Monday, June 29, 2009

MS Bike Ride Journal Day 2

Okay, pretend I wrote this on Saturday after the ride instead of two days later. I was tired.
I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. But when I woke up at 5:10 I decided it was probably better to just get up than to spend the next 20 minutes worrying about when the alarm was going to go off.
I packed up my things and headed by 5:30. After a quick trip to McDonald's drive-thru for a sausage and egg bagel, sans sausage, and a large OJ I was on my way up the canyon.
I worried because the temperature in Brigham City was around 60 that early in the morning. But as I headed up the canyon the temperature dropped: 50's, 40's, yikes! By the time I reached the fairgrounds it was a comfortable 51 degrees -- just as forecast.

Parked the car, checked the air pressure in my tires loaded my seat pack and set off for our team tent.

We snapped a quick team photo, made last minute adjustments, took one final potty break and moved to the start line.
With over 3,000 riders they have to start in waves simply to protect all the riders and not overwhelm law enforcement which has to manage the bike traffic and the regular car traffic through Logan.
The waves were started every five minutes starting at 7 am. I and two of my team riders, Joe Andersen and Paul Ellsworth, were at the very front of the sixth wave. Putting me at the front of a starting line is a bad idea. My mind immediately reverts back to my high school track days.

Following our police escort we took off at a nice clip -- I wasn't going to be passed in the first mile!

For the next 20 miles I worked my way through the throngs of cyclists being passed by many and passing even more. I had dropped Joe and Paul somewhere around mile three and would go the rest of the way on my own.

I made the first rest stop around mile 20 where I met up with several other of our team members (we had all started at different times.) At this point I felt great. The weather was comfortable and the course had been fairly flat.

This would be about the last time I would see any other riders from our team.
I plugged in my iPod and headed out.
I was able to maintain an 18 mph pace over the entire 100 mile course, stopping about every 20 miles to rest, eat a little and fill my water bottles. I finished with a ride time of 5:27 and an overall time of 6:15.
The last ten miles, as always, were the hardest. I jumped into a paceline with about 9 miles to go and rode with them for two miles. But their pace was just a little too fast for me and I dropped off. With five miles to go the song, "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M came on my iPod. I had to laugh out loud!
I pulled across the finish line to the cheers and congratulations of the MS staff and many supporters and received my commemorative medal ;-)
I was a great ride. The temperature never got above 85. The air was calm and the route was simply beautiful. I will definitely ride this one again.
After showering at the public pool shower and eating a meal of bratwurst, chips and water I waited at the tent for the rest of our team to arrive. We had four team members ride their first century ride and they all did great!
I headed home around 6 pm tired but happy. The best part was that I was able to raise $1,000 for this worthy cause. Thank you to all who supported me financially and otherwise.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My MS Bike Ride Journal Day 1

I arrived in Logan today, OK, actually I arrived in Brigham City. You see, when I was planning this little adventure I was feeling pretty tight. So I decided I could save a few bucks by staying in Brigham City instead of Logan where all the other riders stay thus driving the price of hotels up.
So, I arrived at the Crystal Inn Brigham City at about 3 pm. I checked into my room and immediately took a 1 1/2 hour nap.
I then drove through the canyon to the epicenter of the MS event: the Logan fairgrounds. Arriving just after 5 pm the check-in line snaked down the street about a hundred yards. I decided to walk around the "village" a while and wait for the line to get shorter (check-in started at 5 so this was the initial rush.)
The village is a hodge podge of gazebo style tents consisting of teams gathering for meals and relaxation and vendors hawking their wares. I decided at the last minute to bring up one of our tents and a credit union banner and got permission to set up camp on the edge of the village -- kind of a squatter I suppose.
I went back to the check in line which had shrunk by that time and checked in. I had reached my goal of $1,000 just a few hours earlier and made the cut for the Ruby Spoke Club. But as I opened my gift bag just a few minutes ago I noticed that they gave me the wrong jersey, doh!
As I went to set up our team tent the heavens opened and gave us what I hope will be the last bit of rain for at least a day or two.
We had a team dinner at an Italian Pizzeria in Smithfield called Callaway's (very good), located about 10 miles north of Logan. Our entire team raised just under $9,000 but we should have some more donations coming in which will put is over $9,000. The last time I headed this we raised about $4,000 so this year was a big success.
The ride starts at 7 am sharp. Because of my decision to stay in BC I will have to get up between 5 and 5:30, ugh, to make the 30 minute drive to Logan. We are meeting at 6:40 for a team picture and then will move to the starting area.
If all goes well, I hope to finish in about 6 hours. I know my training hasn't been as good as last time and I won't have Bret, my riding partner, along to pace me so I'm setting my goal lower than last time.
Well, better hit the hay. Morning will be here before I know it.