Day 6 and the Trolley Track Attack

With a spin, a whoop and a whirl, a cheer and a tear and unfortunately a crash, so goes the final day of the Jim Jaggers tour of the Mid-South. But wait, didn’t we just start? We are done already? Never has six days gone by so fast except for of course, last year’s ride.

The final day of the tenth year had us re-configuring our early morning ride logistics and coordination. Usually we meet up and drive to our departing location and end up where we start. Today’s ride required us to start on the east side of town and end up at Le Bonheur for the big finishing telethon.

Steve, Ray and I met Wayne at his house in Germantown and with everything that we thought we would need for a day on the bike that had the potential for yet more rain and a change of clothes for the post telethon celebrations all stuffed into backbacks. My fellow rider’s packs were surprisingly light and small compared to mine which looked as if I had also brought my pillow and comforter. It would be more justifiable fodder in reference to my acknowledged prima donna status. I almost needed an extra bike for my bag, but hey, there is no bad weather only the wrong gear.

Comments like, “You sure Grandma can breathe in there?” and “You really need one of those orange triangles for a Wide Load.” continued as we saddled up at 6:45 and headed out to our rendezvous with the rest of the team and breakfast at Landers Ford at Houston Levee and Poplar. Despite the prediction of my compadres I did not ride a wheelie the whole way.

In what has become a GJG day 6 tradition, the wonderful folks at Landers Ford had their usual hot breakfast spread waiting for us. Chicken and sausage biscuits, fresh fruit, hot coffee and a warm and toasty friendly reception.

Though the breakfast and the anticipation of the last ride had us in good spirits, all the riders eyes were nervously eyeing the far Western sky which was almost as black as the coffee.



Speaking of black, we also had another issue with the RV that needed to be urgently addressed. Let’s see, how do I put this without being too gross. A well hydrated and well-nourished riding team results in a RV holding tank that has to “go” as bad as the riders do. The RV would be dispatched post haste to the nearest RV “restroom” so we would be without until at least lunch. Oh well, guess we will need to plan for a backup RV for next year! Not a big deal really despite my P.D. classification. We would be in town close to lots of facilities opportunities if needed. Somehow…I would survive.

The team rolled out of the Landers parking lot around eight for a slow Collierville tour. We had two very special guest riders with us today, two very special Le Bonheur physicians, Dr. John Weyless and Dr. Andy Papanicolau, pronounced, Papa-nika-Laow. Both world renowned neurologists and solid cyclists to boot.

Our first stop this morning was the YMCA at Schilling Farms. A great sponsor and one of the reasons Jim is riding the best he has ever ridden.

After the Y and with time to spare before our first scheduled school stop, our team of nine riders tooled around some of the best riding roads in the area and yes there are some good riding roads in Collierville. Not always the longest stretch of road, but pretty good for such a busy municipality.

The fall leaves are coming and the early arrivals were blowing and dancing in our path and under our wheels. The disgruntled clouds refused to relinquish any sunshine and though they looked like they really wanted to, could not summon enough moisture to make it rain. So with the dark roads enveloped in grey we appeared to be riding though what would have been the perfect setting for an eerie Hollywood thriller, but thankfully rain was not written into this script.

In one of the highlights of the day, we made a right turn and were able to see a school bus that had been in the line of cars behind our caravan. Bellowing from inside the bus was the sound of 40 or more kids chanting “Go Jim Go!” It was so sweet and touching as it was also a realization moment that this 10 year adventure has become a real recognizable brand and a true sense of excitement for the younger children.

Thanks little buddies! It's all for you!

Thanks little buddies! It’s all for you!

Our first schools stop of the day was Collierville Elementary Stadium and the little Dragons who delivered us a check for $890. Then onto Farmington Elementary where we were delighted to be welcomed by everything from Ninja Turtles to Stormtroopers, to princesses, to vampires. In a Go Jim Go first, all the children (and teachers) were decked out in an early test run of their Halloween costumes! I didn’t see anyone dressed up as a Fundraiser (Bruno Maglis, Barbour blazer and a tumbler of 12 year old scotch), but they should have been because they gave us our biggest school donation of the day coming in at $3,038! Next was Riverdale Elementary and another super job for the cause and a donation of $2,700. Followed by a superfast downhill, with a tailwind run to Sonic at Winchester and G’town Pkwy for our usual city ride lunch stop.

Once again our generous lunch provider and big supporter, Bobby Solberg was there to greet us and offer us carte blanch on the Sonic menu. While we were enjoying lunch we were surprised by team rider Donna Brown’s boss who showed up to present Jim a check from the Memphis Credit Union for and unannounced check for $5000! Getting closer to that goal!

Boss of Downtown Donna Brown don't mess around!

Boss of Downtown Donna Brown don’t mess around!

Since this was the last day, I went ahead and let what little hair I have left down a little and ordered a large soft serve vanilla ice cream on a cone. A delicious treat that unbeknownst to me I would get to experience a second time only not so enjoyable on take two. After we departed the Sonic I saw an opportunity to do a little stunt maneuver on my bike. It was a car transport trailer with the wheel ramps down so I rode up the ramp and bunny hopped off the edge. Moments later my front wheel tire succumbed to the impact and I flatted. The team stopped for a moment and Karen Malagorski was out of the support vehicle in a flash to assist. However, the team was on a tight time frame to get to the next stop and could not wait. Off they went as Karen and I changed the flat and Ray stayed back like a true bro.

