Day 16: Mammoth Cave National Park, KY to Nashville, TN
Total Mileage: 68 miles
Our trip to Mammoth Cave National Park was not the most direct way to get to the West, so it’s one of the many detours of the trip we took that we had to take advantage of. Since we were already at the National Park, might as well take a tour of the caves. It is the longest cave system known in the world located primarily in Edmonson County, KY. We left Mammoth Cave around 11:30AM and still had close to a century to complete today.
Me and Sasha after the Mammoth Passage Tour.
Today’s team name: Team Captain Distractors with Will, Katrina, and Casey. We were kind of in the mentality that we wouldn’t finish the day since we left the park so late. By the time lunch rolled around, it was past 3 and still had over 60 miles to go. Casey got a flat as soon as we left our lunch spot and immediately after, a thunderstorm chased us into taking shelter under a church along US-31. While waiting for the storm to pass, we ran into Jack Coleman, a recent high school graduate, riding from Paoli, Indiana to Panama City, Florida. He rides for Laura Balsmeyer, his football coach’s wife, who has had a tough two years battling many health issues and is on the road to recovery. A very impressive feat, especially since he’s riding by himself with the support of his family, who stops every so often as his SAG (support and gear) wagon. His mom was the one that actually stopped her SUV at the place we took shelter in during the thunderstorm to make sure her son would meet us. After telling her about the 4K, his grandmother donated $40 to our 4K efforts. Every thing happens for a reason, and that storm brought us in contact with Jack. Best of luck to him as he rides to Panama City. We’re pulling for you! Check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RideForLaura
After we crossed into Tennessee for the umpteenth time, team Captain Distractors got a sudden wave of energy for the next 12 miles. A somewhat gloomy day turned into a special experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to spend it with. Got to 68 miles and decided to stop cycling, since the sun set and none of us had night lights. Biking 25 more miles to our host in Nashville would have been impossible, so we called the water van to pick us up. Packing the already full water van with four additional riders and 4 bikes made for an uncomfortable, but fun ride. All of the teams had to be picked up, since all of us were too far from the host to make it before dark. We found the host van escorting two groups to a restaurant, and we cheered them on from the jam-packed water van. Surprisingly, most of us were in high spirits by the end of the day, even if none of us finished the day. Two groups actually had dinner donated to them at Hollywood Grill on 31 while they were waiting for the host/water van to pick them up while they shuttled the rest of the team to YMCA, our host.
Team San Fran 2013.