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MS-150, Frisco - Ft Worth

May 6-7 2017

Just an absolutely beautiful weekend for riding. Over half the route for both days was new, and it was on much smoother roads. Also had a new overnight in Grapevine that was much more intimate, and the view overlooking Lake Grapevine is much more appealing than TMS. The best, a lot of money was raised to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis. If you skipped this ride because you were tired of the old route, you need to come back next year and experience how much better this ride is.

This is a two-day event. Day 1 is 88-mile ride with a 103-mile option. Day 2 is 60-mile. For the past 7+ years, they have Day one finish at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). This year, day one finish was moved to Grapevine. As a result, the routes on both days were modified. I enjoyed the new routes. They keep the most parts the same. Gone were some of the roads with bad chip & seal that we have been complaining for years.The new routes has more hills, including the Hilltop Road climb just outside of Denton. Believe me, when you get there, you WILL know. Bike MS has this event down to every details since they have been doing for so many years and have been doing it so well for so long. However, there are a few things I can point out for improvement. First, the PA system didn't work at Day 1 start. There were no music, no cheers and no National Anthem. We just followed when the people in front of us started to move. Secondly, for those who did the century ride on day one, there were only two porta potty at the 2nd rest stop (mile 27 for the century ride). The line there was very long because most riders would make a stop at that point and they were arriving that rest stop within minutes apart. Thirdly, getting traffic in and out of the Day 1 finish is a challenge. I am sure they will improve their logistics there next year. Overall, another great Bike MS. Thank you.

May 2016

MS150 – Day 1 85, Day 2 75. The MS team knows how to organize a ride. The fanfare at the start, a lead car throughout the race, manned intersections. On day 1 the finish line was more animated than in the past with the MC interviewing riders as they finished. Finishing in Sundance Square is a blast, very well organized and appropriate reward for those completing the two days of riding. Certainly a feel good experience as many spectators thank you for riding to battle MS.


May 2 -3 2015

This was my 10th DFW Bike MS, and the first time returning to Sundance Square in Ft. Worth in four years. For those who rode the prior years when day 2 finished back at a mostly deserted Texas Motor Speedway (TMS), the Sundance Square finish was a complete 180. There were cheering crowds, a live band, good food and many people hung around and enjoyed the atmosphere. This is exactly what this ride needed, some renewed energy. I hope it helps bring more riders back next year. That being said, there is always room for improvement. Day 2 has some long stretches of chip/seal, which is hard to get away from, and I wish they would have warned us about the dirt/gravel hill (due to road work). Thankfully that should not be an issue next year. I heard it mentioned last year, and also this year, that there is not much to do at the overnight at TMS. For me I truly enjoy talking to riders at the team tent, and visiting other team tents. Plus, you can make it a family affair by having young children participate in Bike MS Jr. I know several kids who had a great time. Overall, this is a fantastically supported ride with an army of volunteers. The rest stops are always trying to do something bigger and better (the Meat Fight rest stop was the best), and the support by area bike shops is fantastic. Best of all, a lot of money is raised to help find a cure for MS.

This was my second year participating. Having the finish at Sundance Square was a big plus. Much more activity, very focused on cheering and welcoming the riders to the finish. Not to mention lots of lunch options after the ride. The organizers do a great job putting this on and it's a reflection of a national program. It's a challenging two days with the route from TMS to FW having a few more challenging hills especially in the last 20 miles.

Let me preface this with saying the review, "This was my 10th DFW Bike MS…", hit the nail right on the head. Ending at Sundance Square is by far a "forgiving" event to the second day's trials and tribulations of rock & dirt hills, wind and extreme chip/seal. This was my third MS150, the last two I included the Century Ride on day 1, and although it was my personal slowest MS150, it will rank as one of my favorite rides of all times because of the crowds and fanfare in Sundance Square, I felt as I had actually accomplished something wonderful unlike the near desolate Texas Motor Speedway in comparison.

May 3-4 2014

Another successful year for Bike MS. The riding conditions were ideal on Saturday, and the slight changes made to the route made for a big improvement in the first 48 miles. I had no issue with the new start, and there was plenty of parking available at the Med Assets building. The wind on Sunday, especially in the afternoon, made for some tough riding conditions, but boy were those roads rough. Thankfully day two returns to Sundance Square next year which I hope means some smoother roads. Will have to wait and see. Overall, the MS Society, and their army of volunteers, makes this a most enjoyable experience. Granted, there are some issues that need some work, like adding a Saturday morning packet pick-up. But one thing I have noticed is that the people who run the ride are willing to listen, and even adopt, some of the suggestions riders and team captains make. They realize ridership is down over the past couple of years and want to do everything in their power to reverse the trend. For anyone who has stayed away because of the day two TMS out and back, come back next year when we ride back into Ft Worth. Riding into a large, cheering crowd is amazing. And let's not forget the reason we ride, to raise funds to find a cure and end MS forever.

May 4-5, 2013

The MS Society does a fantastic job of supporting this ride in all aspects, and a lot could not be done without the hundreds of volunteers who assist in every aspect of the ride.  I hope every rider made sure to thank the volunteers.  Woke up to some cool temps Saturday morning for Day 1 of the event, but the wind wasn’t blowing (yet) and the ride got off to a great start.  If you were lucky enough to get through the first half of the ride before the wind gusts started to hit, you had a fairly easy ride back to the finish.  Same could be said for day 2, but it was much cooler at the start.  For the most part the roads were good, but there were some rough spots.  However, I wish they could get us off the service road on 287.  Stopped at lunch both days and a couple of rest stops.  There was plenty of liquids, snacks, fruit, etc., and plenty of port-a-potties.  Never had to wait in line.  Enjoyed the hamburger and hotdog bar at the finish of day 2.  The only complaint I would have about the ride falls on the shoulders of the riders.  Why do some riders find it so difficult to call out “on your left” when passing?  Out of the courtesy, and safety, of your fellow rider, please talk to us.  The only suggestion I have for the MS Society is to try and make day 2 more of a festival to bring more non-riders to the event to cheer the riders in.  I look forward to Bike MS 2014, and finally finding a cure for MS

Highly organized, well-staffed, simply a must ride(bucket-list event) for any seasoned rider. I agree with the first writer except to say day 2 “rolling hills” were very tasking given the fact the winds were really tough. I too wish the media would invite spectators to the end of day two to be a part of the event, never did hear anything on the radios like I hear for the BP MS150 while I’m in Houston Texas during frequent business visits. Great ride, great event, will do again! -Ed - Photos

