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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MS 150 - The Recap!

Well, another MS 150 has come and gone and before too much time passes, I want to post some photos and notes about how the weekend went.

First, I'd like to thank everyone for their support this year. Through the generosity of a lot people (and you know who you are), we were able to raise $1025 in donations to the MS Society! That's about $200 more than last year! Great work, everybody! Thank you!

The weekend as a whole went well. I was able to ride 100 miles (75 miles + extra 25 mile loop) on the first day and 75 miles on the second day. Unfortunately the weather was pretty uncooperative all weekend. The best way to describe the weather: wet. It didn't rain hard, but also it never let up. Everyone was pretty much soaked for the whole ride. Fortunately, the temperature was mild enough to make things more comfortable.

Here are some highlights from each day:

Day 1
Got on the road by 7:45 Saturday morning (15 minutes earlier than the previous year - woohoo!). By that time, riders were being released in large groups, as you can see in the photo. Also, this photo does a good job of showing how super-saturated everything was:
There are rest stops at about every 15 miles. Not only are they staffed by friendly volunteers who help feed and hydrate all the riders, but some of them even provide their own brand of kooky entertainment. This rest stop featured music and dancers with a 50's theme. They were rockin'!
A familiar site: In the distance you can see the two bridges leading into Ocean City (and the finish). These bridges provided the biggest hills of the event. After 100 miles, they're even steeper:
Here's a shot of the group I rode with as we're getting close to the bridges into Ocean City. The lead rider (Bill) and I rode together last year. Without making any plans prior to the ride, we ran into each other (figuratively, not literally) around the 20th mile and finished the rest of the ride (both days) together. The third rider (Sarah) is Bill's girlfriend who was riding the MS 150 for the first time this year. Unfortunately around the 65th mile, she and I DID run into each other. Literally. After a brief scare that Sarah was seriously injured (and after being checked out by paramedics), she got back on her bike with some bruised (and hopefully not broken) ribs and finished the ride. BOTH DAYS. She gets my vote for Toughest Rider:
This is the view from the top of the first bridge into Ocean City. That second bridge feels a lot steeper than it looks when trying to ride over it: After crossing the two bridges, we were in the home stretch to the first day's finish. I managed to get a little video of the group in the final push:

Crossing the finish line, you can see Christy is waiting just after the finish line, on the left, sporting her stylish "Team E" shirt that she made (and you can hear my approval in the video, too):

We finally crossed the finish line around 5:15. That's a lot later than I had originally hoped. But given the fact that we (Sarah and I) had a crash (with Sarah taking the full force of it), and my bike got two flat tires (same tire, twice), I was happy just to finish. It was a long day.

Here are the stats for Day 1:
Distance: 104.14 miles
Max Speed: 28.0 mph
Time Riding: 5 hours, 59 minutes, 33 seconds
Total Time (including all stops, flats, and crashes): 9.5 hours
Average Speed: 17.4 mph
# of flat tires: 2
# of crashes: 1

Day 2
Weather-wise, the second day looked like it was going to be a repeat of the first. It wasn't raining at the start, but it had been raining over night so everything was wet:
Not a good day for the amusement park either:
All four of us in the group from the first day met up on the morning of Day 2 and were on the road by 8:30. Even though we were all still tired from the first day, at least we would get the bridges out of the way first as we left Ocean City. This photo does an excellent job of capturing how drab the weather was:
Approaching the second bridge:
The ride on Day 2 went by without too much trouble - no flats and, more importantly, no crashes. And maybe because we were all feeling pretty tired and were focusing on just completing the ride, I didn't take many pictures the second day.

But I have to mention this woman:
Simply put, she is a ROCK STAR at this event. Seriously. She been riding in the MS 150 for the last 25 years (if I remember correctly). Not only does she ride the full 150 miles over both days, she does it wearing a dress and heels! She is amazing. Last year, I only saw a glimpse of her as I passed her on the way to Ocean City. This year, on the ride back from Ocean City, I saw her at the start and later at a rest stop where people would flock around her to get their picture taken with her:
She would just smile and let people take as many pictures as they wanted. And then when she crossed the finish line at the end of the second day, it was like the media event of the year. A small crowd (of which I was part) gathered around to take pictures as she posed at the finish line:
It doesn't look like she minds the attention.

So, the group and I finished the second day without too much trouble. We made pretty good time too (it helps if you don't have flats or crashes) and we crossed the finish line around 3:00. And even by then, the clouds were starting to break up and the sun was shining. Now doesn't that sound like a great way to end things?

Stats for Day 2:
Distance: 78.00 miles
Max Speed: 37.5 mph
Time Riding: 4 hours, 35 minutes, 51 seconds
Total Time (including all stops): 6.5 hours
Average Speed: 17.0 mph
# of flat tires: 0
# of crashes: 0

So that's about it for the MS 150 2008, folks. There are a few more pictures out there that Christy took, so once I get them I'll add them to this post. All in all, MS 150 2008 went well and was a lot of fun. I'm already signed up for next year's ride. It's a lot of fun so if you're thinking you might want to try it, I totally recommend it.

Thanks again to everyone who supported this event with their donations - your generosity is helping a great cause! Thank you!