My husband, Todd, rode in the 26th Annual City to Shore Bike Tour this past Saturday. He colleted a good amount of money for the charity and I decided to post the email he sent his sponsors yesterday. After reading it I’m sure you’ll feel a deep compassion for our children. The poor kids just don’t have a chance.
The Ride – Todd and Stan’s Inaugural MS150 Bike Tour
I am sending this message to all of you that sponsored me in the 2006 MS150 Bike Tour to thank you once again for your kindness and to give you a run-down on how the ride went. I will provide an executive summary first and then more detail afterwards with as much humor as I can inject into a painful experience.
For those that do not know, Stan is a very good friend of mine and fellow staff member, that signed up for this adventure with me…..well we kind of coerced each other into it.
I know some of you (i.e. Tom) like information provided in quick points of interest, so here you go:
Got up early…..rain
Made it to starting line……rain
Started race…..light rain
More rain……then heavy rain….then light rain……finally stopped after two hours……during this time – misery.
Totally soaked, but dried out after awhile
There are actually hills in New Jersey!
Made 1st rest stop (20 miles)….everything OK
Made 2nd rest stop (+ 10 miles)….ate lunch….fell because I had my feet clipped into my pedals and could not get them out in time……ouch!
Made 3rd rest stop (+ 15 miles)….exhausted…pain…nothing left in the tank.
Got on the bus to take us to finish line.
Betsy picked up Stan and I, or more appropriately what was left of us, and took us home.
Goal for race: 25 miles
Distance Traveled: 46 miles
Average Speed: 11 mph
Max Speed: 22 mph
Total Riding Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
This ends the Executive Summary
Some initial information:
When Stan and I signed up to do this, we did not even have bikes.
Our original goal was to ride the 25 mile course.
After we got our bike on July 8th, Stan road about 2-3 times a week; I however road only 1-2 a week, but was swimming in the mornings 2 times a week.
Our typical ride was around 12-15 miles.
I had one 20 mile test ride and did OK.
I had one 40 mile ride on the Saturday before the race and just about killed myself since I did not eat anything before or during the ride…..I know…..IDIOT!!!
Ok, on with the story.
First, I woke up ( 4:30am) and realized it was raining and asked myself if I was nuts to ride in the rain. I decided that I was and proceeded to get my bike loaded up and head on over to Stan’s house to pick up my fellow loon.
Got to Stan’s and loaded up him and his bike. Started for New Jersey while we steadily tried to talk ourselves into still riding in this thing in the rain. We saw cars passing us on the freeway with bags covering their bike seats and thought “that was a good idea, too bad we did not think of it”.
Traffic was absolutely horrible once we got closer to the Starting Line. There were actually people getting dropped off on the side of the freeway by friends or spouses, unloading their bikes and riding off the freeway to the Starting area……absolutely nuts!! Stan and I thought it best to wait in the nice dry truck.
Once we finally arrived at the Starting area, which took 45 minutes to travel about one mile, it was still raining. We got out of the truck and prepared for our adventure.
With bikes ready to go and riders pretty sure they were ready to go, we headed for the Starting area where there were 6,000 other folks doing the same thing. What a nightmare….rain, people everywhere all heading in different directions to check-in, pick jerseys, go to the bathroom, etc. I am not a big fan of large crowds, especially in the dark, in the rain, all with bikes…….I just wanted to get out of there and on the road.
Unfortunately Stan and I missed the team photo while standing in line to use one of the sparkling clean port-a-potties.
After our port-a-potty business was taken care of, we headed for the actual Starting line and embarked on our adventure like two intrepid explorers…..already soaked to the bone, cold, and questioning our sanity with each pedal stroke.
The first thing we hit was a hill……now we were told that there we not any hills on the bike route, but those that told us that were apparently either kidding or do not know what hills are!!
There was a mass of people riding, very close together with rooster tails coming off all of the tires….water was everywhere!!! Poor Stan wears glasses and could not see a thing; I left mine in the truck because I figured that I would not be able to see anyway.
Lesson Learned #1 – roadway stripes are very slippery when wet. I found this out the hard way, but luckily did not crash…..recovered gracefully, at least that is how I choose to see it.
The rain was light at first, then got really heavy, back to light again and then finally stopped just before the first rest stop.
I could actually feel rivers of water running down my legs while riding, pouring into the back of my bike shoes and squirting out the toe on each pedal stroke…..”we’re havin’ some fun now, aren’t we Stan?”..…Stan’s response as he raised his eyebrows and crossed his eyes at me, “Oh yeah, sure we are.”
Made it to the first rest stop at the 20 mile mark……madness!!! There were people and bikes everywhere. At least it had stopped raining by this time. Stan and I felt pretty good. We ate a banana, checked out water supply, and headed out after about a 10 minute break.
