The Ride of His Life

By Kelli Grant
Published: November 27, 2009, 6:05 PM

While many of you raced to the mall or your favorite store this morning to get the best deal, a KELOLAND man is working on a race of his own. He's training to ride across the country on his bike. And he's not only doing it for himself, but for research and those affected by heart disease.

Mike Dunlap is training to ride over 3,000 miles in 12 days, and if he's successful, he'll be the first in South Dakota to do it.

“For cycling, for endurance cyclists, it's probably the Mecca, it's our tour de France sort of thing,” Dunlap said.

Twenty-nine years ago, the Race Across America took root and every year 30 cyclists from across the world compete for the winner's title. But this isn't an event Dunlap just has to show up to. He competed to see if he actually can do it.

“The qualifying race is basically a 24 hour race. You have to ride 24 hours and for 50 and over, I'm 52, I had to rise 400 miles in 24 hours. So if you can do that it proves that you're worthy to attempt the challenge,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap rode 422 miles and earned his spot. The race starts June 9th in Ocean Side, California, and ends in Annapolis Maryland. It's a feat he hopes inspires others.

“And I’m hoping if they say well this guy is crazy enough to try and ride 3,000 miles in 12 days, I can at least get off the couch and go for a half hour walk or something,” Dunlap said.

And he hopes it inspires his patients. Dunlap is the coordinator for Cardiac Rehab at Sanford. So in part, this race is for them.

“I get tons of motivation from my patients. You know my father died of coronary artery disease and so every time a patient comes in it kind of reminds me of him and what he had gone through,” Dunlap said.

He's also taking on the 3,021 miles to raise money for research at Sanford and the Dick Beardsley Foundation.

“To do this I have to ride probably 18 hours every day, get about 6 hours of rest during the day for 12 days if this thing goes according to plan,” Dunlap said.

And because at least 15 out of the 30 competing next summer won't make it to the finish line, Dunlap hopes to make South Dakota proud.

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