thunderstorm during the night but we were so fortunate to wake up to blue skies and sun!! Today was our hilliest day and it was certainly full of hills!  We headed from Chattanooga to Manchester today and the route took us over several very hilly roads and then over Mont Eagle.  The climb up Mont Eagle was 3.5 miles straight up at a 6-8% grade.  Our legs were already very sore, but this just added to the muscle aches. Once we got up to the top of Mont Eagle (with those who had reached the top cheering us on as the rest of us arrived at the top) we had an approximately 20 mile ride to get to our lunch stop, that, although flat to downhill, was downright brutal in that the road was very torn up and bumpy.
 
Today’s ride was more about each our group riding individually as everyone set their own pace to climb all the hills. For many in our group, the descent down the other side of Mont Eagle was the highlight of the day with at least a two mile descent with many hairpin curves.  Our THP troopers were able to close off the descent for a period of time so that all the riders could ride down using both lanes.  For me this descent was very stressful, as I am very cautious going downhill.  My hands hurt from braking all the way down and the troopers laughed at me for being so cautious!  Once down, the rest of our ride was flat and carried us into Manchester at about four p.m. this afternoon.  We saw some beautiful scenery today…mountains, lakes, rivers, farmland, lots of soybean fields and rural farms. Manchester is a little town of about 9,000 people. For those of who know music and concerts, Manchester is famous for hosting the Bonaroo concert (a mini-Woodstock) each year.
 
Once we got to Manchester we had time for dinner and then got back on our bikes in the dark and rode under police escort to the town square for a parade honoring our arrival in town.  A band was playing and lots of families were out to see us and hear about our adoption awareness mission.  The good news is that we are close to half our goal of trying to locate 100 families interested in adopting.  All in all, a great, but very tiring and sore day.  Ice baths to ease our sore muscles and some sleep are what was needed for everyone.
 
A little information about our riders.  We are split almost 50% in terms of male/female riders and our ages range from 15 (yes, 15) to mid 60′s. In our 50+ club we have about 7-8 members, and I have the distinction (not sure whether it an honor or a curse) of being the oldest female rider on the tour.
 
We have some great photographers with us on the tour.  If you are interested in seeing some great footage of the last few days on the tour, log on to www.adoptiontour.org .
 
Tomorrow we get to sleep in and have a “short” 60 mile ride to Columbia, TN.

Kathy Scourby – October 8, 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009
Day 4 – 63 miles.
 
Today was an “easier” day for the riders – if there is such a thing as an easy ride!  We got to sleep in and did not leave till about 10 this morning.  We had a warmer day to ride with the sun coming out strong after lunch.  As we left Manchester this morning and headed out of town on the main road, many of the businesses in town had put signs in front of their businesses supporting Adoption which said “Every child deserves a forever family”.  Many of the local folks from the town were on the side of the road cheering us on.  Very cool.  Manchester was a great town!!
 
Today was a day about riding as a team again as we are all tired, sore and need help from each other to get through the long miles. The “no man left behind” team was back today as we had some good pace lines going down the roads.  At one point this afternoon, I counted 25 of us in a pace line which worked well because most of the roads we were on were flat. That also helped our THP officers as it was easier for them to protect us from the traffic if there were lots of us together than if we were all spread out over several miles.  It also gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better while we were riding.  I continue to marvel at how this group of riders has bonded together so well during the week.  We are all working together for a cause and we are all dedicated riders so we have a lot in common, but many of us were strangers to each other only 3 days ago and we are now best of friends…amazing. 
 
It is impossible to imagine how we would all survive without our support crew.  Besides being there at the rest stops to help us with our bikes, filling water bottles, providing bandaids, power bars and advil, they are also out on the roads in the support vehicles, waving and cheering us on and at every hotel handing us our room keys and making sure our bags are waiting for us in our rooms.  What a wonderful, wonderful group of people!!
 
Our lunch today was in the town of Bell Buckle, a wonderful little town of only a few hundred people.  They put on a great lunch and celebration for us!   Bell Buckle and the surrounding area that we rode through is right in the heart of horse country – Tennessee Walking Horse farms were everywhere.  Beautiful farms and ranches, lots of rolling green hills, people working in their yards on the back roads and waving to us as we rode by…all of this filled my head as we covered the miles.  We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather and scenery today!!
 
