Client Spotlight: 3,225 Mile Bike Ride

It’s an amazing trek only a true cyclist could imagine: traveling across the North American continent at a distance of 100 miles a day. That is what Richmond Brothers’ client, Tom Clark, has on his to do list for the month of July. The motive for the trip: adventure. Tom said that he wants to “see new areas in North American at a pace where it doesn’t zip by and [he noted] it’s a fantastic way to travel and see all the sites.” Of course he also mentioned an additional advantage is that he and his travel buddies have also been able to meet some interesting people along the way.

Last year at this time time, Tom and his companions traveled from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and rode 2,400 miles through the Yukon Territory, British Columbia and Alberta. Today they will fly back to Edmonton, Alberta where they will stay in the same hotel they had stayed at after reaching last year’s destination. 

Saturday morning, they will begin their 3,225 mile ride to Key West, Florida. Tom anticipates this continuation of their adventure should be on paved roads, but they may run into detours, which could lengthen their trip. When they are not pedaling away, they will stay at motels. Tom noted that an advantage to this segment of the trip is better cell phone coverage than what had been available further north so that he and his companions can keep in touch with their families and friends to keep them updated.

Obviously a trek this long requires commitment and training. Tom said that he rides nearly every day – a short ride is 40 miles, but he also does 60, 90  and even 110 mile rides. He feels that the greatest challenge will be the traffic and the heat; he also mentioned that traffic had also been a concern during his first segment of the trip last year.

We are honored that Tom is allowing us to be a part of his daring experience. Make sure to “Like” our page on Facebook for updates as we follow Tom during his travels this month.

       
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25 Responses to “Client Spotlight: 3,225 Mile Bike Ride”

  1. Jan Clark says:

    Tom called this evening to say all is well. Today was day 2 of the ride, having left Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Saturday. They traveled a little over 100 miles yesterday and 98 miles today arriving in Paynton, Saskatchewan, Canada late this afternoon.

    Terrain isn’t flat, but the hills are gentle. Have seen Canadian geese (of course), prairie dogs, and lots of bison (in a fenced National Park). Temperatures are in the 70′s (which is quite warm for that area). They rode all day today with an 18 mph headwind, so it was rather rough going. The motels that far north do not have A/C, so with the warm temperatures, they are not getting a very restful night’s sleep.

    Will continue to keep you posted as they travel southeast.

  2. Jan Clark says:

    The journey continues. The guys have had a rough couple of days. As I reported in my last note, the weather on Sunday was 18 mph headwinds, which gave them ‘practice’ for Tuesday’s ride with 25 mph headwinds (with that, they had difficulty maintaining 7 mph!!). On Wednesday, the winds were still 25+mph, but from the SW and W, so it was not nearly as slow riding. They traveled 94 miles with an average speed of 13.6 mph. But, ‘bless their hearts’ they have made each day’s destination (so far) — that is what you call perseverance!! Wednesday evening (July 4th) they arrived in Regina, Saskatchewan.

  3. Jan Clark says:

    And, the journey continues . .

    After one full week, they have ridden 712 miles. Estavan is known as the energy capital of Saskatchewan — they rode past miles of coal mining operations, along side working oil and gas wells. Pete had his first flat tire just before crossing the border.

    Back in the USA !!

    The guys crossed the Canadian/US border on Friday. They had a stretch of road for 10-15 miles with no shoulder and lots of heavy truck traffic. They ended their first day in the US in Kenmare, ND.

  4. Jan Clark says:

    I am forwarding Pete’s message from Day 10: Jamestown, ND to Aberdeen, SD 104 miles.

    One state down!

    It should have been a straight forward 104 miles heading south from Jamestown to Aberdeen, SD. The road was smooth and flat the whole way. Unfortunately, there were only two places to stop for the entire day, the wind was ugly and it was hot. We stopped at 37 miles and again at 62 miles for lunch. (The map showed 4 towns on this highway but there was nothing there….not a building, or gas station…..nothing). The temperature was in the upper 80′s and water was an issue. But we made it to the east side of Aberdeen where we found a great Ramada Inn with a heated swimming pool and a hot tub which was great on our sore bodies.

    Tomorrow we head due east for 95 miles on highway 12 to Milbank,SD close to the border. After that we will be in Minnesota.

    *Editor’s note: Make sure to check out Richmond Brothers’ Facebook page for more pictures of the trip.

  5. Jan Clark says:

    Yesterday (Tuesday) the guys stared in Aberdeen, SD and finished in Milbank, SD — a total of 97 miles. It was a tough ride — there was a steady incline for over 70 miles and the riding surface was rough. Pete had a flat tire within the first 5 miles of the ride. The daytime temperature was 89 degrees!!

    Tonight (Wednesday) they arrived in Marshall, MN after 91 miles. Again the terrain was hilly and the winds were out of the south at 10-13 mph, so it was slow going. The heat is relentless and there are literally no trees or shade. They rode for 57 miles today without seeing a gas station or store. The map shows small towns between their destinations, but when they get to those spots, there is nothing there … no buildings, no signs … nothing!

