10 Years Riding for MS!!!
1st year for Children's Hospital with the Courage Classic!
Thank you for your Support!
Why I ride
I absolutely love to give back to the community as I feel so fortunate for my continued good health and high energy level. And giving back is even more fun when aligned with my passion for biking, and values for exercise and fitness and fun recreation. But even more importantly is the benefit these two great organizations provide for persons afflicted with MS and children's needs. You've witnessed my passion regarding the MS 150 mile ride and this year my story extends to Children's because of two dear friends and in particular, Judy Reed, whose grandbaby died in February 2006.
Her son and daughter-in-law and the baby, Kenna, spent over 5 months in Children's where they experienced so much caring, healing, and nuturing from a great staff of doctors, nurses, and respritory thearapists. They struggled with them as they tried to figure out how to help Kenna, as well as sharing the joyful times that came as they made steps foward.
Unfortunately, Kenna passed away in February of 2006. Kenna's parents say that if it were not for the staff and the facility, that they would not have had that time to spend with her. Children's Hospital needs all the support that you can give, so that they might be able to help the next sick child who comes through the door with the latest research, newest facility, best technology, and greatest staff.
The Children's Hospital is one of the best hospitals for kids in the United States. The caring staff and physicians there have one thing in mind--what's best for kids and their families. Children's conducts more pediatric research than any other hospital in the Rocky Mountain region--and they're in the top 10 percent of research hospitals in the region. It also trains more pediatricians and pediatric specialists than any other regional hospital.
Thanks a Million for your Support!
MS Ride - 2006
It was the perfect ride—my ninth and best year ever! Forecast was originally for early morning sun and late morning showers. However the sun never appeared and with each passing hour, the clouds got thicker and hung lower, with no hope for a ray of warm, bright light.
It rained almost from the get go. It started misting within the first 5 miles and then spitting, gradually turning into a steady rain. The riders ahead splattered rooster tails from their back wheel. I had my rain gear; though it wasn’t very waterproof, it kept the wind and cold out. I found a rhythm and comfortable pace and approached each new ascent as a challenge to distract my thinking about how dreary and uncomfortable it was. And I thought about the complexities of living with MS; of the challenges of just managing getting out of bed every day and trying to accomplish the normal functions we all take for granted. I thought about the constant struggle people afflicted with MS deal with and the hardship on their families and friends. And, I contemplated how grateful I am for all the energy I had to propel myself forward.
An early obstacle for me was to descend a ˝ mile dirt road that was fairly steep at the top. But any dirt/gravel road heading in a downward direction to me is freaky. I knew about the road because I had taken a test drive the day before to get the lay of the land. I decided I wasn’t going to let the thought of it overpower me but first I had to warn all the people I was riding with about it. You know how misery likes company! After that, I just decided not to think about it any more and to be prepared to walk down it if I had too. As it turned out, they requested that the bikers dismount and about 99% did so. I was so glad I didn’t spend my energy worrying about it.
So, even with that gloomy start, it didn’t dampen my spirits. For me, the weather was actually a good thing because I tend to do much better when it is cooler. I felt energized and stronger than I had ever felt before. Another factor for my high energy besides the weather was my attitude. I just decided that I was going to have a great time and the weather didn’t have anything to do with it.
At the lunch stop, just under 50 miles into the ride, it was suddenly over. I wasn’t ready for it to end but it was a good thing. Many of us who had stopped for lunch began to shiver and some quite extensively. Then we heard the volunteers tell the bikers who were starting to take off that they needed to board the bus. They were closing the route because there were too many accidents and many had hypothermia. In a way I was relieved but I felt cheated. It sure felt good to get on the warm bus though. Then, I remembered that I stocked up on a carb lunch to replenish my depleted body and because of the shuttle back, no calories would be burned till the next day!
Sunday was a completely different story. The overcast sky opened up to scattered clouds and portions of sun. It was great to see our shadows as we climbed out of Colorado Springs via Nevada and highway 115. The cooler weather with warmer sun was a welcome surprise and we wondered how long it would last. It carried the day until the very end. Before long we were at our lunch break contemplating climbing the last 30 miles to the Gorge. I had decided that these were the best conditions I had experienced in the past 9 years for such a feat and I very much wanted to continue. It was now or never to make that climb--the last time having been in 1999. At the lunch break however, we were warned of storms forming at the Gorge in about an hour and we estimated it would take at least 3 hours to complete the ride. We forged ahead stopping every several miles to rethink our decision. Finally we had to make the ultimate decision as we were approaching the portion of US 50 that is a very steep, winding descent and we knew we would not be able to turn around and climb back up. We unanimously agreed to go forward and never looked back.
The back side of the Gorge, after a 5 mile climb, is called The Wall. And, indeed it was. Did I mention I felt cheated the day before? Two miles long, some sections were so steep the odometer never moved off 0! I tried to traverse wherever I could but the people walking their bikes and light traffic occasionally foiled my plan. But we kept going. And finally, amidst the cheers of others who had gone before us, we made it. And right above us and slightly behind was a big dark thunder cloud threatening to burst on us. We hurriedly crossed the infamous “highest suspension bridge” as a gust of wind challenged our stability. Once across, we quickly hailed a sag wagon to take us back down. We were fortunate to find one just as lightening appeared and the sky let loose.
It was a wonderful ride and the MS 150 annual bike ride is a wonderful way to raise money to end the devastating effects of the disease.