Flat was changed, but the team was outta sight. With a headwind and a belly full of breakfast burrito and ice cream Ray and I had to drop the hammer. Post lunch interval training is awful and ice cream tastes way better the first time around, smooth cold and sweet not hot, regurgitated and burning. Soon the giant booty of the RV was in sight and with about 6 or 8 minutes ridding at 25 plus mph we were able to rejoin. Nice job Ray!

Next, our second YMCA stop of the day and then off to the Campus School on the University of Memphis Campus and another fat check of $1,100! Awesome Tigers! Motor we did to Idlewild Elementary and collect we did of yet another $2,100. Closer, closer! And last school stop of 2015 at Bruce Elementary.

What has also become a Go Jim Go tradition is our final run in prior to the telethon at Le Bonheur to the WREG offices down by the river. We rolled straight down Union Avenue with Johnny Cash blasting as we passed Sun Studios. More music that made Memphis as we played some Bar-Kays rolling past the Peabody and Red Bird stadium. Lots of perplexed looks, smiles and waves from the pedestrians. Left on Front street and deeper into the heart of the city. With the team in a giddy mode as we neared the end of our phenomenal 2015 experience, laughing, singing, waving, jolly and joyous…careful, watch the tracks!

Jim! Beware the tracks!

Jim! Beware the tracks!

Less than a half mile from the station and the end of the ride, after 5 days of flawless riding, Jim went down. It happened behind me and I heard the indescribable, but awful sound of a bike and body impacting on the hard deck of the road. As I turned to look behind me I saw our man in a heap on the ground with a grimace on his face. I had not yet come to a full stop when my front wheel also went into one of the treacherous ruts causing me to almost fall as well. When I got back to Jim he was back on his feet. Dr. Andy was already assessing him. It was later determined that Dr. Andy’s pedal has impacted the back of Jim’s helmet causing a large chunk of the helmet to break off. Other riders had thought for a moment seeing a piece of something bouncing down the road that it was some part of Jim’s head!

We waited a moment inspecting for any serious damage as Jim insisted that he was fine. In what could have been a disastrous moment and very easily a broken collar bone, wrist or hip, it appeared that we had been blessed another miracle because aside from a scrapped knee and a bloody elbow, Jim was OK. Back on the bike he was on his way. I’d like to compliment you Mr. Jaggers on your ability to bounce. And if it is any consolation, railroad tracks continue and will always be one of the most treacherous nemesi to the skinny road bike tire. They have claimed the bike, body and bone of all levels of cyclists. Cycling Tip (for the masses): Always cross a railroad track with the most perpendicular angle possible and it they are wet, get off and walk.

We rolled into the always warm and genuine reception from Mr. Walter, General Manager and the entire Channel 3 staff waiting for us in the parking lot with pizza and ice cream. Somebody had started a cruel rumor earlier in the day that there would be a margarita machine this time, but it was only wishful thinking as we were all still on the clock. Another Kuhar idea shot down in flames.

WREG parking lot reception

WREG parking lot reception

The team was placed on a temporary holding pattern at the station as we waited for the final segment of the ride to the hospital and the live telethon. We hung out in the RV and in addition to fondly reminiscing about the most heartfelt moments of our week together also seized every possible opportunity to give each other the most good natured grief and ridicule about every flaw, mistake and personal silliness encountered on the ride. Hilarity ensued.

Last roll out. We saddled up at around 5:30 and did the last leg over to the hospital and the big show awaiting us. We got to the hospital and all the activity of the staff volunteers and audience prior to the showtime at 6:30. In typical showbiz fashion, it was hurry up and wait while we stage our bikes in the hallway waiting for the cue to ride down the long corridor straight into a live TV show. The most poignant advice of the entire event; don’t crash on live TV.

Blake Robetson School of Riding Tip: Never, ever crash on like TV.

Blake Robertson School of Riding Tip: Never, ever crash on live TV.

Nobody did and it was a terrific show. It was highlighted by so many amazing stories, sponsors, contributions and excitement. Steve Roberts even showed up with another $17,000! Hats off the John Gwin the WREG Director of the live broadcast who from my perspective pulled off an amazing show and provided a showcase for the for the final grand total of $343,129! WE DID IT! Got the goal and then some! Wow! So happy for the team, Le Bonheur and Jim!

Well, that’s it. End of the 2015 reports. I want to thank everyone who took the time to read the blog and for those who offered their comments and compliments. I enjoy bringing you a little insight from the road and a look behind the scenes of Go Jim Go. It’s a very special event to be a part of and I am truly grateful.

That gratitude also goes out to so many who make it all possible; Meri Armour, Ron Walter, Rick Kanschat, my wife Regina, the Support Services team at Le Bonheur, Eric Sefton, Scott Sutherland and the staff at WREG, David (Hotty Toddy) Henson, Antoinette Katoe, Karen Malagorski, Sarah Patterson, the amazing Steve Roberts, my Go Jim Go Teammates; Donna, Wayne, Steve, Ray and Bill, Keith the RV diver, the staff of the Le Bonheur Marketing, Communications and Foundation teams, the generous sponsors, Sonic, YMCA, Bikes Plus, Southhaven RV, the amazing teachers, school administrators who coordinate and orchestrate and the school children who take the time to make the signs, make the donations, make us feel so welcome and help us achieve our goal every year all while learning the value of giving. Thanks to all who gave, be it a little or a lot, it matters.