  6. Jan Clark says:

    It has been a rough few days. Last Thursday the group traveled from Marshall, MN to Jackson, MN. There were no bike lanes or shoulder, so they were forced to ride in heavy traffic. The temperature was still hot and the wind was out of the south at 15 mph which made for a slow ride.

    On Friday, they traveled from Jackson, MN to Humboldt, IA … again, high temperatures, high winds, no bike lane or shoulder to ride on, and heavy truck traffic to deal with.

    Saturday, the trip ended in Urbandale, IA (on the NE side of Des Moines). Again the temperatures were in the high 90′s, but (finally) no wind. They are finding there is little relief from the sun, as places to stop in the shade are very few and far in between.

    Sunday (July 15), was a short day — only 87 miles traveled. They arrived in Ottomuwa, IA in the early afternoon for some needed rest and relaxation (and they very much enjoyed the pool at the hotel). The roads were smooth, there was no wind, but, again, the temperature was in the high 90′s — they think it may have even topped 100 at one point. They have reached the half-way point — have traveled a total of 1,630 miles. On Monday they will cross into Missouri where their route will parallel the west side of the Mississippi River.

    Just to give you some perspective:

    The Tour de France started on June 30th (the same day our riders started). The Tour de France lasts 21 days and covers 2,200 miles. Our guys will ride approximately 2,100 in that same amount of time, however, their total trip will be closer to 3,300 miles. Tour de France riders do not ride heavy steel bikes nor do they carry any personal gear or spare bike parts. They also do not obtain any of their food/snacks from gas stations or vending machines!!

  7. Jan Clark says:

    On Monday, the guys reached Canton, MO. The terrain was hills and the temperature in the mid- 90′s.

    Tuesday, the winds picked up (you guessed it – winds from the south) and the hills were long. Pete had two flat tires from debris in the roadway.

    On Wednesday, the temperature reached 99 degrees and the terrain was extremely hilly. They ended the day in Bonne Terre, MO.

    Thursday the roadway was littered with a lot of truck tire debris and Joe got a flat tire. As they got closer to Cape Girardeau, MO, the temperature climbed to 104 degrees and the hills got steeper.

    This morning, they crossed the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, MO and ended the day in Martin, TN.

    I am forwarding Pete’s commentary for the day:

    Day 21. (Very Big day) Cape Girardeau, MO 95 miles to Martin, TN Total miles: 2095

    It was a short 7 miles from our Super 8 motel in Cape Girardeau, MO to the Mississippi River. Beautiful bridge to ride across and to stop and take pictures before we arrived in Illinois. We generally followed the river delta so the first 30 miles were quite flat.

    After about 40 miles in Illinois we crossed our second major river, the Ohio (very narrow 2 lane bridge with no place to ride. We stopped several times to let the semis go by us and they were less than 12″ from our legs as we straddled the bikes). Once across the Ohio River we were in Kentucky. We expected more severe hills as we moved away from the rivers but it wasn’t too bad.

    After riding 80 miles we crossed into our 3rd state for the day-Tennessee. We rode on into Tennessee to Martin, TN where we stopped for the day after 95 miles.

    I personally rode better today because the hills were not as severe, the heat maybe not quite as bad (Tom saw a sign along the way that said 98), and because we were able to stop more frequently to get out of the heat and sun and drink cold fluids.

    I think we will be in Tennessee for a couple of nights before we move into Alabama.

    Pete

  8. Jerry Jehnzen says:

    Thanks for sharing all this, please keep it coming..it’s very interesting….I wanna be Tom when I grow up..

  9. Admin says:

    Your thoughts and prayers are needed!! Our highly adventurous client, Tom Clark, and his bike traveling buddies have been involved in a tragic accident. While outside of Dawson, GA, all three bikers were hit by a tractor trailer. Tom is currently in ICU with a broken wrist and hand as well as a neck injury. Luckily, he has no memory loss or paralysis. His friend, Joe, was treated for minor injuries and has been released. Tragically, his friend Peter was killed; we take solace knowing that he passed doing something that he loved very much. We are all heart broken by this news and pray for Tom’s quick recovery. May all families involved have the strength to get through this very difficult time. You will all be on our minds and prayers.

  10. Jan Clark says:

    As of this writing, Tom is in the early stages of being transferred to ICU at UofM in Ann Arbor. He should arrive there sometime this weekend. No visitors for the first few days.

    People have asked to help .. the BIGGEST thing anyone can do at this time would be to send a sympathy card to Pete’s girlfriend. Please sign your name and then just put how you know Tom and/or me (i.e. good friend, worked with, neighbor, etc.). If you would like to do this, please e-mail Kira at Richmond Brothers for the address (kira@richmondbrothers.com).

    It would mean a lot to Tom and I if we could ‘flood’ her mailbox with cards … THANKS!!