We had an early dinner tonight and socialized since it is the last night we will all be together.  We heard that we are now up to 82 families who are interested in adopting based on all of us spreading the word.  We are very close to our goal of 100.
 
Tomorrow is an early morning start as we head into Nashville and our final celebration in downtown Nashville tomorrow afternoon.  They are calling for rain and thunderstorms off and on all day, so we are prepared to get wet.

 

Kathy Scourby – October 9, 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009
Day 5 – 74 miles.
 
Today, our last day on the tour, was for me, a day of very conflicting emotions.  After such a long week, like most of us, I was ready to not have to sit on my bike seat for one more minute!  On the other hand, after having spent five days bonding with some of the greatest people ever, I was reluctant for this adventure to end. 
 
We started the day early, but at least it was daylight.  We left Columbia under full police escort and rode approximately 12 miles to our first celebration of the morning in a parking lot near a Bruster’s ice cream store.  As we neared this celebration and rode over the rise of a hill, we could see tons of people ready to welcome us and cheer us in.  With my emotions right on the edge anyway, this celebration, with local dignitaries, agency people and lots of children,  just brought home the real reason all of us (riders and support crew) have invested so much of our time and energy this week.  I spent much of my time during the 45 minutes of this celebration talking to a little girl aged 12, who reminded me so much of my own daughter at that age with blond hair and freckles.  She was with a foster family and was hoping to be adopted by the end of this month.  She was precious and I just wanted to put her on the back of my bike and bring her home with me.  She kept thanking me for riding through the state for children like her!
 
After we left the Columbia celebration, we rode to Leipers Fork, TN, the home of several country stars like Wynonna Judd, Alan Jackson and Brooks and Dunn. Beyond a doubt, these were the most beautiful roads to ride on and some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in this part of the country.  Vast rolling green hills and acres of farmland as far as you could see.  At this point in the ride, it was still sunny, but the black clouds were rolling in and we knew the rain was coming.  Today’s ride was all about pace lines again….today we called ourselves the “love train”! :)
 
At Leipers Fork, we ate lunch at Puckett’s Cafe, a legend in this little town.  The food was excellent and they seemed to have no problem catering to over 100 people!!  It was there we heard that we were under a tornado watch and as the rain started, we decided to wait it out for a while. After about 30 minutes the rain stopped so we all started out on the wet roads in three groups so the troopers could keep track of us and keep us safe.  Unfortunately, the storm started again and we ended up riding into Nashville (approximately 30 miles) in drenching rain.  Cycling under good weather conditions can be dangerous, but in rain, on wet, slick roads in traffic can be treacherous.  It took everyone’s intense focus and concentration to ride carefully, but fortunately, we all made it to Nashville safely.  The last 15 miles were under full police escort and included several other police from Nashville.  As I had remembered from last year, the ride into downtown Nashville to Bicentennial park with the police sirens blaring, the traffic stopped on the road so that we could ride through and people waving and cheering on the streets, made us all feel like rock stars!
 
We arrived at Bicentennial park to the end of our journey and the welcoming arms of family and friends (for those who live in Nashville) and a final celebration.  It was very difficult to then have to say goodbye to this wonderful group of people who, in the space of 5 days have become some of my new best friends.  Those of us who live in Knoxville got in a van and drove home, arriving home weary, bone-tired, but very proud of ourselves, especially since we heard at lunchtime that we had reached our goal of finding over 100 families who are interested in adopting a child.  What an accomplishment!!
 
The highlights of this adoption tour for me are many….but those that stand out include the visit to Jasper Elementary school on Wednesday…to see hundreds of elementary school kids screaming and cheering us in to their school was incredible.  The climb up Mont Eagle, which for all of us was an incredible accomplishment; the celebration in Columbia today and the dedication of all the riders to this cause are the ones that really stand out for me.
 
To Pam Wolf, Jesse O’Hatnick, the folks at Harmony and everyone else in charge of coordinating this Adoption Tour, I thank you and am very grateful to have been a part of this year’s tour.  To all the support crew, thank you for taking such good care of me and all the other riders.  To the THP troopers, thank you for all your hard work protecting us, keeping us safe and keeping us laughing with you all week.  To my fellow riders, I am so proud of all of us in accomplishing our goal, not only in our endurance challenge, but in achieving our adoption awareness goal.  To everyone: you all ROCK !!!