Team Mike & The 2017 Jack & Back Bike Tour

Team Mike & The 2017 Jack & Back Bike Tour

Team Mike & The Jack & Back Bike Tour

October 7th & 8th , 2017

Wes Chapman & Cherrie Clark

Team Mike, after the ride, and before the whiskey

We got to know Mike Silverman in 1979 as first year MBA candidates at the Tuck School at Dartmouth, and have remained friends ever since. Mike came down with MS while at Tuck, and he’s gone on to a solid career and terrific family – never succumbing to the disease that inexorably robs mobility.

There is a surprisingly active group of Tuck Alums here in Nashville, including my old friend Cherrie Clay Clark, who has been on the faculty of the business school here at Vanderbilt for the last 10 years.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve done a Jack Daniels sponsored charity bike ride dedicated to MS research, and started Team Mike in honor of our old friend Mike Silverman.

This Jack Daniels sponsored ride is every October here in Middle Tennessee, unimaginatively called the Jack & Back.  The ride that runs from just south of Nashville Tennessee, to Lynchburg TN, home of Jack Daniel’s Whisky, and back the next day. The ride, now in its 23rd year, offers routes of 55 and 75 miles with terrific rest stops every 10-15 miles or so for the 600 riders.

Mike and his wife Randy came down to join the ride this year, enjoy the wonderful scenery, sample some fine Jack Daniel’s whiskey and join a bunch of old friends raising money and consciousness for MS research.

Cherrie Clark chowing down at rest stop #2

This is the second year of Team Mike, and we did well, raising $7,700 for the cause, thanks in large part to our classmates from Tuck – and we thank you all again. We did well with money, but failed in class participation, only 2 riders on the team – the authors. Part of the cause of the scarce participation was the untimely arrival of Hurricane Nate, which threatened day 1, and resulted in the cancellation of day 2.

Crowds at rest stop 3

Cherrie crosses the finish well ahead of the pack

The ride was fast, dry and beautiful – the rolling hills and horse farms of Middle Tennessee. Cherrie proved to be a good rider, and dropped me at the first rest stop. It took me the next 20 miles to catch up. Despite our advancing age, we finished ahead of most of the pack, had a quick lunch (and post ride massage), and joined Mike and the traveling team for a tour of the distillery and dinner.

Mike and Gentleman Jack listening to tour guide

In a way that I had not expected, the distillery tour and post ride dinner were simply wonderful – and it was entirely about the chance to catch up with old friends after far too long. The conversation was almost entirely about the present and the future; with our shared past, the distillery tour and mediocre post ride dinner as comic foils. It was fun, engaging and probably the best mini-reunion that I’ve have ever had. Mike and Randy headed back to NYC the next morning at O dark 40 facing a long drive and a mild case of indigestion from our post bike ride dinner.

I don’t know if we can swing it, but I sure hope that they come back next year – after all the years, it is still amazing what an extraordinary group of people with whom we went to Tuck.

Adios, from Nashville, and the 2017 Jack & Back


Wes Chapman
Written by Wes Chapman

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