And lastly, to Jim, my thanks and appreciation for your passion, energy and commitment that has been unfaltering over an incredible ten years. Congratulations sir…A job well, well done.

Thank you all for a fantastic 2015 Go Jim Go! Until next year…



Rinse and Repeat – Day 5

“Ever bike? Now that’s something that makes life worth living!…Oh, to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it, and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you’re going to smash up. Well, now, that’s something! And then go home again after three hours of it…and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!”
– Jack London

To do it all over again indeed. Our Somerville, Oakland, Rossville, Moscow, Somerville Fayette County Tennessee tour dealt us another day of soaking rain early that gave way to magnificently clearing skies and song inspiring sunshine.

Many school visits beginning with Fayette-Ware High, East Jr. High, Oakland Elementary, West Junior High, Southwest Elementary, Rossville Academy, Lagrange-Moscow Elementary and finally Buckley Carpenter Elementary.

All the kids gave us great receptions and generous contributions with the stand outs being Oakland Elementary with $2000, Rossville Academy for $1000 and Buckely Carpenter for $2001!

66.5 miles traveled today in 4 hours of actual ride time with no mishaps or issues. Even with the short period of uncomfortable muck this morning, I never got to stage 2 (see yesterday’s post) of getting soaked on the bike. Wayne showed us some beautiful roads this afternoon and I still agree wholeheartedly with Mr. London’s assessment. As of this evening we are sitting just under 300 miles for our total mileage for the 5 days so far. The 333 mile goal will be easy pickings tomorrow.

In what has been a blur, tomorrow brings the final day of riding for Go Jim Go 2015 that will be capped off by the telethon from the lobby of Le Bonheur at 6:30pm presented live on WREG Channel 3.

Total for the day is $7,712! Thank you Fayette County Schools! Thank you all so very much. Which brings us to a current grand total of $213,712. We have $120,000 to go to meet our goal, I hope you will consider a donation. Any amount will help.

Rounding the home stretch. See you on the streets of Memphis tomorrow.

Sarah, Scott and Jim working way before sunup!

Sarah, Scott and Jim working way before sun up!

Sarah Patterson stunt photographer.

Sarah Patterson, stunt photographer.

Rossville Academy artistic brilliance!

Rossville Academy artistic brilliance!

Le Bonheur patient and Rossville Academy student, Blaine O'Donnell. Get well soon Blaine!

Le Bonheur patient and Rossville Academy student, Blaine O’Donnell. Get well soon Blaine!

You tell me?

You tell me?

Captain Steve Kuhar! A cup of hot joe with my bald bro!

Captain Steve Kuhar! A cup of hot joe with my bald bro!

Yes, please!

Yes, please!


Karen Malagorski from Bikes Plus gets her ride in today and took a city limit sprint!

Karen Malagorski from Bikes Plus gets her ride in today and took a city limit sprint!


Day 4 – Wynne it’s time to get wet

Well the streak is over. After an incredible 8 year run of nothing but sunny Go Jim Go days, today we finally got wet.

During the hour long haul over to Forrest City we had intermittent showers the entire way and as the sun was coming up, the clouds over Arkansas were low and sulky. It was not yet raining as we were staging, but all knew it was just a matter of time. At the first pedal stroke out of the parking lot the rain began to fall. So much for my freshly detailed bike.

Not pouring, just steady. Water began to find it’s way into every piece of fabric and every bend, crook and crack of your body. When riding a bike in the rain there are two demoralizing moments when the water really starts to drench. No.1, the feet and shoes. It’s a miserable feeling when the first flow of water soaks through your socks and chills the bottom of your feet eventually filling up the entire shoe and adding what seems like five extra pounds to your pedals. No. 2 your butt crack. Sorry TMI, but that first drop of cold water that enters the unmentionable valley between the cheeks is awful enough to make you want to turn around. In most cases however, today included, that is not an option. So soldiered on we did. Jim’s the one with the light.

The upside is that the weather was not too cold this morning. Although the temperature, wind and water made it just a little chilly it was not unbearable. To be honest it was a nice variation in what we have been accustomed to for so long.
IMG_0492Our traditional rest stop at the Country Store on 284. Where Mrs. Phyllis Lindley owner of the Country Store gave us a donation of $400 dollars she has been collecting at her cash register for Jim and Le Bonheur. So very kind. Last year we shared the story told by Mr. Lindley of how their daughter now 40 years old had been helped by Le Bonheur when she was a child. Thank you Lindley family!
FullSizeRender(3)We scuba-ed our way down Hwy 284 to 64 to 163 to 364 to 1 into Wynne. A smooth uneventful ride. Low grey clouds over Crowley’s Ridge and fertile Arkansas farmland with the nonstop smattering of precipitation the entire way. A few little uphill bumps and slick curves to navigate as well.
IMG_0499In Wynne it was time for our scheduled rendezvous with our Angel of Arkansas, our Sodbusting Saint, our Miraclemaker in mudboots, our benevolent, bearded, buccaneer of the backroads,  Mr. Steve Roberts. If you are not familiar with Steve and his Go Jim Go legacy watch this:

Well, Mr. Roberts has been going full bore with his special style of fundraising and at a lunch table in Wynne, Arkansas, over fried chicken and cooked carrots, Mr. Roberts handed Mr. Go a bank envelop containing $63,000! Most of us choked on our sweet tea some of us just wept. Simply wow. Thank you Steve Roberts, but I have a feeling your fireworks are not over yet.

Our lunch at Kelly’s was once again compliments of Mr. Tony Bull of Bull Motors. Thank you Mr. Bull!

