BIKE TOUR FINDS ITS LEGS IN KANSAS
Elmer Jackson makes it to the peak of a monster incline in Colorado late last month. (Photo courtesy of Tim Hathaway)
Two weeks after the sudden departure of their one-man support crew, Elmer and Jeff Jackson’s pedalthon from San Francisco to Sandy Hook has picked up steam.
redbankgreen caught up with the Jacksons by phone on Sunday, our first contact with them since sagmobile driver and documentarist Tim Hathaway flew home to Red Bank late last month, deliberately forcing an ailing Jeff off his bike and into the car.
They were in Hutchinson, Kansas, just about halfway home on their ‘No Regrets‘ tour and they were about to catch a matinee of ‘Hancock‘ following an easy 50-ride by Elmer that morning.
“”He could be getting faster,” Jeff says of his father. “He’s definitely gotten much stronger the farther we’ve gone.”
With the tough peaks of the Sierras and the even tougher Rockies behind him, Elmer’s been racking up the flatland mileage, logging daily totals of 105, 75, 65 and 103, 50-plus and 50 miles on consecutive days last week, Jeff says.
“I’m turning from a fat man into a bicyclist,” Elmer chimes in.
Jeff, who’s now his father’s sagman, says Hathaway’s departure was regrettable, but amicable.
“We wish Tim had stayed, because he was doing so much,” including keeping a blog of the tour, he says. “But one thing he was concerned about was that I kept have these heat exhaustion events and wasn’t taking good enough care of myself.”
Hathaway’s move forced Jeff from his handlebars to the steering wheel of the Honda the Jacksons bought on arrival in San Francisco.
His new role is bittersweet, Jeff says.
“I would have rather have been riding. I would have enjoyed growing up in that way and being part of what my dad is doing in an more intimate and personal way,” he says.
Still, the tour, a fundraiser for the West Side Christian Academy, which Elmer founded and they both teach in, goes on, and he’s part of it, he says.
The Jackson’s now anticipate reaching Sandy Hook in mid-August; Elmer’s shooting for Aug. 12.