August 12, 2008

Bike race across South Dakota

No, it’s not me that is racing across the state of South Dakota this weekend on a bike, but my best friend Mike Dunlap is! Mike and I have been best friends for 30 years. We first met right about now 30 years ago, I was a new member of the South Dakota State University Cross-Country Team. I had never met any of my team mates before but I knew this guy name Mike Dunlap only from the newsletters our coach, Scott Underwood, would send out every week. It included how much mileage each of us ran each week. Mike and I were always within a few miles of each other every week. I liked to run a lot and so did Mike. When Mike and I first met, there was almost this instant bonding and we have been best friends ever since.

Mike was a heck of a runner! He was a South Dakota high school state champion in cross-country and track and his best marathon came at the 1983 Boston Marathon where Mike ran 2:18!

Unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, Mike had to have some knee surgeries over the following years and left the world of running for the world of biking, talk about someone who fell in love with their new sport, it was Mike! "Dun" was a fanatic about running, and now he was able to turn it over to biking.

Over the years I've watched his dedication to his bike and his new love for this sport, he is amazing! At age 51, Mike can still hang with the young bucks, he loves to train, and when there is a race, he is up for the challenge!

This weekend Mike will be racing his multi-speed bike across the entire state of South Dakota! The race begins on the Wyoming-South Dakota border and will finish about 450 miles later on the South Dakota-Minnesota border.

His wife, Karen, and their son, Ben, will be Mike's "pit crew". If I was not in New York this weekend to speak at a high school XC running camp, I'd be out there cheering and helping Mike to the finish!

If you’re traveling across South Dakota this weekend on Hwy 212 and you see this skinny guy all by his lonesome on a bike, slow down and give him a shout of encouragement, please give him a shout from me!

Mike has been a great biker for many years, but more importantly, he has been a wonderful friend to me even longer. Go get ‘em Mikey! If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on Mike to be the first one across the finish line!

I'll be thinking about you my friend, be safe and God Bless!

Beards :-)

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