As we came out of Kelly’s around 12:30 the clouds were still looking like we were feeling, plump and heavy, but the rain had completely stopped.

After lunch we were joined by local farmer and guest rider. Mr. Brent Howton on his big mountain bike. He had planned to ride with us a bit on a bike some of us wished we would have had earlier in the muck.

Guest rider, Brent Howton

Guest rider, Brent Howton

Our first of only two school stops was next at Wynne Intermediate School.

IMG_0506Great to see all of the excited kids lined up to great us and crank up the smiles on our faces. On top of a rousing reception, the Yellow jackets went ahead and became the school contributing the highest amount for far this year to the tune of $14, 561! BA-BA-BA BOOM! Wow! Unbelievable! Amazing job Yellow Jackets! Thank you so much.

Principal pie fight!

Principal pie fight!

As we got over the shock and awe of our last donation,  we headed out of town on our way back to Forrest City. Mr. Howton rolled with us a bit and then headed back to Wynne.

Actually a very nice ride back. Though it looked as if we would get wet again. The rain held off and we enjoyed a nice tailwind out of the northwest as we meandered through the unique beauty of a countryside surrounded by broodish weather.
IMG_0516On to our last stop and the great staff and students of Lee Academy in Marianna, AR. How cool is this? The students had actually been dismissed at 3pm, but we did not get close until around 4pm, but a gang of the students actually stayed late or came back to just greet us! Then they added to our collections by $4,211! Yes Cougars! Thank you!

So if you are keeping track that’s a $82,235 take for the day. Having covered 67 miles, that’s1,227 bucks per mile. Best day yet! They just keep getting better! Heck, Jim even got a cotton seed named after his goal today.
IMG_0498Thank you to all in Arkansas who made it such a great day for Go Jim Go. We cracked $200k grand total today, but are still a ways away from our $333k goal. Please donate anything you can over at

Respect to my fellow riders this morning for gearing up, knuckling down and forging ahead. Grit and resilience in the face of personal discomfort for the team and the cause. Admirable attributes to be sure.

To Fayette County tomorrow! See you there!

A thought if your road gets dark and stormy,

DeSoto Delivers!

IMG_0432In what is beginning to sound like a broken record, today’s third day on the road with Mr. Go, was yet another pedal perfect day. But, of the many awesome days on the bike recounted here, today was a special standout among so many. We had new and old friends riding with us, enjoyable stretches of good riding, terrific weather, good ole southern hospitality, enthusiastic receptions and the most money collected in one day this year!

Today, I was the slacker and was running late! (Could not find my harmonica, but that’s another story) Not only was I running late, I then got caught by the 6:30 train in Germantown. Arg! The wrath of Wayne would be swift and fierce. Ha! Indeed I jest, there is absolutely nothing swift and fierce about my good buddy Wayne.

No worries as we made it with plenty of time to spare at the Southaven YMCA (shameless plug) who is currently running a Go Jim Go special, make a contribution and get your joining fee waived. The morning ride prep routine was fully underway.

Today we would have a bigger group. Joining us were returning riders, Ron and Kevin McCarter and Michael Klappholz sporting the yellow and black jerseys of the Hernando Bike Club. Also retuning GJG alums, from Independence, Mississippi, cyclist Bryan Norton and FedEx aviator, Bill McDonald. Today Bill would be aviating his drool worthy, super fine Cervelo R5 carbon fiber frame with full Campaglono components and a Zipp 404 wheelset. Oh, be still my heart. Sorry, am I showing too much of my bike geek there? Anyway, along with the full roster of the GJG Dream Team we would have a pack of thirteen riders. Biggest bunch this year.

Good morning Southaven!

Good morning Southaven!

Never get tired of starting off our day on the bike in the type of weather we had this morning. Comfortably cool, perfectly still air as we cycle-vated to our first stop at Homer Skelton Ford. The kindly team of Ford professionals made the first deposit of the day of $500 to our rolling fundraising train. Thank you Ford folk!

Let’s just get this day going with a BANG! Stop number two was a doozy! Though every single contribution matters and every dime the students raise across the span of Go Jim Go is so greatly appreciated sometimes a school just goes stratospheric in their efforts. Such is the case for Lewisberg Primary and Elementary. As we arrived the team rode down their alley of noise, children and staff packed on both sides of the street between the schools. When things settled down enough to get to the check presentation, Jim was presented with a combined check of $11,640! Absolutely stunning! Mr. Go hit the deck twice in shock and disbelief, but it was for real. It is unfathomable for me how hard the entire school worked to make that happen. As an employee of Le Bonheur and on behalf of the entire Go Jim Go team thank you so much Lewisberg. One for the record books.

The Lewisberg stunner!

The Lewisberg Stunner!

Well, we could have rode home after that one, but wait there’s more! Following Lewisberg everybody was in a chipper mood and Wayne graced us with some of the best roads for riding in North Mississippi. Lots of long bottomland flats, rolling hills on smooth black top. Everyone was well conditioned to hold a solid pace as we glided our team through canopy covered bluffs and though well worked farmlands with a distant horizon.

As we rode, classic tunes wafted from our PA system on the rooftop of our Ford pacecar which on occasion became a rolling karaoke club. You see when Jim is not addressing the schools his microphone stays in the cab of the pacecar. Like I said everyone was in a chipper mood, support crew included. That resulted in some very inspired singalongs from the pace car team. “Buttercup” and “Life in the Fast Lane” were my personal favs.