The best news was that the weather was dry this year, but it was unseasonably cool with a 15-20 mph north wind both days. However, the usually great MS150 (at least the DFW edition, of which this was my 8th) is showing some signs of stagnation, as a drop in participation by almost 1,000 riders this year seemingly attests to.  The day 1 route had a minor change in the first 10 miles this year, but essentially hasn’t changed in 8 years.  The day 2 route ended back at the Speedway again for the 2nd straight year, but that is considered a negative by many who loved the old finish in Ft. Worth’s Sundance Square.  A high percentage of the 150 miles is highway shoulder riding, especially on day 2.  The roads are generally pretty good though, except for a 3 mile stretch leaving Sanger on day 1 and 3 miles on the chip-sealy Hwy 287 service road on day 2.  There were some other road hazards (cracks, potholes, grade changes, etc.) along the way, but very few were marked with orange paint like most good rides do.  Most of the porta potties didn’t have soap available (either inside or outside), which has (thankfully) become pretty standard at most rides these days.   I saw very few Ride Marshalls patrolling the routes (in the past you might see 1 or 2 every mile).  Perhaps most disappointing was the lack of anything going on at the Speedway campground.  Sure, there was a good crowd at the day 1 finish line cheering riders as they came in, but by 6:30 PM when everybody was done, the whole campgrounds cleared out and was a ghost town.  Additionally, very few teams actually spent the night in the campground tents this year.  It got down to the lower 40’s Saturday night, but cold, rain & wind has never stopped partying (or tired) cyclists from staying in the tents before.  That used to a big  part of the unique experience of the event.   I also was a little disappointed with the unorganized start of the day 2 ride.  There was no attempt to hold the cyclists for the scheduled 7 Am start time.  Basically you just rolled out whenever you were ready.  Finally, even with a thousand less riders this year, they ran out of finisher medals on Sunday!  Perhaps the sequester was responsible? 
On the positive side, the ride does raise a lot of money to fight MS, but I’m afraid if they don’t make some changes that will suffer too.


May 5, 2012

Participated in my seventh MS150 and had a great time. First of all it was nice that the weather cooperated giving us two good (and yes windy) days of riding. The prevailing winds gave us a great push going out, but made you work a little harder coming in. Liked the new route on Day 1 that avoided 380, and Day 2 had a lot of rolling hills. The rest stops had plenty of water, Gatorade, fruit and snacks and friendly volunteers. I like the new finish at TMS on Day 1, but really missed the downtown Ft. Worth finish on Day 2. I'm hoping we go back there next year. Many thanks to all the people out on the route and at the finish line cheering the riders on. I understand there were many riders who have ridden the MS150 in years past but decided to ride the Shiner Bash instead. Yes, they have every right to go where ever they want, but it saddens me that they would skip this event. This event means a lot to me because of three friends that live with MS, and I want to see a cure some day. I hope they will consider coming back to the MS150 in the years to come.

I lost a friend to MS last year and decided to do this ride for the first time. First of all this is a very large production of a ride and you can tell a lot of work goes into the organization. My review is two parts, the pre-ride and the ride.
Pre-ride doesn't normally get a review from me because it rarely affects me, but in this case a rider has quite a bit of involvement prior to ride day. Registration was easy but the website was nearly unusable for anything else up until about 1-2 weeks before the ride. This made it hard to plan. The real annoyance was packet pick up. I live about 1.5 hours from Frisco and couldn't make it to the one day they had pickup in Fort Worth. That meant I had to drive all the way up to Frisco the night before the ride and back just to fill out a waiver. There need to be more dates available or faxable waivers. On a bright side the donations website was really easy to use and the customization ability was a fun touch.
Now that I'm done complaining let's move on to the ride. It was great. It seems the #1 complaint I see in ride reviews is a lack of bathrooms along the way. Not with this ride! I never waited at all. Most of the porta-potties also had hand sanitizer. The route was well marked and staffed, traffic control was very good. The rest stops had tons of ice. That's another big positive in my book. The standard fluids and food were available but non-typical items like chamois butter, sunscreen, aloe, sunglass wipes, and minor first aid were also available. Mechanics from various shops were on hand all over the place too. I witnessed a mechanic from Trinity cycles replace a broken bottle cage mid-ride. That's service! This ride was very well thought out.
The road surface was less than ideal at times and the shoulders could have been a bit wider on day 2 (730 from Decatur to Boyd is somewhat scary) but you can't really avoid that in Texas.
Breakfast, lunches and dinners were top notch. I was really happy with the post ride setup.
I'm a bit bummed that the ride no longer ends in Sundance Square but I understand that the city made it prohibitively expensive to do so and we still had fun at the TMS.


May 2011

As always, the North Texas Chapter of the National MS Society put on a wonderfully organized and safe ride. Although the weather forced the cancellation of Sunday's ride (a good call), Saturday's ride was great. Many thanks to all the volunteers and riders who have helped raise so much money in the fight against MS. See you again next year.

As usual, this MS 150 was a really good ride, well organized and managed iespecially given that this is almost 3000 riders starting and ending in urban environments. The start organization was better this year; no crowding on the ride up the tollway access road. There were lots of sag wagons and ride marshalls helping riders. The rest stops were well organized with lots of water, food, etc. and lots of volunteers helping.
The only negatives are 1) please more than Snapple at lunch 2) the loadspeakers while waiting for the start were deafening 3) there has to be a way to get riders out of the start faster (over 30 minutes this year) but we understand that there is a conflict with crowding in the first few miles 4) please put numbers on the bike storage racks so we can find bikes on Sunday morning.
Sadly, the weather did not cooperate again and the Sunday 65 miles was canceled because of severe thunderstorm warnings (I had already personnaly canceled by 4:00 am Sunday). So we had an 86 mile ride rather than 150 miles. The MS society did a good job of organization around the cancellation (SMS to announce, instructions on what was happening to bikes, etc.).
We hope that next year we will have better weather.

May 2010

This was a great ride this year. There were two improvements over prior years. 1) There was hot water in the showers and 2) Sausage and bacon was served for breakfast along with the usual flapjacks. The rest stops were top notch as usual.

This year was my 4th MS150, and with the exception of no Sunday ride last year, every ride has been great. The rest stops are well organized, plenty of food, water, and etc. It is especially nice to have someone volunteer to hold your bike instead of having to lay it down in the grass... The hills on day 2, I had totally forgotten about - WOW. The sense of accomplishment when you cross under the banner in downtown Fort Worth is one of the best feelings ever... Thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, and great participants...

