GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - A Greenville orthodontist was forced to stop his charity bike ride early due to a car accident involving one of his crew members.
Dr. Dennis Ross was riding coast to coast to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of Pitt County. He started his journey in Atlantic Beach at the end of September.
Ross had already biked 2,400 miles when the accident. He and his crew were just 550 miles from San Diego in the Arizona desert when a pick-up truck slammed into his brother-in-law's SUV.
"We're cruising along. We're probably a hundred miles from Tucson and all of a sudden you just hear this loud explosion," Ross said.
"It was a very, very loud crash. It made me jump. The pick-up truck swerved around and narrowly missed hitting me on the bike. And then the Tahoe was pushed forward and ended up 10-15 feet behind me so that's closer than we wanted to be …I wasn't in any shape to continue and neither was my brother-in-law," he said.
Ross was attempting to set a world record by completing the journey in less than two weeks. For his age group, Ross said he needed to complete the trip in less than 9 days and 10 hours.
He said he was motivated to help the Boys and Girls Club when its budget was cut.
"I think part of our social responsibility is doing for those who don't have what we have," he said.
"It's not something that you could just go out and do. But I've been preparing for a year. A couple times a week I would ride to Virginia and back," Ross said.
On average, Ross said he biked 320 miles per day. He would ride for 20 hours, and then sleep for 4 hours and then get up and do it all over again.
"I was getting dreadfully tired. It was getting really, really hard," he said.
However, he said the support from his team, people back home and even strangers on the street kept him going, even during the hardest of days.
"It was raining so hard but you don't quit. You can't quit. You keep going," Ross said.
"Is it disappointing? Yeah, it's disappointing. But the rest of the trip can be done at a later time should we decide to do that. It wouldn't qualify for any records but it would be a completed journey," he said.
No one was injured in the car accident.
Dr. Ross raised nearly $70,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Pitt County.
He said he hasn't decided if he will complete the journey, but we'll keep you posted when he makes a final decision.