Our pace car crooners, Katherine Whittfield and Brian Sands.

Our pace car crooners, Le Bonheur’s own Katherine Whitfield and WREG’s Brian Sands.

Next stop was our wonderful, wonderful sponsor and friends at Southhaven RV. What a privilege it is to have the accommodations they provide us as we ride. In my eight years of doing this event, there was only once that we did not have an RV and I still remember the additional logistical difficulties put on so many aspects of the ride. Things you wouldn’t necessarily think of like a spot for Jim’s back up bike, a mobile office for Jim’s TV work prep, a spot for the riders to keep personal bags of extra clothing and storage for the tons of GJG promotional materials. Of course, it is hard enough to plan routes to visit all the schools and sponsors so not having to account for multiple rider and staff relief brakes is a huge factor in simplifying planning, time saving and comfort. Let us also not forget that on very rare occasions Jim needs just a moment to recuperate and recover. So, thank you so much Southhaven RV for what you do for the team and supporting the efforts supporting Le Bonheur. Oh, and they also gave us a check for $5000! Ka-Boom! Please go take a look at the amazing selection of beautiful homes away from home at Southhaven RV for priceless family adventures in comfort.

The school blitz continued with our next stop at one of our ten year schools, Horn Lake Elementary, a school close to Jim’s heart as it was one of the first schools to commit to his request for a visit way back in 2005. Can you believe some of the kids there weren’t even born yet when Jim started this! Horn Lake delivered again with a check for $2,411! So humbling, so awesome. Next, Shadow Oaks Elementary and rambunctious check collection of $1,200. Lunch in the parking lot and respite shade of the New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, then back on the bikes.

Our next stop was a true street party as we were very warmly welcomed by the students and staff of Whitehaven High School. Sometimes the high schoolers aren’t so into a bunch of dudes in tight pants riding bikes. We never know what to expect, but WHS, (Wayne’s alma mater by the way) was way happy to see us with their band, cheerleaders, dance squad and students. Their rocking percussion and brass drowned out our super amped PA system! Along with the superstar welcome they sweetened the stop with a check for another $1000! Thank you Tigers! Good luck against Mitchell tonight!

Onto awesome receptions from Southhaven Elementary who collected $2,400 and then to Greenbrook Elementary and their $2,107 for Jim! DeSoto County was turning out big time today!

Out onto the mean streets of Goodman Road and a visit to Country Ford for yet another $600. The staff also set up a very nice food and refreshment reception for Jim and the riders which was promptly decimated to crumbs. Thank you Country Ford!

Speaking of mean streets, another special Blake’s Blog stanky bike short salute to the driver of red Nissan Versa on Goodman Road who was in such a hurry it required a pass on the right shoulder, slinging rocks and road trash into the bikes. May your karmic payback be hemorrhoids and an IRS tax audit.

Kindness comes from the darndest places sometimes. As we made our way down Goodman Road, we got the word that we needed to stop ahead. Not really sure what the deal was at the time and riders were confused. There was no school in sight or any of our other sponsors, but we got the train halted at the intersection of Goodman and Tchulahoma. There on the Southwest corner was the little blue and yellow Shaved Ice stand with its picnic tables and faux palm trees. Attached to the side of the stand was a bucket with and invitation to support Le Bonheur on the side. That bucket resulted in us collecting another $1,500! Wow! In addition, the team was treated to shaved ice all around, on the house! Thank you Linda! If you see that little blue and yellow trailer with its mini palm tree and umbrellas please stop by and have yourself a treat and tell them Go Jim Go sent you.

IMG_0447Last stop and last shock of the day was the little school of Faith Academy. We rolled up to a bunch of itty biddy kiddies and a staff that had out done themselves in decorating for our arrival. After a sweet reception from little ones no taller than my bike frame, they floored Jim and the team with a mega check for $7000! WHAT?! $7000! Amazing. Thank you so much Faith Academy. We are so thrilled and grateful.

Kevin, Bryan, Ron and Mike. Great guys and great riders. Thanks Guys!

Kevin, Bryan, Ron and Mike. Great guys and great riders. Thanks Guys!

The Hernando Bike Club and guests took the lead to get us home and it was a fine escort at the end of an amazing day in North Mississippi and South Memphis. Truly the best in the history of riding this area on Go Jim Go with a grand total for the day of over $25,000. We logged 56 miles in exactly 3 hours and 48 minutes of actual ride time, but the entire day took over 8 hours. For the past three days we have logged 177 miles and collected over $126,000! We are well on our way to meet our goal, but still need everyone’s help.

As we ended the day doing the live shot from the parking lot of the YMCA, we heard from a Le Bonheur family who suffered a devastating home fire. One of the two six year old twin boys had to be rescued by firefighters and was taken to Le Bonheur with a very grim assessment, but not only did he survive, he is doing well. Thanks to all the teams of Le Bonheur working together and the tenacity of a scrappy little guy, he was throwing bunny ears on his brother’s head on live television. Please make a donation of whatever you can by clicking here, to keep these miracles happening.

A terrific, outstanding, blessed day. Thank you everyone for anything you did to make it possible and so special. Students, children, parents, teachers, administrators, sponsors, riders and to Jim…

Rest well buddy. Three down, three to go.



Day Two, To Sarah

Yo Cyclistas! Back for a report on Day 2!

