Monday, September 17, 2007

I DID IT!!!!

Saturday morning turned out to be very chilly for the start of the MS ride. I think the temp was in the mid 40's as we crossed the start line around 7:20 am. There were about 1,000 riders who signed up for the ride and I think we wound up with about 900 people who actually rode. About the time my odometer rolled to 42 miles it started to sprinkle on me. By the time I hit mile 60, I was riding in a thunderstorm with steady rains. I think we had hit the high for the day, by that time, which was somewhere in the low to mid 50's. The National MS Society had mapped out two routes - one of which was for 85 miles for those who just wanted to ride the "short" route and another that was 100 miles for the overachievers. I don't know if I missed my turn because it was difficult to see with the rain and sweat in my eyes, or if I was traveling with a group who intended to ride the century route. Whatever the case may be, I wound up on the century route and logged just under 100 miles by the time I finished on Saturday. I crossed the finish line in Joplin on the first day around 3:10 pm, which was not too bad for me given the circumstances. I took my bike to the "lock-up" area where they were keeping bikes overnight and I headed for a warm room at the Holiday Inn. I got there around 4 pm and there were several other bikers standing in the lobby waiting for a room. We had all pre-registered, but housekeeping didn't have rooms ready for us. Finally, at 4:30 pm, they had a room ready for me. I checked in and took the longest hot shower/bath in history. By that time, I was having pretty bad upper respiratory problems which, I'm sure, was a combination of pollen, cold air, and being wet and cold most of the day. Curt met me in Joplin around 6:30 pm on Saturday and we made a trip to Wal-Mart for some allergy meds and a sweater since I had no idea I'd need to pack for arctic weather. By the time Sunday rolled around, I didn't feel too bad. I got up, got dressed, checked out of the hotel, and headed back to Joplin High School to pick up my bike. I got my tires aired up and was in the lineup by 6:50 am. We crossed the starting line in Joplin right on time at 7 am. Not too far into the ride I started questioning whether or not I could make it back to Willard, which was almost 84 miles away. When I made it to the first rest stop, I started telling myself that I just had to make it to the next rest stop, all of which were about 10 to 12 miles apart. Every time I stopped, I'd take at least 10 minutes to stretch, have a snack, and replenish my drink bottles. About 15 miles from the finish line I wound up in the middle of another thunderstorm. The rain wasn't too bad and wasn't nearly as miserable as it had been on Saturday since the temperature was about 20 degrees higher. The lightning was incredible. I saw a couple of bolts of cloud-to-ground lightning, one of which hit in a wooded area across a field to my right. The sound of the "crackle" was fierce and shortly afterward I saw smoke rising out of the trees where it had hit. Had I been in a car, I never would have experienced that the way I did riding cross-country on a bicycle. I don't know how I made it back. A lot of the time I prayed or I told myself that I might be hurting, but that it was nothing compared to having MS. With God's help and a lot of determination I crossed the finish line in Willard at 3:20 pm yesterday. The total on my odometer for the weekend was right at 185 miles. I'm not hurting too bad today and am taking Robitussin for my wicked cough. I scheduled the day off from work since I wasn't too sure how I'd be feeling after the weekend, so I can lay around and stretch all day if I need to. I have included a link to some pictures below. I'm hoping to get some photos that were taken by professional photographers who were stationed along the route both days. If (when) I get those, I'll post them, as well.

Thank you, again, to all of you for your prayers, encouragement, and for your donations to the National MS Society in sponsoring my ride. The funds will, most definitely, be used for a worthy cause. I hope to be writing about the MS150 again - about this time next year!

1 comment:

Joni said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I knew you could do it. That is really awesome. Your pictures are great, too.

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