John Cash’s annual fundraising ride up Saluda Grade Saturday

Published 11:48 am Friday, June 21, 2013

“Livestrong is not about Lance,” notes Cash. “He was the catylist.”

“We’re trying to make a difference for folks who can’t on their own,” Cash said. He hopes the community can lend financial support to this fifth annual event. This year, some 560,000 people will die from cancer. That’s 1,500 per day, or just over one per minute.

Donors need not ride. They can donate to the cause by dropping off contributions at Nature’s Storehouse, 427 South Trade Street, Tryon. Cash and his wife, Diane, own and operate the natural food and supplement store, which also offers massage therapy. The store will be open that day. All donations received during the event are tax-deductible under 501c3.

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The ride begins at 8:00 a.m. at the Tryon Youth Center, on Highway 176. Riders and others may purchase pizza at the youth center. Cash thanks center director Franklin McKaig for his time and effort in helping with the event. The youth center will be open from 8:00-2:00, as Cash expects to take some six hours to complete the ten round trips. This event is not a race. Cash notes, “We try to make it as informal as possible.”

A plate of pizza at the youth center is $10; a whole pie (which can be taken out) is $15. Proceeds from purchases will benefit the cause.

Cash notes that the event will be held rain or shine, but it can be called in case of dangerous weather.

While Highway 176 contains many switchbacks on the Saluda Grade, the average grade of the four miles is about five percent—far more inviting than some of the area’s most demanding climbs. The grade carries traffic through the gorge of the Pacolet River, and is a particularly scenic section of the two-lane highway. Cash will be riding a special-edition Trek bicycle made for Livestrong. Only forty specimens of this edition exist. They are marked with the number 27.5, signifying the figure at that time, of people living with cancer.

Cash is gratified about the continuing community support for this event. “We have the most generous community of anywhere I’ve lived,” he remarked.

“I’m passionate about it (the event),” said Cash. “When I rode with Lance in 2008, I came back passionate.”