First a quick, humble apology to our city’s gentleman Mayor, Mr. AC Wharton. In my sun baked brain fog trying to peck out this blog last night, I referred to the honorable Mayor in a typo yesterday as “Major Warton”. Hope that doesn’t stick sir.

Today found us on a whirlwind tour of the northern part of the Channel 3 viewing area, Fayette and Tipton counties with visits to Millington, Munford, Covington, Ripley, Halls, Covington once more then back to Millington.

Team Bloodshot met up for our crack ‘O’ dawn transfer at a painfully quick arriving 6am.Wayne must have run out of mustache mouse or something because he was ten minutes late. Slacker.

This morning found the Go Jim Go road show starting in Millington, TN. We met at one of our kind sponsors the YMCA. Of course, Mr. Go was already onsite working the cameras for the early news. The guy is a real Energizer Bunny.

We rolled out right at 7:30 with a beautiful sunrise drenching the smattering of purple clouds with the color of a ripe pumpkin. Love that morning chill, makes for absolutely exquisite cycling and a it’s great to be me moment.

A quick stop at Millington High School to see Ginny and her classmates and collect a check for $1,300. Thanks Trojans! Onward to Homer Skelton Ford, as Ford is one of our title sponsors by providing our incredible pace car which is a 2016 Expedition. Swanky! GM, Randy Hart presented Jim with another $300 and hooked me up with some customer waiting area complimentary coffee.

The GJG Dream Team was rolling like a real PRO squad, perfect two man pacelines through the clean and clear morning over great rural roads and byways. Don’t know where he comes up with these routes, but Wayne picked a great one this morning. Just spinning gears with my Go Jim Go peers. At some point this morning John Fogerty was wailing over our mobile PA about if we had ever seen the rain. Nope.

IMG_0402Next stop the wild and vivacious Munford High School. These awesome kids must be brewing their own complimentary coffee, the extra strong kind because they were proud and loud! They should be proud because they kicked in $3000 to help their fellow kids at Le Bonheur. Terrific job Munford High. Thank you so much!

More rolling hills and effortless riding back to Covington for our scheduled lunch stop. A bit of BBQ for the crew and a lazy lunch hanging out in the RV.

After lunch our next stop was Ripley High School where we have been welcomed so many times in the past.

In her senior year, we got to see once more before graduation Ripley High School student and former Le Bonheur heart surgery patient, Bethany Gooch.
IMG_0413Bethany shared with her classmates how important Le Bonheur was to her and how her life had been saved by the many experts there. She also shared the memory of Sarah Theobald. Sarah and Bethany met at Le Bonheur as Sarah was suffering the same condition. They helped each other through their experiences and became best of friends. Sadly, Sarah, was not able to survive her complications, but Bethany shared her inspirational words with us all; “Never give up, have a little faith and always keep chasing those purple butterflies.” Bless you Sarah. You are missed. Thank you Bethany! We will remember those words as strength and motivation. Good luck in Chattanooga this fall!
IMG_0418Halls High School was next and another $800. Thanks Tigers! Then right next door the little Tigers of Halls Elementary. Man, those little ones get whipped up. Thank you for the amazing welcome and the massive check of $3,144! Wow!

Sun and heat really starting to sear for this next long stretch all the way to Austin Peay Elementary, but it was way worth the effort as this next bunch of wild and rowdy Go Jim Go fans presented us with another check over 3k! $3,205 to be precise. Our biggest donation of the day. Thank you Austin Peay Elementary! Great job! We appreciate your efforts so much!

One more stop to go and another long haul. It’s about 2:30 at this point and fatigue, heat, hills, dehydration and just the ongoing rattle of the road you feel through your handlebars and saddle start to take their toll and wear the body down. Gotta soldier on. Next stop Bolton High School. Once again worth the effort because they had another $2,500 waiting for us. Thanks for waiting for us BHS! We appreciate your generosity!

A cookie cutter awesome Go Jim Go day! Total mileage was just over 67. With the miles after lunch hot, hard and long.

Thank you to the kids and schools of Tipton and Lauderdale County. We had a great time and experience riding in your area and you might see me back soon just for the great cycling. Thanks also for all the super powerful energy you greeted us with. Your cheers are truly uplifting. And as always, thank for your generous contributions. Today, you helped save another life at Le Bonheur.

A final cherry on top and an unexpected thrilling surprise at the end of the day. As we were packing up to leave we got to see the practice session for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds who are performing at the Millington Air Show this weekend. To see and feel the power of an F-16 at low altitude is visceral. Very cool. Too bad I’m too old to enlist.

Hello De-So-to! See you tomorrow!
IMG_0419Today’s ride dedicated to Sarah and purple butterflies.


Today…I heart Memphis!

And just like Steven Tyler squealed, “I’m back in the saddle again!”

Greetings Velo Fellows! The 2015 Go Jim Go, 10th anniversary, 333 miles of smiles in six days, Le Bonheur fundraising bicycle blitz has officially begun. After three preliminary Tour days the whole team is skilled and drilled and that was readily apparent by how our first day went.


Had to stage my vehicle for a quick departure for later in the day so I drove and parked my truck at Bike Plus in Bartlett as the sun was just coming up. All by my lonesome, I geared up for a solo run to Shelby Farms to meet up with the other teammates who were traveling north to our rendezvous point on the Greenline at Mullins station and Farm Road. A couple of back streets turns though Bartlett neighborhoods and then I am trucking straight down Whitten Road. This is not a stretch of road any sane cyclist would venture normally, but as long as you are illuminated properly and are as aggressive as the drivers you can get away with something like this for special circumstances. Of course, there is no defense against some dude named Travis who has his nose buried in is Samsung going 55mph trying to peck out on the keyboard OMG! In response to the picture his sister and law just texted him of her new My Little Pony tattoo, but I digress.