Was the best run rally I have done. Nothing else comes close. My first year and I will do it again. There were no problems that I saw and there were more volunteers than were needed while I was there. Well marked and manned roads and more than I imagined at the rest stops. Would I change anything? Well if I could chose the menue for lunch and dinner maybe but other than that it was a really good rally to ride.

April 2009

The 2009 ride was anything but routine.
The weather started out different. In previous years it has been very cool at the 7:00 am start time; I always had to wear my windbreaker and gloves for the first couple of hours. In 2009 it was a warm and balmy morning as we lined up at the start at the Dr. Pepper ballpark. There was thick cloud cover but it wasn’t cold; I wasn’t wearing a windbreaker, and was even wearing cycling sandals instead of shoes. There was a nice breeze out of the south.
We lined up by teams as usual. Sam’s club started first, as befitting their role as the title sponsor, Then the Feisty Devils and the Frito Lay Cheesy Riders. Team HP is pretty big and soon enough it was our turn to start. We went up the tollway to 380 and turned west, then north into the beautiful horse country east of Aubry. This was my sixth year to ride; by now the route was very familiar to me and I was able to enjoy the scenery without concentrating on the route.
My enjoyment was interrupted by an unpleasant incident, however, involving a group of some skinny butted riders wearing light blue jerseys (we were never able to determine what team that was for reasons that will become clear later). Ironically enough, this happened on Friendship Rd. They passed me on a straightaway and I didn’t have a problem, but then, travelling at a fast rate of speed, barreled around a blind curve (there was a row of trees by the side of the road) only to be confronted by a vehicle coming at them head on. This caused them to veer to the right to avoid being struck, running two of my female team mates off the road, one of whom was Jayne-Ann Almond, the other’s name I didn’t get.
I stopped to help and found that Jayne-Ann and her friend were banged up and Jayne-Ann’s rear bike tire was bent. Fortunately, at that exact time a SAG (Support and Gear) van pulled up. I told Jayne-Ann and her friend to take it to the Ray Roberts rest stop where could be found a medic to patch them up and a mechanic to fix her bike. I then continued on.
I rode up to the 4th break point at Lake Ray Roberts for my usual stop, then begin crossing the dam.
I was riding along the dam, enjoying the scenery, when WHAM! The temperature suddenly dropped 20 degrees in one second. This woke me up from my reverie and I noticed the cloud cover had thickened and darkened considerably. Now I started feeling sorry for myself, as I felt cold wearing no windbreaker and only sandals. I grumpily stopped at the lunch site, not to eat the horrible fare there, but only to use the restrooms, then turned south out of the school and began riding again. A grizzled old veteran rider at least 60 or 70 years old pulled up beside me.
“It sure is great having the wind at our backs now, isn’t it?” he asked.
I pondered his words and realized to my amazement that he was correct. At the start of the ride, as we were going north, the wind had been at our backs. At Lake Ray Roberts you turn around and start riding south, and now the wind was out of the north.
Pushing us
I immediately became ashamed of my bad attitude as I realized the truth of the veteran rider’s statement. At exactly the point that the ride turned from north to south, the wind direction changed as well, and now it was assisting us as we rode in the southerly direction. I realized that if I rode fast enough I could probably reach the warm weather again, so I really turned it on. Also, there was some nagging thought in my subconscious that never really made it into consciousness that I really had better not dawdle on the route today as the weather was definitely not stable. I bypassed break point 5 without stopping, crossed I-35 and hit 156 for the long stretch south. There was no construction this year and a wide, smooth shoulder. With the assistance of the wind I hit an average of 17 mph. I blew past Break Point 6 south of Ponder when WHAM I hit the warm air again and the wind was out of the south. At this point I didn’t care as Texas Motor Speedway was only 10 more miles.
I reached the Speedway and began the long circuitous route to get to the campground on the other side. Lourdes and Peggy would be meeting me there because the MS Society had anticipated rain in the evening and forbade anyone to camp out. As I crossed the finish line the announcer was nice enough to announce me. Then I found Lourdes and Peggy and we went to eat a delicious catered bar-b-q lunch at the HP tent. Stacy Olson, the head of our support volunteers, was nice enough to let Lourdes and Peggy eat free of charge, and also provided me with a six pack of O’Douhls non-Alcoholic beer. The food was great, but I noticed it was cooler and the sky was getting darker. After lunch we cut short our tour of the camping area because of this and prepared to leave.
As I was strapping my bike to the rack in the back of my car great fat drops of rain began to fall, and as we drove out of the Speedway the skies opened up and the deluge began. As we drove over the route I could see hundreds of riders huddling under gas stations or riding determinately towards the Speedway. Now, great bolds of lightening struck from the sky. There was absolutely nothing I could do for my fellow riders on the road, there were hundreds caught in the rain. It was raining so hard it’s a wonder they didn’t drown.
Meanwhile, back at the camp (as I heard from Elaine Smith a fellow teammate who sits not far from us) the flood began flowing into the tent, and Elaine, Stacy and anybody else there had to pick up all the suitcases and backpacks from the ground and put them on the tables to keep them from getting soaked. Obviously, there would be no team photo that year. Well, my family got home, and I had to check the MS150 website to see what the status of the next days’ ride was, and it said that a decision would be made later that evening. Lourdes then insisted on going to some pig-out Chinese buffet. When we got back I checked the website again and sure enough, Sunday’s ride was cancelled due to the weather.
So that, my colleagues, is the complete story of the MS 150 2009. In the six years I had been riding this was the first time the ride was canceled on the second day.
One can draw a parallel between the stories of the 2008 and 2009 rides and the lives of people living with MS. Most days they can get up, go to work, put in a productive routine day and come home. Then there are the days they wake up and can’t move. They don’t know from day to day if the disease will strike or not.
That is the whole reason for this two day (usually) ride, to raise money to fight MS. Great strides have been made, and if the disease is caught early a victim has a much better chance of leading a normal life these days than in the past. But there are still many victims who are no so fortunate and who are permanently disabled by the disease, such as the doctor who runs our medical tent, and has to use a wheelchair to get around. We are hoping our efforts will help to find a cure for these people so that they can be fully mobile again.

