So if you ever run out of inspiration to go on living I want you to go to an MS Society event. This past weekend I had the pleasure and the pain of riding 150 miles on a bicycle to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Thanks to my wonderful friends, we were able to raise $580 to benefit the MS Society. MS is a debilitating disease with no cure. It affects women more than men, and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20-50. It is a disease that has the potential to leave you completely paralyzed and unable to control your own body, and the most worrisome part... doctors do not know what the main trigger for MS is. Please read more on this disease here and start spreading the word: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001747/
This was taken at the end of the race right before we all parted ways to go eat, shower, etc.
Ok, so I am not a road biker, that needs to be said first and foremost. Luckily I am an endurance athlete so I was able to hang around for the entire ride, but it was not without severe pain afflicting my backside. I bought a road bike about 8 weeks ago, a Trek Lexa and have been training for the last 6 weeks for this ride... considering I did the ride last year without training, I felt like this was me being responsible and going in the right direction as far as being a grown-up and being responsible for my decisions. Do not take my stupid actions from last year as an indicator that this ride is easy. This ride is what you make it. It can be hard, and it can be less hard but there is no way around being in the saddle for 8-10 totally brutal hours.
This picture was at mile 50, right before a killer hill right after we finished eating.
The first day, Saturday, June 11, 2011... we all get around. I wake up to my roommate blowing up the room with his gas blowouts. It was very alarming to say the least and absolutely repulsive. We get to the start line, take our awesome team photo (Riders on the Storm), meet up with our friends from another team and all start out together. We pretty much stayed in a group the entire ride, with the exception of two of our riders who preferred a slower pace. First day goes pretty well... at mile 60, I sort of just fell off the bike and sulked in my misery for about 10 minutes while performing Tantric-like stretches. Then a little girl came up to me (she was a volunteer at the rest stop) and started talking to me. She showed me that her pet rat could count to ten and that he knew his alphabet. Right as I was leaving, she gave me a little flower she picked and stuck it in my helmet as good luck and we said we would meet up at the finish line. How could anyone not be motivated by an 8 year old girl with a creative imagination volunteering her Saturday afternoon to help us poor riders and our poor mental state. She was a great help and so was the flower she gave me. We get to mile 100 on the first day... we all mostly finish together or within 20 minutes of each other, go have dinner, do a quick recap of the day, and discuss how disgusting Phil is for using the used spoon of a stranger.
Mile 50, eating lunch.
The second day, Sunday, June 12, 2011... again I wake up to the appetizing aroma and sound of my roommate shitting himself. Nothing to get your digestive track moving like the smell of someones insides right as you wake up. We miss breakfast because we read the schedule wrong... get to the start line and it is absolutely the most painful thing ever to sit on my seat. My ass feels like I had been pummeled by Lexington Steele all night long. He had no mercy for me and showed me who the boss was, thanks Lex I look forward to doing it again soon! So I get into the rhythm of pedaling and a few miles in, this super fast draft line goes flying by and most of my teammates are in it and tell me to hop in there... challenge accepted. I jump in toward the end of the draft line and I keep pace with them for maybe 2 miles (that's an optimistic number)... At that point the rider in front of me starts to fall back on the hills and doesn't recover. I can't get around him in time and I start to fall behind too. I pass him and then I lead our own small draft line of 4 riders for awhile, then another rider jumps in front of me to lead because my pace is too slow... I stayed with him for a few miles but honestly it got to be too much and I knew I would not make the 50 miles if I kept that pace up so I slowed back and three of us stuck together until the first rest stop a few miles away. That was about the extent of the excitement for the ride. Well we get to mile 34 and by this time my ass is on absolute fire. I seriously feel like I have a bad case of herpes that has burst open and is leaking its gooey goodness down my leg. One of my teammates told me that he had this stuff called Chamois Butter, aka butt butter that would help with it. So I get a small tube from him and go to the port-o-pot and apply liberally to my very tender backside. I cake that stuff on so thick that it is all over my hands, my gloves, my spandex, and my ass. I looked like a baby that had a bad diaper rash with Desitin caked all over it. It feels wet... goopy, very moist. We leave and I sit on my seat... immediately I feel disgusting and dirty like Lex might have left something behind. It took away the little bit of chafing I didn't know was going on, but that is about it. It was so wet and so sloppy feeling that I just wished I could have wiped it off, instead I had to ride 16 more miles with it on. The last 3 miles of the race my butt and my mental state were in complete agony, I drafted behind my fellow rider and tried to just concentrate on the distance between his wheel and mine instead of the intense pain that I was in. I vowed to buy a new seat after that ride no matter how much it costs, it is all about minor comfort when you are riding centuries apparently.
There were four of us from my team that crossed the finish line together and I am glad that I did stay with that group even though it was killing me, I got to see the MS Challenge walkers finishing their route and coming in. It overjoyed me and made me stop thinking about my sloppy swamp-ass. It was such an inspiration to see these people, many of them in wheel chairs or with braces on their legs walking or being pushed across the finish line. People who have been affected by this disease and instead of giving up and just sitting at home they are out living their lives and facing their disease with courage. Courage is said to be the discovery that you may not win, and still trying even though you know you can lose. These people are still trying even though ultimately, they may lose to this disease. We must never forget those that need our help, and we must never turn our backs on those weaker than us, instead we must lift them up and encourage them, help them because any day the tables can easily be turned and it could be us that are dependent on the generosity and compassion of others.
Team SSTi Cyclopaths, my new riding buddies
Me, Oksana, and Curt at the end of the first day.