I Googled the time it would take the night prior to go from Bartlett to Shelby Farms and by bike Google calculated 27 minutes. Based on that info, accounting for traffic lights, I planned to get rolling at 6:20 in order to arrive by our 7:00 meet up time. Of course, I didn’t get rolling until 6:40. It’s tough to get out of my house on time on a school day. However, (queue the malevolent, evil villain laugh) Google did not account for the cyclist they were dealing with here. 27 minutes? Puh-leeze. I made it in 15. Plenty of time to meet up with and have a in depth discussion with Bill Fredrick, one of the team, about whether to wear arm warmers or not.

Wayne Brain and Ray Hanshew rolled up a short time later and we started our run to the river and WREG at about 7:05.

The man with the Memphis cycling plan.

The man with the Memphis cycling plan.

Folks, meet Kyle Wagenshutlz. This is the cycling advocate / activist / city politics navigation specialist who is immensely responsible for bringing the Memphis cycling infrastructure from the stone ages to the modern era. One of Kyle’s initial efforts was the route of choice for our jaunt downtown today. The Tillman to Shelby Farms Greenline. It is simply a magnificent piece of public works to facilitate for the citizens of Memphis a special way to experience today’s God blessed early fall morning on a bike. Kyle was kind enough to join us at the GJG Kick Off in the Channel 3 back yard this morning. Thanks Kyle! Please keep up the awesome work. I know you will.

I love WREG Channel 3. They had their whole family out this morning to send Jim off with great fanfare. They always do. The team and crew do such a great job. They make live TV look so easy. Plus their passion for Jim’s cause and Le Bonheur has been unfaltering for ten years now. When you look at all the resources they dedicate to this event the dollar figure of the costs would probably make you choke on your frappuccino, but they truly get the mission of Le Bonheur and how it serves our community so I guess it’s easy for them to rally for us this week every year. Thanks Mr. Walter!

Mr. Walter shining today.

Mr. Ron Walter, President and CEO of WREG shining today.

Lots of VIPs at the kick off this morning, Meri Armour, CEO of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Dr. Jon McCullers, Chair of UT Pediatrics,Mayor Wharton, Le Bonheur patients and families, Mrs. Jaggers, Chair and CEO of Jaggers International. Mayor Wharton proclaimed it Go Jim Go day so no getting hassled by MPD today. Awesome. I think that expires at midnight so take it easy in the RV tonight Mr. Go.

The nail biter of every GJG kick off is if Jim can get clipped into his pedals and get rolling smoothy away after the countdown. Despite having to start off standing in the grass and having to dodge millions of dollars worth of cables, camera gear and crew Jim made a flawless exit. Mr. Tyler, your line again please…

Thanks to the WREG team, Mary Beth and Alex and everyone who came out (Hi Ginny!) to get us rolling. Beautiful morning, great crowd and a terrific kick off.
liveat9Off we went into the mean streets of Memphis, what’s this new pavement? One of typical exit routes has brand new black top and it was nice. Think new blacktop feels good in a Lexus? Try it on a 10 speed.

First stop today was Alcy Elementary, a booming reception and a check for $1,193. On to Evans Elementary and another $1,500 and then to Overton High for another $1,000. As usual, at every stop we are treated like we are some kind YouTube sensation or something. Mayor Wharton and Donald Trump should be glad that Jim has no political aspirations.

We cruised through Memphis City streets that I had never heard of. Gotta hand it to the Wayne Brain, dude is really a cyborg with a Garmin navigation chip in his head. We all just mindlessly follow Wayne on his red, green and white Huffy and never question because we always get there and on time. All of a sudden, Sonic. Lunch!

I love Mr. Bobby Solberg and his Sonic teams. They ALWAYS take such good care of us. We roll up in the massive caravan of vehicles and bikes and come pouring into the patio ravenous, rowdy and those great folks always give us the best of service and accommodations. My usual two chicken go wraps and a breakfast burrito. Today, I went a little off kilter koo-koo and as a finishing touch ordered myself a large soft serve cone. Oh, the madness.

Barely time to digest and certainly not enough time for a nap in the RV and Wayne had us rolling again. Early fall was feeling a little early June at this point and the bright sun was baking our bacon.

Wearing the tights today was the Go Jim Go Dream Team; Wayne, Captain Steve, Bill, Downtown Donna Brown, Ray, myself and Mr. Go, a.k.a. “Skittles”

"Skittles" in the middle

“Skittles” in the middle

First post lunch school stop was Promise Academy for $608, then to Kingsbury Elementary who as usual rocked the block with their chants of Go Jim Go! $1,400 from Kingsbury! Next stop another 10 year school support of GJG, St. Agnes. They are still involved with their fundraising, but went ahead and gave us a check for what they have collected so far, $840! Not only did St. Agnes enrich our cause monetarily, but spiritually with an acapella singing performance. So nice! Last visit today with the sharp kids at St Louis School and another $500.

With the schools stops done for the day, it was time to pile on some mileage to make sure we are clocking enough miles each day to get our 333 goal. We headed North up Perkins and once again Wayne’s Brains took over our navigation and we settled in for run up through Bartlett and a northern Shelby County loop for and extra 15 miles.