May 3-4, 2008

This was my first MS150 and first multi-day event. This is an excellent ride with the best support I have ever seen. Plenty of food, drinks, medical support, bike shop support, and restrooms at the rest stops. Numerous sag vans, motorcycles and ride marshals along the route. There were a few bumpy roads and narrow shoulders but most of the route was really good. Day one had a lot of wind and day two had some challenging uphills and rolling downhills. Texas Motor Speedway has plenty of space and shower facilities - but cold water only. All of the meals were excellent, especially the hearty breakfast Sunday morning. A real festive atmosphere awaited us at the finish line on day two at Sundance Square. The bike drop off for the truck back to Frisco was only a few steps from the finish. The only thing I noticed that could be improved was the shuttles from local hotels on Sunday morning. We had a shuttle from our hotel to another hotel. From there we went to the other side of the speedway. Overall, a great ride for a great cause

I'd like to thank everyone involved with the 2008 MS 150. From the 1st rest stop you could feel the enthusiam which continued thru to the end of the MS 150. I'd like to thank the volunteers who provided SAG support and the motorcycles who kept checking on riders. Particularly the motorcycle that rang the cowbell as we entered downtown Fort Worth providing encouragement. We definitely need more cowbells!!!! One suggestion would be that Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway could we please have the dinner served say 2pm onward for those of us that finish earlier than others we could eat while they are arriving back at TMS. Looking forward to next year.


May 5-6, 2007

Despite strong winds, Sam's Club MS 150 went off without a hitch. Easy to register, easy to find, easy parking, easy riding. Volunteers were great, as usual. Traffic control was not as tight as last year. My riding partner is blind in one eye, and came ever so close to hitting a barracade the first day, a few miles from the start. There was one place the first day where it was unclear who was supposed to be where when traffic cones were placed in the roadway. Ft. worth police did outstanding job coming into downtown Ft. Worth the second day. The winds made the course particularly challenging , especially the second day. Close to 3000 cyclists participated. The motorcycle crews were not as visible this year although they still did an outstanding job. A last minute change in the lunch site day one had a few people concerned. It was changed from Sangar H. S. just east of I-35 on 455 to several miles west of I-35 on 455. Although the lunch people did an admirable job, it was not quite as relaxing as last year. The first rest stop on day two was understaffed and undersupplied, and required a long wait in line to get to the goodies. We waited, but finally left after the lined seemed to be moving really slowly. Campout at Texas Motor Speedway was excellent. The ride into downtown Ft. Worth was the highlight of the ride. Numerous restaurants around the finish line made it really convenient. Overall, this event was FANTASTC !!!

Wow, this ride just keeps getting better and better every year even after 14 years I've been doing this ride. Kelly and the Lone Star Chapter did another outstanding job of putting on a great ride. The cloud cover was nice along with a little mist and showers made the day not bad at all. The head wind and hills on day 2 made it a challenge day, but once you got to the finish line and seeing hundreds of people lined up cheering you on was worth it. You could just feel the energy at Sundance Square. The volunteers at the rest stops were awesome. They were out there by the rest stops cheering even if you didn’t stop. All of the rest stops that I stopped at were well stocked with water, pickle juice, power-aid, ice, bananas, oranges, cookies and other goodies. Lunch was great. The route was well marked and had police at most major intersections. All of the hazards on the road (pot holes, cracks etc…) were marked on the road. The over night at TMS? What a party with all of the team tents, food entertainment and families out there. Bike support was very visible at the rest stops. Sag wagons were abundant on the route. The medical staff was busy on Saturday with the wet roads saw a few riders down. All of the ones I saw, the medical staff was always right there attending to the rider. If you do just one ride this is it. This is the ride that all other rides are judged by. I’ll be back again next year for year 15.

May 6-7, 2006

This was my second year to ride and fortunately I had a co-cyclist who went with me this year. Nothing can match the support and logistics of this ride. It is great to have such an event to raise funds for this cause. There were a lot of flats on the ride but you always saw either a motorcycle or SAG wagon there to help out. Overall, I only saw one accident at 380. EMT’s were there and volunteers slowed us down to ensure safety.
I thought the routes were about as well planned as it could get. A few stretches with traffic, but nothing that I felt to be dangerous for cyclists. The rest stops were incredibly stocked. Never went to one and found a lack of anything. I also thought the weather turned in our favor with clouds and cooler temps. The finish in Fort Worth was spectacular. All of those people there at the end really made you feel good.
I stayed in a hotel again this year and found the shuttle service to be so much better than last year. I caught the 4:30 ride and was able to wake up, have breakfast, and get staged with ease. Those who opted to camp, all I can say is I’m sorry.
One thing I will complain about – if Plano Cycles and Fitness pairs up with The Ticket again next year, I will not re-join. I paid my $50 for a jersey and collected the necessary donations, even contributing some extra above my registration. I gladly do this to benefit the MS Society. When I got to the tent at TMS, we had a bunch of tawdry women (The Ticket Chicks) passing out beer. The only thing to eat was rice cakes and chewy granola bars. Right across from us was an even worse spectacle of the Pickle Juice Sport broads who were in even skimpier clothing. I would have been embarrassed if my wife and kids had been there. I also find it strange that we were the largest team and yet smaller teams had some real food waiting for their riders. Instead of sitting around watching some folks consume a few too many, I went and scouted out other teams’ tents. I just think it would have been wiser to have some sandwiches or burgers and a more inclusive atmosphere.
Other than that, I do look forward to next year and I will ride again.

This was my first MS 150 and I thought the whole experience was fantastic. The roads for much of the ride were great, the police support was good, and the riders looked like they were having fun. The rest stops were well stocked and had numerous port-a-potties. The best thing was the many people I met during the event. Whether it was other riders, volunteers, or the people who live with MS, everyone was encouraging each other on to the finish. I also rode as a member of Plano Cycling-Team Ticket, and I agree that there should have been better food options at the tent, but this was not the only tent serving beer. I will gladly ride again for them next year. The only real complaint I have is when we were out on 114 on Sunday. It was not really safe when riding past an on ramp or off ramp. There should have been some type of police presence there. Some drivers were courteous and stopped to let us by. But there was one tanker trunk who wasn't about to stop for anyone. However, my overall experience was positive, and I was happy to ride for my good friend who has MS.

