I joined the American Legion "100 Miles for Hope" campaign back on Aug. 5, when I first found out about it. I can't run very far or frequently these days, so I planned to complete the 100 miles on bicycle. Doing so by Veterans Day would be easy for me since I commute by bike to work each day it's above 40 degrees and not raining (which, in southeastern Texas, means I can bike the 3 miles each way to work most days). I wanted to make it more of a personal challenge/sacrifice, so initially I decided to try for 500 miles by Veterans Day, which I calculated would allow time for me to accomplish the goal while allowing for possible bad weather, bike maintenance or illness. Time each day to ride, in fact, was what I deemed would be my greatest obstacle. Well, when Hurricane Laura passed east of us in late August, it knocked out power for a bit and the high school where I teach shut down for a day. I decided to take advantage of the unplanned free time and was able to ride 100 miles in a single day! After that, I re-evaluated my goal. 500 miles became 1,000 … and ultimately I figured biking 2,000 miles in 100 days would involve some real sacrifice, again mostly of time, but also "general wear and tear" on my bike and myself! I calculated how many miles per week I'd need, and allowed a few days at the end of the challenge to catch up if needed. Despite two flat tires and being very sore most days, everything came together and I hit the 2,000th mile on my way home from work on Friday, Oct. 30! As of this writing, Nov. 9, I am over 2,100 miles, so even if my bicycle's odometer was a little bit off, I still surpassed my goal. Thank you, American Legion, for the nice shirt and the opportunity to share this challenge with my family and friends!
Chris McMartin, Lt Col, USAF (ret.)
American Legion Post 305