    • Susie Sturgill says:

      I am so sorry to hear about this tragic accident. We will keep Tom in our prayers and if there is anything we can do for you, please let us know. And I will be sending a sympathy card!!

    • Ed and Kay Annin says:

      So very sorry, Jan. we are thinking of you and Tom, our prayers are with you. We will definitely email Kira for the address. If Ed or I can do anything to help, don’t hesitate to let us know.

  11. Diane and Craig Brush says:

    These guys are such an inspiration. This tragic accident is difficult to even wrap our minds around. We will keep them and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

  12. Bob DeCamp says:

    As a trucker and cyclist in south GA, I am deeply saddened by this. My heart goes out to all, and praying the Lord will comfort all the families affected.

  13. Jan Clark says:

    Well, it has been a long couple of days.

    I am pleased to report that Tom was air-lifted from Georgia to the Trauma Unit at U of M Hospital this morning. He is stable but still in critical condition. Therefore, no visitors at this time.

    He sustained extensive injuries — two fractures in his left hand, and a fractured clavicle, as well as scrapes and bruises. He has a fractured vertebrae in his neck, which required surgery in Georgia to stabilize prior to being transferred back to Michigan. They did an MRI today, as well as took x-rays of his shoulder. This afternoon, they did splint his left hand, so that should relieve some of the pain.

    I plan to be with Tom each day during this process, but have been encouraged by the hospital staff to return home each night. Therefore, I will try my best to send an e-mail with his status to you every few days.

    We both want to thank you for your support as we navigate through this.

    • Debbie Timmerman says:

      I worked for Tom and my husband worked with Tom. Tell Tom we are thinking of him and will keep him in our prayers. If there is anything we can do, please let us know.

  14. Dolores Ochoa says:

    Pete and I rode together many times in Ann Arbor back in the late 70′s and early 80′s. He was an amazing athlete and an incredible friend. We lost touch but this world will not be the same without him in it. My prayers are with Pete’s family and friends especially Tom. My next ride will be in their honor.

  15. Jan Clark says:

    Sorry, no update last night as Tom didn’t want me to leave him, so I spent the night with him at the hospital.

    Monday, was lots of tests and evaluations. Condition is serious. They decided (finally) to do hand surgery .. that will happen later this week. He spent all day Sunday and most of Monday flat on his back.

    Tuesday, he seemed a bit better, but is still very weak. Having a hard time consuming enough calories to build up his strength. They inserted a feeding tube this afternoon, so that should help a lot. They changed the neck brace to one that ‘looks’ a bit more comfortable (but Tom’s not so sure about that!). Nurse said they had to change it because the one he came with from Georgia was green and theirs is BLUE!! They are working on getting his meds straightened out .. he needs pain killers, but not to the point where he sleeps all the time. They are working toward getting him out of the Trauma Unit and into a regular room .. this may happen in the next few days.

  16. Jan Clark says:

    We had a very good day .. although Tom was thoroughly exhausted by the end.

    The drain tube from the neck surgery was removed, and they are going to set the two fractures in his left hand tomorrow.

    The therapist had him sitting in a chair 2x today.

    The feeding tube that was inserted yesterday, made a huge difference. He had a lot more strength in his good arm after just 12 hours.

    He is still heavily medicated due to the amount of pain he has.

    Jan

  17. John & Nancy Ocweija says:

    Tom completed a two part surgery on his arm and hand today. In between the parts, Jan had to run to Menards. Final count 2 plates and 16 screws. Tom is in recovery and has asked for a note from his doctor for the TSA. Both Tom and Jan are hanging in there. Rest has been at a premium.

  18. Jan Clark says:

    Tom is slowly recovering from surgery. He slept most of the day today (I tried to keep him awake, but that was an impossible task), so he will probably be awake most of tonight (again). For some reason, he has his days and nights reversed. He was able to eat some soft foods today, but still has the feeding tube as he just can’t get enough nutrition fast enough without it.

    He is on the ‘list’ to move to a regular room as soon as a bed becomes available. I’m not sure how long the waiting list is, but the nurse told me today that 23 people were admitted to the ER!!

  19. Jan Clark says:

    Tom is doing well. Today the physical therapist had him walking about 40 feet down the hall and back .. he did well, but it really tired him out. They have removed the IV, but he still has the feeding tube. He is taking little steps in the right direction … it is just going to be a slow journey.

  20. Jan Clark says:

    I know it has been a while since I have provided an update. The past week has been extremely busy.

    Tom is doing well and is progressing each day. Last week, he moved out of the trauma unit and to rehab. Rehab has been quite intense.

    Today we received the news that we have been eagerly awaiting. Tom will be released from the hospital by the end of the week. He has been working hard in rehab as he has been eager to come home (he hasn’t been home since he left on his bike trip on June 29).

    We still have a long way to go .. he is going to need to continue with out-patient rehab .. and at last count, there are a multitude appointments we will need to go to in the coming weeks.

    Thank you for all of your calls, e-mails, and cards .. they were appreciated more than you can ever know.

    Thanks again!

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