On behalf of everyone from Plano Cycling-Team Ticket, I want to thank the MS Society Lone Star Chapter for an outstanding job once again. As usual, the MS crew blew everyone away with incredible support and a great time for a great cause. I also want to thank all the participants in this MS150 for all of their fundraising efforts and business. During the past few months, I have been amazed by the amount of registrations on all of the teams and by those who rode "solo".
Along with everyone who was involved, Plano Cycling-Team Ticket wants to see this event grow and help end the devastating effects of MS. We have already received some great feedback. We recognize our issues with the overnight and are already brainstorming solutions to what can make the overnight stay better. If you have any comments or suggestions that will benefit the future success of Plano Cycling-Team Ticket & the people living with MS, we want to hear it. Please email me your feedback including your name and contact information so that I can follow up if I need clarification.
Thank you again to the MS Society Lone Star Chapter, the participants, and the members of Plano Cycling-Team Ticket for your contributions and for a very successful event.
Kyle Carlson

Operations Manager
Plano Cycling & Fitness, Inc.
605 E. 18th St.
Plano, Tx 75074

I cant even begin to thank everybody that was responsible for the great ms 150 this weekend. The volunteers were great And everything was just perfect, especially on a new course. I rode for team bikemart again and Jim and Ronda Hoyt are Nothing less than a total class act. Woody Smith is a great asset to the cycling community and Sam Montag was just great When it came to helping out riders on both days.  Chef mike’s great cooking at the end of the first day was fantastic. I cant Wait until next year.

Like many others, I did the MS150 ride this past week-end... In my opinion the weather turned out to be near perfect and for most parts, a very nice choice of routes - except for certain sections of Highway 114. I too came across a tanker driver which scared me and only seemed to stop at the last second, even though there were plenty of riders both in front and behind me. Day 1 seemed relatively flat, and I traveled fairly fast - that was a fun ride / route. Day 2 was more challenging. I originally thought that the speedway lap would be exciting, but it was a bit of a disappointment to me (although I was surprised at how steep the raceway banks really are). It was a hassle getting into the speedway, slow during the one lap, and then a bit tricky exiting and getting onto highway 114. Doing the one speedway lap again in the future is not a high priority for me anymore. Day 2 was more challenging. Miles 60 to 70 proved to be a nice challenge, but Fort Worth!!! that one hill - Wow - and then... the roads.. Fort Worth roads are rough. Riding into Sundance Square was perfect. Very nice. About the overnight... I rode with a few people from work. My company matched the funds I raised, so they effectively doubled my fundraising efforts. I believed that this had value for the MS Society, so I stuck with a small team.. But... after completing Day 1 (around noon), and not belonging to one of the "bigger teams", my friends and I felt completely abandoned and disappointed. The only thing we could do was clean-up, and watch riders come in. The band was playing, but with no real seating arrangements, we could not stay there long. We only found one small table serving water / sports drinks, but really nothing more. We wandered back and forth till 3:00 P.M. when lunch was served, where we finally sat down somewhat comfortably. I was frustrated, tired and a bit upset, so I left the site shortly after lunch. I do hope that they address the needs of the small teams / individual riders next year. Mostly because of this, I have not yet decided if I'll do this ride next year. Finally.. I will say that I was impressed by many of the "Sam's Club" Team riders, who appeared to be riding "loaner" bikes. These people did the fund raising, and showed up riding lesser bikes, but hey.. they were out there, giving it everything they had - great effort. I passed many of you (specially on the first day), but I was happy to see you out there - good job.

There were several things about this years MS150 ride with which I am not entirely satisfied.
The first day generally went well. The start was smooth. I was especially thankful for the two portajohns near the start of the ride which enabled me to empty my bladder before the ride started. The line was too long at the main group of portajohns.
The route was on low traffic rural roads for the most part. This is very important as safety should be the paramount concern. The lunch was mediocre as usual but I do not rely on the served lunch and pack my own meal. The rest stops were fine; I did not need to stop at each one because of the strong tailwind.
At the campground at Texas Motor Speedway there was a long line for the showers. I don’t know why. There was never a wait for a shower at Lake Texoma. Perhaps the organizers could investigate the possibility of having an additional shower truck at Texas Motor Speedway.
The real problems begin on day 2 with breakfast. Only pancakes (carbs), no protein. There are some people who do not eat sugar and carbs. Sausage should have been served in addition to the pancakes. My breakfast consisted of an expired Atkins bar and coffee. The coffee, at least, was good. I like to eat a big breakfast before the ride so this was a big disappointment for me.
So we went around Texas Motor Speedway and we were on our way. Note to self, reset speedometer as you LEAVE Texas Motor Speedway for accurate mileage which matches the ride map. The first problem with the route was the stretch along highway 287. This is a busy, fast freeway. There was a six foot shoulder, but there were so many riders that the faster, athletic ones were going into the highway to pass the casual riders who ride abreast of each other, chatting for the entire ride. It was difficult to get back to the shoulder because of the warning bumps which could damage the wheel of a road bike. If possible an alternate route should be used next year.
The leg up to lunch, and the southward stretch on 718 and 1220 were hilly, far more hills than the second day of the Oklahoma route, but it was all good. The problems with traffic started as we neared Ft. Worth. The road had no shoulder and there were a lot of cars and trucks trying to go by.
Then you get to Ft. Worth proper. Oh, boy, pothole road! So many potholes, the road would have had to be painted entirely orange in order to mark them all. I saw one rider taken out by an unmarked pothole, and I am sure there were others.
So now the last hill toward Ft. Worth city hall, we get to the end of the ride, and no medallions handed out! What a letdown, I appreciate a small memento to show that I did the ride, but this year none were handed out.
The lunch by Razoo’s at the end was good, at least, plenty of protein in addition to carbs. There were showers at the end too.
In summary, I did not enjoy the ride this year as much as I did last year. I hope some improvements will be made.

