John Fedak has pedaled the extra yard in each of Colorado's 28 MS 150 bicycle rides to combat multiple sclerosis, but at the age of 70 he wondered if he could go a few extra miles.
Fedak and retired school teacher Chuck Freeman stopped their bicycles in Nebraska City Wednesday for lunch at Mary's Cafe on their way from the foothills of Colorado to the Atlantic Ocean.
The retired builder has participated in all of the MS 150 rides and expects to complete his current trip in time for the ride June 29.
“My main goal is to go to all the rides until they have the one that says 'we finally beat it,” he said.
He started out May 11 with about 2,000 miles between him and his goal of Brick, N.J. The men have been averaging about 80 miles a day and consider their campsite at Waubonsie State Park in Iowa about a third of the way.
Freeman, 60, had made a bicycle trip through this area 20 years ago. He said he has not continued to ride like Fedak, but is happy to take part in this current challenge to benefit the National MS Society.
“This is his bucket list and I was the crazy guy at the bar who said, Oh, I'll go with you,” Freeman said.
Freeman, who rides a portion of the distance, does most of the driving. Both men say they are expecting to lose some of their waistline through the experience.
Fedak rode from Denver to Kansas City 20 years ago, but had long considered a cross-country tour.
“I don't know how long I'll be able to do that, so I figure I will go out with some gusto,” he said.
Fedak typically raises $1,000 to $3,000 for the MS Society, but this year has set a goal of $10,000.
He said a friend invited him to the first MS 150 and he is one of only a few riders remaining that have participated in all 28.
Fedak said he had some friends with MS, but his commitment to fighting the disease as the rides went on.
“Some of the people I rode with have not been able to go on because of MS,” he said.
The push forward for Fedak and Freeman include rain, wind and a 100-degree day around Minden, Neb.
Fedak said the hills between Syracuse and Nebraska City are not steeper than mountain highways, but they have long climbs. He described the uphill climb on one hills as two miles long and difficult.