As many of you know it was the MS Bike Tour this weekend. I was surprisingly not nervous about riding, however, I was alittle nervous about the weather. It was calling for rain ALL weekend. And who wants to ride 185km in the rain. I know it's for a good cause but...it just doesn't sound like fun.
So Friday I went to the city & picked up mine & other team mates packages. Did some shopping & went for dinner with the rest of the team (there was 24 or 26 team members).
Saturday morning we're in the long line of vehicles waiting to turn into the parking area & I realize..I don't know where my bike lock key is.
Now my bike lock is not only locking my bike. It's intertwined with another bike lock, another bike & the car. OMG!! Now I'm freaking out. This can't be happening. I'm in the front seat & my suitcase is in the very back. So one of my team mates is trying to look alittle through my suitcase..this isn't working. Since we're stopped we run around the car & change seats. Needless to say I'm ripping through my suitcase, panic written all over my face & the people in the car behind me are laughing. After a few minutes, I found the key in my toiletry bag. Why I put it in there is beyond me. But I found it just as we turned into the parking area. Whew!!
This is me being silly in the parking lot.
(You'll notice I'm wearing pink & black stripped knee high socks. I bought them for a breast cancer run last year & they were a last minute pack. I didn't care how they looked with my bike shorts...I figured they might help keep my legs warm. Well...it was a great decision. They were a conversation piece with other bikers & I was easy to find at the check stops. Do you know how hard it is to find people in a huge crowd, when everyone is wearing close to the same thing, black shorts/pants, jerseys & a bike helmet. So I was able to show up grab my snack & by then I'd hear my name being yelled. Group found.)
We then lined up to start with the other 1,960 riders. That's right there was 1,960 riders. I'm happy to say the weather was good in the beginning. It was alittle cloudy, but warm. The ride itself was alright. I went up one big hill & thought that seemed easier than last year. Well..it wasn't the really big hill I'd been thinking about. But I was able to make it up the really big hill also. Last big hill to go up, around 5km left to the finish line, it started to hail. It felt like we were being shot with bb guns, it hurt. It only lasted a few minutes. Funny thing, it didn't even rain at the finish line area?? Weird.
Day 1 Finish Line
Last year I tried to get a massage & they were booked solid. So I wasn't even gonna try this year. Well, we were standing in front of the beer gardens, trying to come up with a plan when a lady comes over & asks us if we want massages. I guess there was a whole bunch of open tables. No need to ask us twice..off we went to get massages. We didn't even put our bikes away, we left them in front of the beer garden. At this point we just didn't care, we wanted massages. Let me tell you...it was heaven.
Next we put our bikes away, went to the dorms & had hot showers. Sooo nice.
Went to go for dinner & it started to rain. Dinner & cocktails were yummy. At dinner we found out that the tornado watch had been lifted. That's good....I didn't even know we were on watch.
Since I was tired, I went to bed early, as did everyone else. During the night the storm really moved in. Very windy & pouring. Since my room was next to a tree, a branch kept hitting around the window all night. I just kept hoping this was gonna pass by morning. It didn't.
Day 2's - Let's just say..my day didn't start off to well. When I got onto the bus, I had a hard time getting my suitcase down the aisle. Then when I went to get off the bus, I slipped down the stairs. That's right..me & stairs don't mix well together. Then I just couldn't get myself orginized to leave.
The weather was miserable. Raining & super windy. I just kept thinking, this will pass & off I went. Well..the ride was so not nice...super challenging. At one of the stops I was told that it was 40km/h winds. And of course the wind couldn't be at my back, it had to be a head wind. Then when we turned onto another road we hoped it would go to our back. No such luck..it was then a cross wind. So now we're fighting to keep bikes upright. I don't know which one was worse.
At the first check stop so many people stopped riding & took the bus to the finish line. At each stop more & more people decided to take the bus. At the second stop, a group from our team said they were stopping. Now this is the 'hard core' group that has the expensive bikes & are super fast. I was riding with 2 other team mates & I told them I wasn't quitting. I was riding to the end no matter how long it took. They agreed.
When we stopped for lunch I noticed two out of four of bike rack screws were gone. One that connects it to the wheel stem & one that connects to the seat post. WTH. So I went to the bike support & asked if he had anything to fix my bike rack. Thankfully he had a screw to fix the most important one (wheel stem) & he fixed it up for me.
At lunch we met up with the team mates & one girl wanted to join us for the ride as everyone else was going to take the bus. As challenging as it was, we were there for each other. We encourage each other. One told me she wanted to quit...I said no (I know, I'm mean), but she continued. There came a point I was hurting, my quads where burning, my butt was in pain, I was wet, my hands were cold/numb, I looked up & saw this:
That's right...a guy rode the whole thing on a unicycle. How can I complain about how hard this is, when a guy is riding on a unicycle. I have2 tires & gears...this has gotta be way easier than what he's doing. Then I'd pass people with the shirts that say 'I have MS that's why I ride'. How much more motivation do you need to continue. I'm healthy, have 2 tires & have gears. I can do this. I also know if I quit..I'll be so disappointed in myself. I also kept repeating a quote I have posted on my visual wall 'pain is temporary, glory and pride is forever'....Just alittle further!!!!
There was a few monster hills..but surprisingly I made it up all of them. A few people where walking their bikes up & when I passed them they hooted, hollered & yelled good job. Everyone was super supportive because..well, there's not many of us left.
The stops at random pull outs became more frequent at this point...just to get together again, regroup, give our butts a little break & mentally prepare for 'just a little further'.
Then we saw it..the 10km sign..6km..5 km..4km..3km..2km. At 2km we stopped & one of the team mates called her husband to say 'get ready we're coming in'. 2km later we crossed the finish line....together...4 strong. WE DID IT!! And to our surprise most of our team was still there waiting for us & taking pictures as we crossed.
Now I'm not much of a hugger....but let me tell..I was hugging anyone who would hug me & was sooooo teary eyed.
I was so happy I finished I jumped up & kicked my heels together for my finish picture (well, in my head that's what I thought I was doing in, but apparently I didn't jump very high & I don't think my heels even met each other)
Things I found out after the ride...
3 other team mates (that left when we were just sitting down for lunch) decided to not take the bus & ride to the next stop & see how they felt. Well they then rode to the next stop, then the next, then the next & then crossed the finish line. So 7 of us on the team were able to finish the whole 185km. Some members on our team couldn't finish due to health reasons &/or injures..so I'm proud of them for even starting day 2 & for how far they did ride.
I talked with an organizer yesterday & she told me that she had talked to a rider who's been doing this for 15+ years & he said he's never seen the weather this bad during the ride.
So..will I do this again next year you ask?? H*ll ya..can't wait.