I was a little apprehensive about the "new route" this year, thinking it would be just a "metroplex tour" , but boy, was I wrong. Not only did the new route accomodate more riders (and more money for MS) but it turned out to be a great route selection. Day one started out with wet pavement, but no rain all day. Overcast skies kept the temperatures cool, and it seemed like we never rode against the wind. I rode with the Feisty Devils and we were the second or third team, so the start was really nice.The ride over the dam at Lake Ray Roberts was inspiring . The only "trouble spot" was down 156 from Krum to the overnight at the speedway. I live in Krum, and could not imagine how they were going to make such an unsafe road as 156 safe enough for 3000 riders. Somehow they did make it safe and hats off to traffic control along this stretch. 156 is very rough pavement, but there is almost no way to get south from there except 156. I liked the way the rest stops got closer together near the end of day one. By the way, the volunteers at the rest stops did a fantastic job, and the "theme" idea for each rest stop made for variety and added to the pleasantry of the ride. Law enforcement helped tremendously all along the way, except for the stretch in Wise County . For some reason,all the traffic control assumed by the Wise County Sheriff's Department seemed disinterested at best, and downright rude at worst. I don't know the reason for this, but maybe the Wise County law enforcement team just doesn't recognize the value of good PR . The overnight at texas Motor Speedway was pretty cool. It was wet and muddy, but with some last minute scrambling, they managed to spread hay over most of the pathways. It was nice to have the speedway facilities , but it was a long walk to the johns. Perhaps just a couple of portapotties spread around would have helped. There were long lines for the showers, but that is to be expected. Two hours after the "long lines" there was no line at all. We just hung around , relaxed , chowed down, and socialized till there was no one in line. Not only no one in line, but no one in the showers at all. I had plenty of hot water!!! Hanging out in the Feisty Devils Tent gave us a chance to bond with the best team I've ever been on. If anyone was disillusioned with their team, join the FEISTY DEVILS...WE RIDE LIKE HELL TO FIGHT MS!!! Day two started out with a lap around the speedway which, although it took awhile to get everyone through, was a real thrill. Day two's weather was overcast, but dry. We took the short route to get off highway 114, which was one of the downers of the route. Highway 287 on day one and 114 on day two were rather nasty. Big highways, with lots of nails and glass on the shoulder. I saw lots of flats on these two roads. The finish line at Sundance Square, in my opinion, was great. It had alot more of a festive atmosphere than the stadium in Ardmore. The food was prepared by Razoo's and was excellent. There were also lots of restaurants in the area. All in all, I had a GREAT experience...for a couple of days we were all kindred souls . Can't wait till next year. DeWayne Shepard (Roadkill)

May 2005

Great event!! I rode with the Bikemart team and had a wonderful time. This was our first year to do the 150 and was not sure what to expect. My wife and I raised over $1000 for the cause. The incredible support that you receive and all of the meals/ transportation etc... is Well worth the $200 min. pledge by itself !!
We stayed at the embassy suites the night before the ride. The $10 pasta buffet was good. The only negative to the stay was that they would not let you take your bike up to your room !! They had a lock up outside, but with the horrible storm and the predictions of the 1 inch hail We took a chance and locked up our bikes on the truck in the covered parking. I suppose with their new beautiful hotel, they did not want to get any grease on their new towels. No huge deal, but it would have been nice to know that in advance so I did not have to tune up the bike in the garage. This was the only negative thing about the entire weekend!!! The ride on Saturday was a brutal 90 miles with 15 to 20 mph head wind 98% of the time ! I think it really wiped out a lot of riders!! We finished the day at about 3 pm and we were dog tired !, and I cannot even imagine how the people felt who were coming in after 7 pm. It was one of those days that you say "why do I do this!?" The food in the evening was great ! Huge baked potatoes, chopped bbq, chicken, sausage, spaghetti, rolls, salad, dessert!! topped off by great music and a big fireworks show.
The second day of the ride was FANTASTIC the kind of day that you say "this is why I do this !! It was quite a sight to see the 2000 cyclist all going over the bridge of lake Texoma at one time! The wind was favorable today blowing at our backs most of the time. I did not know how it was going to feel to get back on the bike after riding 90 miles the first day. OUCH !! It took a while to find the "sweet spot on my rear but when I did I was amazed that my legs felt great. Our tandem was BLAZING this day! We were passing almost everyone up the hills !! I was really sorry to see the weekend come to an end. We did have to wait a while for the bus to go back to Frisco, and ended up going back in one of the sag wagons, but that was fun too as we stopped on the way for ice cream bars !! This will be on my list to do EVERY year!

Saturday started out with a ceremony including fireworks.  Soon into the ride we were greeted with a light rain.  Just enough to dirty you up.  After that the weather was beautiful the temperature was perfect.  The only tough part was the north head wind that seemed like 20 mph towards the end.  All the stops were stocked with everything you could need plus the great attitudes that seems to be with all the volunteers.  Upon arrival at Lake Texoma State Park the volunteers congratulated me and took my bike to storage.  This was indicative of the spirit throughout the ride.  I came up with a total of 92 miles for Saturday.  At the park there were a number of bands and lots of festivities.
  Sunday I was expecting to feel bad however quite to the contrary.  At 7:00am we all staged for the bridge crossing over Lake Texoma, it was a site to see.  During the ride there were a number of long hills, however not bad at all, the wind was in our favor today.  Like Saturday the rest stops were fantastic.  At the finish line there many clapping people and an announcer revving up the excitement, calling out team name and congratulating you.  I was really neat to see all the kids volunteering, handing out metals or storing bikes.  This ride had a lot of significance to me because my mother has MS.  It made me feel great to see so many good people helping others!  

This was my first year on this ride. I wanted to do this because of people I know afflicted with this disease, and I supported my husband last year and saw what a great event it was. This is what prompted me to get a bike and start riding. We trained for approximately a month with Bikin' Mike for this event. It was well worth the time, of course your training is only what you make it. We stayed at the hotel the night before. We locked the bikes inside the 4-Runner to avoid the storm. We didn't want to ride on wet seats. I read another review that someone had to tune their bikes in the garage because bikes were not allowed in the hotel. That is a bummer but we avoided that issue by tuning ours the day before so that we could spend our time enjoying beers, dinner and friends. We also went to the game so we had a full evening. This is a great hotel by the way. The next day came too early. It turned out to be a sunny day and quite comfortable. The wind was the killer though, but what can you do? We were treated right at the lake. Lots of good music and food and fun times. The fireworks were pretty cool too. Sunday was an outstanding day for the weather. A bit cool in the morning but it warmed up pretty quickly. I saw quite a few falls that morning, one of which was pretty bad. The finish was awesome. A suggestion - as soon as you finish, get your bike to the truck so that it has a better chance of waiting for you in Dallas than you waiting for it. We put ours on the truck immediately, then showered, then ate, then hung out with friends, and took the bus home to Frisco. And look...there are the bikes! We couldn't have timed it any better. I really appreciate all the volunteers for being there and at all the break points. We could not have done it without them. Their spirit and energy helped me a lot as I had a few moments on Sunday that I thought I couldn't finish. However, the ultimate reason for riding this and enduring the challenge and the pain is my Pedal Partners. I thought a lot about my neighbor who is bed ridden and legally blind. She cannot do anything at all due to the MS. And I also thought about my friend's sister who was diagnosed with MS the weekend before the ride. So crossing that finish line on Sunday had more meaning and was a bit more emotional than if I had been riding just to ride. It was an amazing weekend and I am ready to do it again next year.