Great roads and a good ride as the team finally landed back at Bikes Plus in Bartlett. So happy to see my truck waiting for me that I had staged so much earlier today. 55 miles logged today on the official count, but with the trip to WREG this morning had me over 70 for the day and minus the WREG stop and lunch approximately 7 hours saddle time.

No mishaps, mechanicals or surly drivers. Lots of shout outs, waves and “Go Jim Go!”s from Memphians. Thank you, students, teachers and Admins. Great job! Thank you Memphis great day.

My humble appreciation and gratitude to the GJG road team who work so hard to coordinate everything to do with the ride and drive the vehicles to keep us safe, Antoinette, Jacque, Sarah, Julie, Karen, Keith, David and Scott “Got the Shot” Sutherland, you’re all awesome.

Peelin’ off my boots and chaps
I’m saddle sore
Four bits gets you time in the racks
When Wayne arrives at 6, I’ll scream for more

Sorry Aerosmith, couldn’t resist.

Tour Day 3 – Mississippi Pay Day and the First Scratch

Somehow I was able to manage my 5:30am call time and make the ride down to my alma mater for GJG, Tour Day 3, all day Mississippi.

What a fun road trip down as we all piled into the RV and despite the early hour the comradery of all the team is so good the jests were flying before the rooster crowed.

Oh heavenly glory, do I love the sights, sounds, smell and general state of mind of the Oxford Mississippi Downtown Square on an early fall morning. I do believe the old Faulkner statue gave us a wink as we saddled up and rolled past City Hall.

The day started with a morning spin through town out to Oxford High School who have yet to start their fundraising, but got a good pep talk from Jim about the importance of supporting Le Bonheur.

Back into town for a quick photo op at the YMCA. Then just when we thought we were going to have low key, mellow morning, along came our next stop at Oxford Intermediate. As we crested the hill headed south on Martin Luther King we see a crowd on the street that looked like the night Rebels beat Bama. Wow! It was Go Jim Go time. It must have been all six hundred students at the curb waiting to wake up the city. Indeed they did. What a reception! Truly appreciated! On top of that they had a check for us $3,100! Great job Chargers!

Would have loved to spend the whole morning soaking up the adulation and passing out high fives, but had to keep rolling to the next appointment. A quick right on East Jackson and then left on Sorority Row. Rolling up the row, our mobile DJ blasted “All the Single Ladies” from pace car PA. Nice! A shout out from me to the Phi Mu House as we cruised by. Phi Mus are near and dear to my heart.

Around the grove and to the south of campus and after a few “Wayne, Wayne” back street navigation specials and we found our way headed South on Old Taylor Road. Best stretch of road of the day. Great piece of pavement between south Oxford and Taylor, MS. Jim is in the best cycling shape that I think that I have ever seen him as we were holding a very nice consistent pace between 22-25mph.

A brief photo op stop at an amazing piece of local history, classic Americana and dang good catfish spot, Old Taylor Grocery then back on the road and some great back country riding all the way to Water Valley.

This is a wince worthy moment for all the cyclists out there and the only drama of note for the entire ride. Just before Water Valley at a rest stop is where it happened. I leaned the brand new bike next to the pace car for a moment while I went to the back to top off my bottle and grab a snack, what I didn’t notice is that my rear wheel was not quite past the rear passenger door. When my teammate went to get out…bump and crash…yep…my titanium dream bike hit the deck. Gasp! It was totally and completely my fault. For a moment I could not bear to look, but when the full assessment was complete, I had gotten off really lucky, only a small scuff on the bar end plug and fortunately it fell derailleur up. This will not be happening again.

By the way, I am really enjoying this new “Tin-Tanium” ride as Mr. Go like to call it. He has actually stated that it is most likely constructed from recycled Chicken of the Sea cans and has a whiff of a tuna fish smell. Oh, the horror. Well, I guess he should know as he is always sucking my wheel in my draft! My opinion of the bike so far, in the voice of Mario Cipollini (or for my girls, Stephano from Madagascar 3), “She ride-a like-a dream.”

Next stop Davidson Elementary in Water Valley. We rolled into the back courtyard and were surrounded by their raucous reception. The awesome kids at Davidson collected over $1,200 for us and sent us on our way with a special song and a cheer.

Lunch stop! Today’s feed zone was a charming restored general store in downtown Water Valley, The B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery and Cafe. A large contingent of my team opted for the fried catfish, hushpuppies, slaw and fries. Me? The much more conservative cyclist choice of the Jive Turkey sandwich after all we still had miles to do! Great spot, great service and terrific lunch.

The third leg after lunch in our all Mississippi tour was two stops in Batesville. Batesville Middle and Junior High teamed up for a two for one stop. A loud Batesville student welcome and a combo check total of $4,500! Wow! Thank you so much! Last stop for some special little ones at Batesville Elementary who lost their school to fire last year, but the staff and children still had the time and interest to make a donation to Le Bonheur of $2,700! Really special. Good luck with the construction of your new school. We appreciate you all so much.

Another successful Tour Day and the final one before the main ride starts next week. No mishaps, mechanical malfunctions or foul tempered motorists.

As always, thanks to the teachers, administrators, parents, our Go Jim Go production team and especially kids for making this event so special.

Salute to my Mississippi peoples! Thank you for a great day! Next report on the big kick off event. Thanks for reading.


Old Taylor Grocery charm

WREG Crew, Antoinette, Kim and Keith

Le Bonheur Crew, Sarah, Kelly and David