MS Ride - 2004
This year, my 7th, was the toughest year ever for the MS 150 mile bike ride. The first day was a little freaky because it poured from the time I woke up at 3:30 a.m. till I arrived in Conifer. Miraculously the rain stopped as soon as we unloaded our bikes. But the streets were already oil soaked from the moisture and we had to face an 8 mile descent on a narrow, winding mountain road welcoming us on our journey. Aside from that, the rest of the day went pretty well until we experienced more rain and slick roads toward the end. We had some tough climbs but that’s what we trained for and the clouds kept it pretty cool. The scenery was delightful especially as we meandered our way along a four mile stretch of a dirt-packed road down the winding Platt River.
Although we traveled the same route back and anticipated the climbs from the declines of the previous day, day two presented a much different scene. We had a 15 mile climb up 2,000 feet, a steep 1,500 foot climb up 5 miles and another 2,000 foot climb of 8 miles to the finish. Okay, we did have some down hills too but we really earned them. Although the last 8 miles weren’t quite as grueling as that 5 mile climb, the fact that it was at the end of the two day ride and the clouds were hiding from the sun made it pretty rough.
Now, our fearless Motley Spokes team leader, Su Allen, sent these awesome statistics:
The 150 mile ride that we completed in Conifer yesterday entailed 13,744 feet of climbing (6,017 feet on Saturday and 7, 725 feet on Sunday). For “Those who dared”, the Triple Bypass on Saturday consisted of 120 miles and 10,310 feet of climbing. This calculates to approximately 91 feet of climb per total miles of riding on the MS 150 compared to approximately 86 feet of climb per mile on the Triple. Are we Awesom or what?
I have to tell you though that I completed the 2 day ride WITHOUT a sag wagon but thoughts about thrusting myself on the hood of the vehicle to flag one down consumed me. In fact, if they weren’t all full and if I didn’t have to wait another 2 hours for the next one, I probably would have done that. But the hot sun and approximate 98 degree temperatures (someone said 100!) sapped my energy and left little oomph for even a wimpy splat on the hood. After a minute of thought I quickly rationalized some valid reasons to continue. First, I wanted to see how bad the last 8 miles really were. Then, I figured that I would be able to ascend the last “hill” faster than the 2 hour wait in the sun for a sag wagon. And I did—barely! But the bigger reason that loomed over my decision was that I was riding with two team members ages 65 and 70 who had no intention of sagging! Imagine that!
While applauding fellow riders as they dragged their hot, sweaty, exhausted bodies up the last steep incline—about an hour after I came in—I chatted with a tall, lean and fit rider about the ordeal. He lamented, “I ride 100 miles twice a week, and I thought it was difficult this year. I brought two friends along for their first ride and they will never return. It’s unfortunate because this is supposed to be for average riders.” I smiled, knowing that I’m quite an average rider and I DID IT!
As I walked away with a big grin on my face next to the 70 year old lady who trailed only a bike length behind me, I noticed a helmet in the trash can. We looked at each other and laughed thinking someone must have been pretty frustrated!
Along the route, when I wasn’t peddling uphill slower than ants or flying down faster than a roller coaster, I observed the damage and devastation of the Hayman fire. It reminded me of the devastating effects and havoc that MS has on people’s lives. I knew my ordeal would be over in just a couple of hours and I knew there was help if I absolutely needed it but that isn’t the case for folks afflicted with MS. Year after year we ride to collect money for research and many advances have been made but the battle continues until there is a cure. I can’t imagine climbing an endless hill without knowing when or if there will be relief.
My first encounter with MS was back in Georgia when I observed a 31 year old neighbor carrying his young two month old baby up the walkway to his apartment in Peach Tree Gardens. I glanced away and when I looked back I had to adjust my gaze to the ground where he had fallen--the baby trapped partly under him -crying. They both survived. That vision of 36 years ago remained etched in my mind but it wasn’t until I was caught in a corporate layoff in 1998 that I revisited MS as a cause.
In reinventing my life after corporate chaos a friend who had been riding for a number of years introduced me to the MS ride. Incidentally, he has diabetes and did the ride for 10 years until this past year. I’ve been riding ever since and have encountered many pretty amazing people who in one way or the other are afflicted with MS. I could have picked diabetes, arthritis or any number of diseases that are serious, but this in part resonated with me because of the people I met along the way, my love for the outdoors, and biking and exercising while raising money for a cause that has the highest incidence in Colorado.
I’ve since joined the Motley Spokes team and our leader, Su Allen, is the NUMBER ONE fund raiser who raised $21,000 last year alone! She is quite an inspiration not only because of her stellar accomplishment but this lady is 65 years old! And I keep thinking if she can do it so can I!
MS 150 Ride - 2003
Saturday was beautiful. We traversed gorgeous rolling hills past farms, cattle and horses while listening to birds, roosters and other noisy creatures of the morning as the sun peeked over the horizon to warm us. The first 52 miles were quite pleasant yet provided a nice aerobic workout. Then the climb began from 4,900 ft to 7,985, and temperatures soared into the 90’s. Devil’s Gulch was one mean, steep hill with nasty switchbacks. I decided to walk my bike a little when I realized I was clocking 2.5 Mph and the guy next to me was walking his bike faster. But, we made it.
Sunday we left Estes Park at 7,300 ft and climbed to 9,157 and then a really fast decline to 5,200 ft. For those who know me, I’m not one to speed down the hills. I usually apply my brakes every so often just to make sure they work. Well, this time I actually clocked 40 mph, which is unheard of for me! The remainder of the ride was just plain hot and hilly and not a lot of fun since we were getting very tired and ready for it to be over with. At one point, I looked to the left as we were making our turn and shrieked, “Oh no! Not another hill.” The guy behind me said, “Well, you could change your attitude about it.” I quickly agreed and said, “You’re right, I could pretend it’s a down hill!” But he got me again when he said, “Or you could just enjoy the hill!” Hummm. What a marvelous attitude! And so I did.