Welcome to day 2 of the bike MS 150!
Day 2 started almost as early as day 1. The four of us (John, me, Mom and Dad) stayed at the host hotel, The Rosen Center, in Orlando rather than make the sometimes hour drive back to Lakeland. Breakfast started at 5:30, so today we got to sleep in to 5. Yes, again this is AM, while it’s still dark out. I did get a lot of sleep last night. I think I was asleep by 8:30, but try telling that to my body, it doesn’t like mornings. Especially when it’s still dark out.
John and I tossed around the idea of just hopping SAGs all the way to Cypress Gardens. And since I forgot to mention it, SAG is Support and Gear, it’s the people driving the route to pass out water/gatorade, minor first aid supplies and to pick up riders when needed. Some riders were just wore out, some were a little sore and needed a little rest, some blew out their tires and needed a ride to the next stop and the bike mechanics. I have a hybrid bike, so unlike all those very skinny bike tire peoples, I had no tire problems at all.
While we were at breakfast Mom and Dad started talking to one of the other volunteers. She said her name was Shannon and that she had ridden twice previously. Her husband and a friend were riding while she was a SAG driver. As we were talking, her husband mentioned being dropped last year when they had stopped at a gas station to get more water because the last SAG had gone buy and not looked in the parking lot of the store to see if any bikes were there. This clicked something for me (forgive the side trip here).
Last year after the ride I was on the Weight Watcher messenger boards and was a little bored. I headed to the 30 year old board, since I’m soon going to be in that category, to see what people were saying. I noticed one poster had listed in her signature line almost completing the 2007 MS 150 ride. I had gotten in contact with her to get an idea of what the ride was like, what to expect (guess I should have asked about the course!), and she had also told me about being dropped on the ride. So when Shannon’s husband mentioned this, I asked her if she had been on the WW message boards. Imagine our very pleasant surprise!
Anyway, John and I decided to head out and go as far as we could. When I woke up this morning the muscles behind my left knee were very sore, and the joint area on my right knee hurt. My legs other wise felt pretty good. That helped us decide to keep going. I pulled on my bike shorts (uh, bike store people, those of us with wider loads need wider padding!) and we headed to our bikes, and headed out with everyone. No, my butt wasn’t happy to be back on my bike again so soon after so many miles. Like yesterday we did pretty good. Our average to the first two rest stops was 14.4 miles. I even passed people today! On my bike without being in a SAG. Although I did start to develop a hatred for the “Uber Bikers” (Shannon’s very apt phrase), the bikers who average 20-25 miles an hour and who finished the century (100 mile ride) on Saturday in about 4, 4 1/2 hours!
When we got to rest stop two, my left knee was doing better, but my right was still hurting a little when I bent my knee. That was livable and no big deal. But getting off my bike I noticed that the muscles in my thighs felt a little weak. I walked around a little bit to try and keep those muscles loose, then joined the line at the porta-pottys. We did get a good laugh while waiting. One lady in front of John mentioned the handicap one being open since the indicator was green. So John went and opened the door, on some poor lady using the toilet! No, the lady in front of John was not aware someone was in there.
Heading back out, I made sure to tell John about my thigh muscles so he would know how I was doing, and we agreed to continue on. He said we’ll take it slow and get your muscles warmed up again. As we continued on I actually started to slow down and it was getting harder to push on. At stop three, I got off my bike (after climbing a small hill biking into the rest stop!) and headed to the snack table. My legs were weaker this time and I don’t know if I could have crossed the street back to my bike without support. I truly felt like my thighs were going to give out on me. So back onto the SAG wagon for me. John headed off into the hills (literally) on bike and I got to rest and relax in AC.
We got back together at the lunch stop and we both hopped Shannon’s SAG to rest stop seven (final rest stop). John’s back was very sore heading into the lunch, so we decided to bypass the rest of the ride. John did ride the last leg into Cypress Gardens and I hopped another SAG (this is starting to sound like bus or metro transfers). The driver let me out into the parking lot. He would have taken me to John’s truck, but I told him that I said I was going to cross the finish line on my bike. I did end the tour riding about 2 blocks, my thigh muscles were still feeling very weak while on my bike. But I said if I was dragging my feet or if John was pushing me, I was going to cross that finish line on my bike.
I don’t know if it was being so tired (remember, we were up while it was still dark out both days), or just the fact I managed to do as much as I did. But crossing that finish line was, and still is, a very emotional moment for me. I collected my medal while on my bike and with tears coming out of my eyes. Yes, I proved Mom right and my legs were not able to do the entire ride, but dammit, I did half of it. I did about 80 miles in all and I hauled my body, wide load and poor tired legs and all, up all those damn hills. I DID IT!
Day 1 I did about 53 miles and today I did about 26-27 miles. John did around 116 miles total. And while I did develope a slight hatred (ok, resentment?) towards the Uber Bikers, I have the utmost respect for everyone involved, from the organizers, to the bikers and all the way to the volunteers. Trust me, those volunteers worked just as hard as we bikers did. Check this poor tired volunteer out. I know that I’ve said I can pretty much sleep anywhere, but this person takes the cake, sleeping the way s/he is in the DJ tent with the speakers right there.
And I thank everyone for supporting me, both with financial support as a donation to the MS Society and emotional support. It means so much to me and Dad that so many believed I could do this. However, next year, John and I think we’ll be one of the SAG vehicles instead. I think I’ll stick to the MS walk, it’s only 3 miles.