Day One of Two supporting the fight against MS
I feel happy my first century was for a good cause. What an interesting ride. Mark B. picked me up at 5:45 AM. After dropping our overnight bags at the drop off point, we waited for the 0730 start. It started on a very slow roll out. I think we got through the gate around 0800. Mark and I rode as Team Fredcast. We started out going around 19mph for the first hour or two. We stopped at a couple rest stops along the way and then had Arby’s Turkey sandwiches and iced tea at the lunch stop. After lunch I realized I lost one of my cleat covers so I was disappointed about that; but we left without looking too hard. A couple rest stops down the road there was a rolling bike shop! They had my cleats – blessing. They also had my Halo headbands that I can never find in local shops (BONUS). The afternoon sun starting wearing me down and the headwinds were really kicking up. I need to mention that Mark kept getting ahead of me and then would stop and wait. I felt like I was holding him back. He kicked my butt.
Around 82 miles I started wishing I was finished already. I thought about Aimee and Jinjer the ladies who I was riding on behalf of and shoved any notion of quiting out of my head. I think I was averaging 11-14 mph because of the intense headwinds–but I was till passing people! The sun was so intense. Around 90 miles it seemed like each mile was taking forever. At 96 miles we continued along the 100 mile route. It was nice because it was a loop and we knew we’d have a tailwind on the way back. I had to stop for a minute to give my rump a break. The bike seat was killing me. Once we got back on the road the headwinds seemed so intense. Finally, we turned around; on the way back I got up to 21 mph. Then, near the end of the loop, I received an unexpected but much appreciated memento of my milestone achievement. Cub Scouts were handing out a patch that said: “2008 BikeMS Valero Bike To The Beach CENTURY.” That was a nice surprise. I turned a corner, rode over an overpass, and then headed into the finish line. What a feeling of accomplishment. It was surreal.
Right past the finish line they had folks collecting the bikes and putting them in a holding fence. Top notch support. Mark and I walked around the corner and found our bags waiting for us. They were sorted by rider numbers. We collected our bags and then found the campsite. We pitched my tent; inflated our air mattresses; and tossed our stuff in the tent. Then we got our clean clothes and set off for the showers. That was interesting. We went to a gym on the college campus we stayed on. The place was packed with naked dudes waiting in line for a shower. We got through there quicker than expected. I took a cold, exhilarating shower. After that I started to feel tired. That was around 6. We took our stuff back to our tent and then went to the cafeteria for supper. Linguine noodles, meat sauce, garlic bread, and salad never tasted so good. While eating I said, “I think I want to come back in a while and eat some more; I did not eat enough today.” We chatted with some strangers, finished supper, and then went for a walk around the MS compound.
Corporate tents for sponsored teams were all around. All the time I kept drinking whatever fluids I could get my hands on. Bottled water, Grandma’s Tea, and more water. We went back for more supper. I had two more helpings of pasta, and still did not feel too full. We talked to more people while eating and discussed the challenging day. After supper, we walked around some more. A live band was playing somewhere in the camp. We made our way back to our tent; it was dark. I went back to the bathroom. Talked to my wife on the phone, walked back to the tent, then had to turn around and go back to the bathroom. Finally, I made it back to the tent and fell asleep to the sounds of some Tejano band playing in the far off distance.