CROSS HILL — Connor Roudabush recently moved from Greenwood to Charleston, but began a journey across the state Friday morning on only two wheels.
Roudabush, 25, was one of about 350 cyclists who started a 252-mile trek from Simpsonville to Mount Pleasant in “A Ride To Remember,” an event that raises money toward a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s going well,” Roudabush said. “I’m with the lead group, minus two guys in the front. We’re a good group, good solid riders. There are several packs zooming behind us.”
Each rider raised at least $750 to participate in the event. A Ride to Remember had raised $400,000 toward its goal of $600,000 before the event started. The money will go to the Alzheimer’s Association for support services, research and education.
The ride is split into three days. Cyclists rode 64 miles from Simpsonville to Newberry on Friday. They will stop in Orangeburg today before Sunday’s final leg.
Volunteers provided several different types of sandwiches and drinks at the Cross Hill stop along the ride’s path. That’s where Roudabush, a middle school teacher and cross country and track coach, stopped briefly to rest and recharge.
Roudabush said he picked up cycling after graduating from Newberry College. He participated in his second “Ride to Remember” in memory of his grandmother.
“My grandmother actually passed away five years ago from Alzheimer’s,” Roudabush said. “It’s had a pretty big impact on my family. It’s been through my family a few times, a few different people.”
Roudabush rode with “Nanny” written below “I Ride For...” on the bib safety-pinned to his back.
Greenville resident Conny Walker participated in her sixth “Ride to Remember,” this year with “Hope” written on her bib, along with a red heart.
“I’ve learned a lot about the Alzheimer’s disease,” Walker said. “I’ve learned about it and it’s kind of put my mind at rest in some ways.
“I don’t put names (on the bib) anymore. I say I ride for the hope that they will find some solution for it.”
Walker rode about 45 miles the day before in a “Day 0” ride from Ceasar’s Peak to Simpsonville. By the end of the ride, she will have traveled nearly 300 miles from South Carolina’s highest elevation point to its lowest point.
High humidity made the ride difficult, but overcast skies ensured conditions weren’t too hot. Sean McClintock, who rode in his second “Ride To Remember,” said he enjoyed the friendship among cyclists.
“It’s great support, it’s good camaraderie,” McClintock said. “I like the fact that everybody’s got their name on their bibs because you can always strike up a conversation with somebody. It’s a fun event, and everybody is here for a person or reason. Everybody’s got a story with Alzheimer’s.”