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Nashville or Bust... A Year in the Making... 4 Days Away!

This non profit began in the middle of Covid, as a response to the pandemic ruining all of our lives, the economy and the entirety of the music industry. Kevin McCarthy and I decided to turn our desire to cycle, in to a desire to cycle while making a difference any way that we could. McCarthy had been cycling for quite some time, however for me, it meant that I had to begin training immediately, and intensely. I needed to learn what it means (and feels like) to ride a bike 7 days a week across the country... in 7 short months...

I started "piddling" around on the bike in the early Fall of 2020 just to see how it would feel. Graciously, a now good friend, Byron Labare sold me his "extra" Cannondale CAAD12 (for far less than he paid) because he wanted to support the cause. I took it out for a few rides and I instantly felt the desire to be fully invested in this sport. So, I bought my first kit, went to Outspokin Bicycles on South Dale Mabry in Tampa, bought some socks, clip in pedals, a Garmin 1030 and some Specialized shoes from Kirk Kirkleton (as he is known on IG).

January 2021 marked the 40th year of my birth (and I thought to myself in my best Morgan Freeman narrator voice), "get busy livin' or get busy dyin'..."

With that, I began riding 50 miles a week, then 100, then 150.... Then I started training on any hills I could find. I drove to the Adirondacks to get some actual hills in and test my legs three weeks before the trip... Ill admit, I was nervous... However, it's amazing how your body "antes up" when you push it to its limits.

During my training, around March of 2021, I met a chap named Duke Myers... Duke was riding from St. Pete to Jacksonville on the Coast 2 Coast Trail. I joined for the Tampa to Orlando portion to test myself on cycling and camping. These little tests mattered, and I did a lot of them... Knowing what it will feel like to ride all day, sleep in a strange place, strange bed, and to cope with the discomforts of being on the road. It was an excellent experiment, not only for my own intel, but because I found my riding partner for Ride For Music's Tampa to Nashville journey in Mr. Duke Myers... He is a great guy, he's on an adventure of his own and I am thankful that the universe saw fit for us to cross paths. The journey has had its challenges, in many forms, but I am certain our friendship and bond over this experience will be long lasting.

As we approach our final 4 days on this trek, I would be a jerk not to mention our faithful Tour Manager, Team Mom and overall "Bad Ass" in Kelly Flynn. Kelly joined us on the campaign as our RV driver, organizer, campsite arranger, laundry helper, overall problem solver and by God, she can do maintenance and oil changes on an the RV and the generator (which is a massive help as it determines our comfort and ability to ride the next day). Kelly is the girlfriend of my good friend Dominic Nelson and a big thanks goes out to him for living 6 weeks without her so she could help us out on the road. Thank you Kelly.... We could not have completed this journey without you. You are every bit a Member of this cycling team and this cause. We love you....

We will ride a few more days through the plateau from the Smoky Mountain range into the wonderful small towns of Tennessee as we arrive in Nashville on Friday October 1... We have several friends flying up for the weekend to celebrate with us and we cant wait for the weekend! We will be home in Tampa on October 4th and look forward to seeing everyone...

Thank you so much for all of you that have pledged your support. Please know that this non-profit is just at its beginning and we have many great announcements and news items coming in the near future.

Last but not least, we will continue this journey of riding across America in 2022 as we plan to ride over 3,000 miles from sunny Los Angeles to the Big Apple, a true Coast to Coast experience...

On the fundraising front... We are about 50% to our goal of $50,000 and thats amazing. We will be continuing this fundraising effort through the end of 2020 as we have several more local events planned in Tampa to help us complete this goal. Please stay tuned for those news items on this blog and in our emails.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart... This organization will not exist without you.

Kevin Lilly

Founder - Ride For Music