May 1-2, 2004

Having done the MS-150 Houston - Austin ride many times, along with all the local rides in the North Texas area for the past few years, plus riding about 500-600 miles a month, I felt I was ready... Until I woke up Saturday AM at 0:dark thirty to be greeted by rain (pouring), north wind (15-20+) mph and cold (mid 40's).... Did I mention ccoolllldddd? Took all my bad weather gear and along with my team-mates started off. After freezing at the start line for what seemed like forever, we took off. I have to hand it to the MS folks.. they really did their homework on this ride.. Exceptional traffic control, extremely well organized, especially when it came to the enormous numbers of hypothermic, underdressed, and unprepared riders who were expecting fair weather and a tailwind the entire time. All the rest stops were filled with volunteers who went way over the top providing assistance. The warmth of the school at the lunch point was greatly appreciated.
After suffering for 6:25 with an average speed of under 15 mph, our small group arrived at Texoma, shivering and exhausted, but intact, and the legs still felt strong. What a neat state park, lots of room and lots of facilities, which never once ran out of tp. The festivities were awesome, the meals excellent, and my sleeping bag felt real good that night, but the best part was that the sun came out, the wind stopped, and it warmed up to the point where it was almost comfortable, despite me still being semi comatose. The free Fat Tire, along with the other beers in the Bennigan tent was certainly well received by everyone...
Sunday was an AWESOME day, still had the head wind (10-15), but it was warm (mid 70s), and a most beautiful bright cloud flecked blue sky. The roads we traveled were in great shape, lots of long rollers with very little traffic. This day flew by and so did we, averaging close to 17 mph, till I got a cramp in my left ham which slowed down things a bit, till I ate a couple pwr bars and drank the rest of my cytomax. The MS volunteers again were right there taking care of all out wants and needs.. I don't think I've ever seen so many motorbikes and sag wagons on a ride this size before.. The finish was cool.. I always get goosebumps crossing the finish, and this was no exception. The showers were hot, the lunch donated by Hooters, yummy, the sun was warm and relaxing, and the brews we brought, tasty.
All in all, a most EPIC weekend. Many thanks to the MS folks for a job very well conceived and carried out.. I will certainly be back for this ride , rain or shine..

Quite enjoyable riding conditions (kidding...). 6 hours of rain, wind and cold. Nothing that the MS folks could control. They did an awesome job with the support. Lunch was great and the rest stops were unbelievable (even though I was so cold I couldn't enjoy them as much ) and the volunteers were extremely enthusiastic. What we went through Saturday is nothing like what folks with MS have to deal with everyday. I kept thinking that as I saw the SAG wagons pass by. Great job to all that participated and in the end the most important aspect of what happened over the weekend was all of the money raised for MS.

This was our first time doing the MS150 and despite the nasty weather (rain, wind and cold air) on Saturday May 1st, the ride was by far the best organized and best supported ride I have done. You will notice that my subject line indicates 2004 MS160 , this is because we ended up riding 160 miles total, 96 on the first day and 64 on the second. This was due to some last minute route changes. But even with the added distance the ride was great. The second day was sunny and less windy than the first day and it really made all of us feel renewed and full of energy once again. There plenty of rest stops, the routes were well marked and the sag support was visible all throughout the ride. One of my buddies had a flat and within seconds one of the sags was next to him and his flat fixed in no time. Another great service to the riders, were the volunteers who offered to hold the bikes while we refilled our bottles and used the restrooms. This was refreshing to us since we have never seen any other rally that does this.
We rode with team Bennigans and they lived up to all their promises, their tent was lively and full of friendly people and in fact was the last tent to close on the Saturday night. A big thanks to the folks at Bennigans and we'll be back next year.

A couple of friends and myself came up with the word EPIC to describe Saturday. We finished in a little over 6 hours and were surprised to see so many who opted out of the ride. The only problems we had were 2 flats and cramping during the last 15 miles. I think the cramping was the result of one too many rest stops (because they were all incredible), the muscles cooling down, warming up and cooling down again. We felt all strong all day and took turns pulling for long periods when we got into packs and enjoyed this miserable day. The campgrounds were beautiful and facilities were plenty and we really couldn't ask for anything more. We got a late start on Sunday so we threw our bikes in the back of my truck and my friend's son drove us just across the bridge to start the Sunday leg. I'm glad we did this because I heard that the people that sagged to the first stop had to wait forever for their bikes ( apparently the truck containing the bikes headed to Ardmore and had to be called back.). I've done the Houston to Austin ride for several years and this is my first Red River Challenge, I think I'll stick with this one. The route was beautiful, people were extremely friendly and support was unbelievable. The organizers outdid themselves despite all the difficulties presented by the bad weather on Saturday. I'll be back for many more years to come.

WOW! What a deal!!!!! 2004 Red River Challenge was , by anyone's estimation, the most difficult in MS 150 history. But it was still a blast. Starting at 7am , bicycle enthusiasts encountered cold temps, cold rain, and a cold hard blowing headwind that was absolutely relentless. It was truly a climatic anomaly . How often does this happen in the springtime in Texas?? Registration was excellent, as usual, and things went beautifully right up to the morning of the ride. I assume many riders did not show up on ride day, but, as long as they paid their donation pledge, no harm-no foul. It was raining almost from the start, and the brutal north wind made riding difficult to say the least. By the time most riders reached rest stop number one , most were looking for hot cocoa instead of the cold water. Standing at the rest stop made no sense at all...we were all just getting colder. Even huddling together gave no hint of warmth. There was nothing to do but ride on. Reaching Pilot Point was a welcome relief. We headed for the nearest convenience store, and bought hot chocolate. It took about thirty minutes to warm up at all. Everyone in the store looked like cold ,shivering drowned rats. Some people even resorted to putting their socks in the microwave, till the management put an end to that. We rode on, and the rain finally quit around ten thirty. Now we were headed due north and the north wind took revenge , as if to prove no one could ride against it's fury. I finally made it to the day one finish line at 7:30, the last official rider. Then the party began. It was a combination of Woodstock and mardi gras. Bennigan's and Country Wide were by far the most festive bunch, but when the night was over, Bennigan's Bunch ruled!!!!!!!!! I have never seen such hospitality at an overnight before. It was downright heart warming. Sunday, the wind had turned to blow from the west , of course, but this headwind was not as strong as Saturday's. When it was all said and done, the people made the difference in this ride. Two days, two states, one goal.... to end the devastating effects of MS. My hat is off to all the organizers, volunteers, and riders that made this Red River Challenge one to remember. Special thanks to Doug Suggitt , the ride director. The weather could have been better, but the dedication of all participants was beyond compare. If you missed this one, you missed a good one. Roadkill (DeWayne Shepard)

