Miles of Smiles

MILES OF  SMILES 100
July 26, 2014

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The History of the Miles of Smiles 100

The Miles of Smiles became about because I wanted to do a century ride (100 miles) on my bicycle. And since I had never done one before, I thought maybe I could get some people together and join me. So in October of 2002, I laid out a 100 mile course, painted the arrows and sent out an e-mail asking if anyone wanted to join in the fun of the Fall Foliage 100. I had four people besides myself ride this first event. Carrie Hymer, Tim Clark, Mike Wells, Mark Sheppard and myself set out at 7:00am on the warm October Saturday morning. Only Tim Clark finished the 100 miles. The wind was brutal that day and the route wasn’t very friendly in those windy conditions. The rest of us ended up with 60 miles. But we all had a blast and promised to do it again next year.

The seed was planted. Perhaps more people might join us once they hear about the fun we had?Miles of Smiles

I moved the date to September in 2003 and changed the name to the Miles of Smiles 100. We had beautiful weather conditions and also had 25 riders. I had a new course laid out too. It was easier in wind but had more numerous hills. Why should a century be easy? I wanted first time century riders to know they did something special. It also was the first time hats were given to the riders.

2004 saw the date move to it’s present schedule, the last Saturday in July. I had run in the Bloomington to Peoria relay with the St Jude Runners and needed a way to raise contributions for St Jude Children’s Hospital. Merlin Anderson suggested I use the Miles of Smiles as a fund raising event for this wonderful charity. I couldn’t ask people to give me money to ride, so I made it a voluntary donation. To this day, it is a free event, but donations are accepted and all donated money goes to St Jude Children’s Hospital. I look at it this way, if St Jude doesn’t turn away anyone due to lack of money, how could I?

2004 was also the first year the riders got fed a great meal and washed it down with plenty of beverages after they finished. Those riders that did their first century were also given ‘1st Century Medals’ for their accomplishment.

This ride has developed quite a following since the first Miles of Smiles. Unoffically over 2000 riders have participated but more importantly, they have graciously donated over $65,000 to St Jude Children's Hospital! I never thought this little ride with such humble beginnings would become what it has.

There have been changes to this event through the years. This year's location is just one. I think you will enjoy the routes along the Moraine. We still have medals for riders that are doing their first ever century ride. And of course, the Iron Butt awards for those crazy individuals that feel 100 miles just isn't enough. All miles after midnight on the 27th count.

One thing that I will not change, as I promised my friend Denis Miller, as long as there is the Miles of Smiles 100, it will be to benefit St Jude Children's Hospital.

Thank You,

Geno

Previous Year Recaps:
2010 Recap

Miles of Smiles 100 Benefits St Jude


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Need more information? e-mail at bloomingtoncycle@gmail.com