The 2012 MS bike ride for MS is in the history books. This is my report of my experiences intended mainly for those good people who sponsored me. The rest of you can read, too, but I’ll hit you up next year.
My nephew Jon, a.k.a. Guy, accompanied me for the weekend. At the advice of my wise-guy brother, Dave, we adopted the moniker “Team Photo”. At first the name was merely an attempt to be clever. (We didn’t need a sign in our group picture since there was already a sign announcing the location of “team photos”.)
As the ride approached, however, Guy inspired me to make better use of the name. I affixed this photograph of my MS support group:
…to the back of my jacket for all to see. We were now truly Team Photo.
The route that I signed up for was advertised as 25K, which translates to 15 miles. The last two times I did it, the length was closer to 12 miles. I’m not in any condition to do the 50K that I did back in my pre-MS days, so the 25K suits me just fine, thank you very much. My generous and understanding sponsors don’t seem to mind that I’m taking the easy way out.
Not so easy this year, though. The short route has changed since I did this ride last in 2009. This year’s 25K was actually 18.71 miles. And instead of a leisurely jaunt around the mostly flat state forest, the final three miles of this route were a long, low, uphill grade. My prospects for a triumphant ride were starting to dim.
The forecast was becoming less and less dismal as my 11:30 AM starting time approached, but the weather never got the memo. It remained cool and cloudy with occasional spits of rain, actually good conditions for a real ride. Still, I would have preferred a little warmth.
For the first eight or so miles, things were looking OK. Soon after, I started to bog down. People were passing me in large clumps. After a while there was no one left to pass me. It was pretty pathetic. Nonagenarians and infants were leaving me in their virtual dust. I’m not certain, but I thought I was overtaken by a ferret on a unicycle. After a while, the only people behind me were in the 2013 ride.
By that point I was completely wasted. Each stroke of the pedal was arduous and felt like it might be my last, not just of the ride, but of my life! I truly despaired of making the first rest stop (at 12 miles), never mind the finish line six miles beyond it. As the Good Book promises, however, God’s grace was sufficient for me; His strength made perfect in my weakness. I took a 10-15 minute break at the rest stop, downed a couple of refreshments and got back on the route.
Surprisingly, amazingly, miraculously, I felt great from that point on. (All except my butt, but that’s another story. 🙂 ) Guy, who had ridden the 100K with the greatest of ease, greeted me upon my arrival at the finish.
Here we are at the end, Team Photo in all our tarnished glory:
Our goal was to raise $2000 for the cause. We ended up with $3287.50 and some great memories.
I want to express profound and sincere gratitude for all those of you who supported my journey with your money and your prayers. Both are deeply appreciated.
God bless you all.
See you next year when, God willing, Team Photo shall rise again!