On the road again…..going places that I’ve never been….the life I love is making music with my friends——-oh wait, that is a song.
Heading now towards rest stop #2 where we will get lunch. This was an additional 10 miles out.
While riding with Stan on my back wheel, I hear this awful crack and clatter and instantly think that my pal has just exited the race via a nasty fall. I turn to see that he is still behind me, but slowing down. Come to find out it was the rear light he has on his bike which decided it had had enough abuse and went sailing off the bike and down the street. Stan collected said light, which no longer works…..go figure, and we were off again.
We approached an intersection where we had to stop. I unclipped my right foot so that when I stopped I could put my right foot down, leaving my left foot clipped for the restart. My body decided that it would rather lean on my left foot…one problem….my left foot was still clipped in the pedal. Thank God that Stan was there to catch me while I ranked my foot out of the clip before falling flat on my booty in the middle of 100 fellow riders. I have found that Stan is always there when you need him.
Lesson Learned #2 – unclip both feet at upcoming stops.
We reached the 2nd rest stop which was more crowded than the first. At this time we were not feeling as great as we did at the previous rest stop. We waited in line to get something to eat. I was really not feeling like eating much of anything, but had been scolded by several of you that if I did not, than I was in big trouble. I had a chicken sandwich and a bottle of some type of V8 Splash and I was good to go. Stan and I refilled our water supplies, used the wonderful port-a-potty again, and prepared to leave after about a 30 minute break. It would be at this time that I decided that I should really fall one more time just for the heck of it and proceeded to do so for the same reason as I stated above…shoes clipped into pedals. Damage was minimal and we headed out again for rest stop #3, another 15 miles away.
Lesson Learned #3 – pay attention to Lesson Learned #2!!
About 5 miles into this leg of the journey, things started to hurt….A LOT!!!. I shall not mention what those things are, but suffice it to say they hurt badly!! Stan was having issues with his knees as well. Both our rear-ends were killing us from sitting on these bike seats for so long.
Did I mention hills already…..this route did not have any huge hills, but it did have plenty of gradual hills that just sucked the energy out of Stan and I.
After trying about 15 different ways to sit on my bike seat without causing a considerable amount of pain, we pulled over on the side of the road at about mile 40 in total. This is where Stan and I had a serious talk about body parts, their usefulness (or lack there of), and the contemplation of the universe…anything to not sit on that blasted bike seat any longer.
We made the decision to suck it up and make it to rest stop #3 even if it killed us, which we thought was a distinct possibility. After patting each other on the back, saying our good-bye’s in case of our sudden demise, we started once again for rest stop #3.
Did I mention hills……the last 5 miles to rest stop #3 was all UP HILL!!!!!! Those were the longest 5 miles that I have ever ridden in my life.
We pulled into rest stop #3 running on mere fumes at best. When we stopped, we just stood there for what seemed like forever. I could hardly move.
There are busses that drive along the route to pick up folks that cannot make it any further. We eagerly looked for the bus and found it……way over there.
We walked our bikes….slowly….to the bus, loaded them up and got on the bus…..or as we called it, the “Bus of Shame”. Everyone on the bus had one thing in common, they all looked absolutely EXHAUSTED!!!! We were in good company.
I could go on about the bus ride and how much fun that was as we bounced down the road on what was already hurting, but that would take another couple of pages……..one thing that did happen is that, because it took so long for the bus to get to the next rest stop, I had to use the restroom really bad. I finally had to have the bus driver pull over so I could run into the woods to go before my bladder burst.
Lesson Learned #4 – all modesty is lost when you have to go really bad!!
The bus FINALLY made it to the finish area and we picked up our bikes. Stan and I did not feel that it was right for us to ride across the finish line when we did not actually complete the 75 miles, so we walked them on the path behind the spectators….there was some comfort in that we were not the only ones doing so.
Lesson Learned #5 – Start at the appropriate Starting Line so as to finish at the
finish line. If Stan and I were to have started at the 50 mile point, we could have made it…..I know we could have!! Oh well, always next year.
We met up with Betsy, our savior with a vehicle. Proceeded to get something to eat, which looked great, tasted good, but I could just not bring myself to eat hardly anything.
Stan and Betsy dropped me off at the Starting Area so I could transfer my bike to my truck and head home. We said our good-byes and headed for the house.
Got home a little after 8pm, this made for a long day from 4:30am to 8pm. I took a shower, visited with the family for a little while, and then passed out in bed…apparently sprawled out with the TV on and the remote control in my hand. My loving wife moved me into my proper sleeping position and away I went to dreaming about riding in the race again next year…….
All in all this was a fantastic experience. So many people involved, people lined up on the roads cheering everyone on, kids waving and smiling at you as you rode by….even in the rain. The cause is a just one which made the pain all worth it and already has me thinking about riding next year.
Once again thank you so much for your generosity and support.