Special to Reflections Blog
By Nancy Waclawek
Student Scholarship Committee Member
Bruce Gleasman, 60, owner of BG Home Repair & Care, and his friend Brad Lankford, 54, a supply-chain management consultant from Austin, TX, are taking sabbaticals from their jobs to ride the grueling Great Divide, the mostly off-road route that starts in Banff, Alberta, Canada and ends five states later near Antelope Wells, NM.
The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route was completed in 1997 by the Adventure Cycling Association, the largest nonprofit bicycling organization in the United States. The ACA’s mission is to inspire and empower people to travel by bike. It has mapped 40,000 miles of cycling routes, mostly rural and low-traffic routes. The organization has more than 50,000 members.
The two men will set off on the ride at 10 a.m. Aug. 1, 2016 out of Banaff. They expect to finish sometime in October. Much depends on how they feel, how their equipment holds up and the weather. You can follow their odyssey as they blog, post photos and document their progress on Gleasman’s website during the two-month experience.
“We won’t know how our bodies will react,” Gleasman said, “and we don’t have to be anywhere” or to have to finish on a specific date, as Gleasman and Lankford are semi-retired. Gleasman has notified all his clients in Transylvania County about his travel plans, and not to expect him to return business calls until later this fall.
Gleasman and Lankford are using their ride to benefit two charities. For Gleasman, it’s the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program, which provides college scholarships to residents of Transylvania County. Learn more about the Scholarship Program. Lankford is riding to benefit Helping Hand Home in Austin, TX, a residential treatment center for children who have experienced extreme abuse and neglect.
Lankford and Gleasman have been friends since 2005, when Gleasman and his wife Karen moved to Texas from Rochester, NY. Lankford, a long-time biker, persuaded Gleasman to join him on 100K and 100 mile rides. So Gleasman was game when Lankford proposed this ambitious test of endurance bicycling.
Gleasman, who has lived in Transylvania County since 2010, started training for this ride on Jan. 1 and has been on a bike every day since then, riding to build up endurance. (Brevard area is one of the most popular mountain biking locations in the country. ) He’s ridden 2,500 miles in training, and he is confident that he is ready.
Find more Connestee Falls Scholarship Program stories here on the reflections blog.