These were the most miserable ride conditions I have ever ridden in. However, this was completely offset by the fact that all the volunteers were out in a good mood, wanting to help in every way. Organization, traffic control, and SAG were all great. I flatted at mile 26 and SAG was there in <5min. checking to help. I told the guy I was ok, but he still stayed and gave some rain cover while I worked! Lunch was greatly welcomed for the warmth, and the finish more so for the beer.
Oppositely, this turned out to be one of the best weather days I've ridden in. Beautiful sunny day, with little wind, seemed to give energy through out the trip. Once again, all the volunteers were happy to see us and waiting on our every need. Finish was good, w/Hooters providing the food.
In all, this was a great ride, but only because of the people involved. I will be back next year...

just got home from a wild weekend.....  If you will see from the subject line of my email,  I rode 82 miles of the MS 150..... Interesting story.  Here is how it played out. 
Friday night, it starts to rain; then it starts to pour; then it starts to thunder and lightening and still the MS 150 ride is scheduled to go, RAIN OR SHINE!!!!
I get up Saturday morning to find it is STILL raining hard, wind is blowing - but the ride is still on.  Dressed in my team jersey / bike shorts / and a thin windbreaker, I head out to the starting line over at Frito Lay. 
By the time, we get to the starting line with our bikes, I am already soaked and cold.  I can't find my friend Steve, but I do find Natalie and Chris (Chris is the President of the Plano Bicycle Association).  Chris, who is about to do his 11th 150 ride, bids us adieu and moves forward in the starting line, while Natalie and I keep a safe position further back.  Announcements are made that the rain is due to stop around 9:00 am and turn into a fairly nice day.... hmmmmmm.....
We take off a little after 7:00 am and inch our way out of the parking lot.   The wind and rain are absolutely brutal.  I can't figure out at this point, if it is raining or hailing.   The rain hurts as it hits my face - not one ounce of my being is dry.  Natalie and I giggle over the fact the each of us have puddles of water in our bike shoes.  Still we keep riding - trying to keep our minds off the weather, we talk about kids / riding, etc.  We stop at the first rest stop / go to the bathroom / grab a banana and continue on. 
The weather continues to assault all the riders.  It is getting worse with each stroke of the pedal. The rains starts to ease up; however, at this point I am soaked and my windbreaker is 'glued' to my skin - making me all the more frigid. What a sight - a couple of thousand rides / some in shorts and t-shirts / some wearing winter coats / some actually wearing garbage bags / some actually wearing appropriate riding gear for this weather.
As Natalie and I pull in to the second rest stop, Natalie's foot gets stuck in her clip and she takes a substantial tumble. I'm worried - is my friend ok / should I call Chris. Several of us help her up and Natalie sits for a moment, just to kind of get her bearings. Some of the support personnel go to get Natalie something to eat and I'm going to give her a power bar. However, when I attempt to pull the zipper open on the pocket of my windbreaker, my fingers are totally frozen and I can't feel the zipper, let alone open my pocket. I am shaking uncontrollably because it is so cold and starting to feel as though I'm having trouble thinking clearly. Natalie, at this point, is back in working order, and looks at me and tells me I'm starting to look blue and so she's goes up to one of the communication personnel and asks him to put me in his truck to warm up.
I sit in his car and he puts a blanket around me, but I can't get warm. Now, announcements are being made across the radios that people are starting to experience hypothermia and if any support personnel suspects someone is experiencing this, to immediately get them into a truck or sag wagon.
I'm still cold and so cold, it is scaring me. There is a big Ryder truck at this rest stop and people and bikes are piling in to be taken to rest stops / the lunch stop / even to the camp ground in Ardmore. (keep in mind - this is my first MS 150).
At this point, I just don't know what to do!!!! And then magically, I get my answer - a family - including a mom / her two sons and one of the son's girlfriends - offer me shelter from the weather / including a change of dry clothes / transport of me and my bike to the lunch stop - where I am able to warm up and eat. I get in their car and it's as though I have known these people for my entire life ---- instant bond.
The weather continues to reek havoc to the point that at the lunch stop, announcements are being made that anyone who wants to, should just leave their bikes and get on the school buses that have been brought to transport people to camp, who no longer choose to ride. You should have seen all the bikes laying on the ground and all the people getting on those buses to be transported to the camp. (did I mention that people were actually putting articles of clothing in the microwave at the lunch stop - now how weird was that - would you want to use that microwave after someone's socks were in it)
I would have liked to have ridden more after getting a dry t-shirt and pants and socks; however, I lent my only jacket to my friend, Steve - and there was no way I could face the weather without being bundled up.
So, my angels - Mary and Tim ---- kept me with them and we drove around picking up people who were in 'trouble' and transported them to 'safety'. Along the way, we saw my dear friend, Natalie, and I tried to coax her into the car, but that Natalie, she was determined to keep riding and rode, until the police told her she had to stop, a little ways after the lunch stop and took her to the camp ground. You rock, Nat!!!!!
It was an eerie sight that day ---- almost like the moors of england? Scotland? Something like that - dark / foggy / cold / windy / with these bodies trudging along on their bikes determined to complete the first day's 90 mile route.
We arrived at the camp ground around 5:30 - it was still freezing!!!!!! I saw Chris, who had rode the entire 90 miles and though, this was his 11th MS 150, said these were the worst weather conditions he had ever seen ---- For Chris to say that, you know it was bad. That helped to alleviate some of the disappointment I felt in myself.
Some folks did do the entire 90 miles that first - don't know how many exactly. I do know, however, that a lot didn't!!!!!
We had dinner in the shivering cold at the campground, where I was supposed to camp out in a tent on that bitter cold wet ground. Man- there were tents set up all over the place; people were getting ready to sack out for the evening.
Once again, Mary and Tim, took me under their wing and invited me to sleep in my sleeping bag on the floor of their hotel room - hey, it was better than sleeping in a tent in the cold!!!
So, picture this - Mother and son in one bed (Mary and Tim); other son and son's girlfriend in the other bed; me on the floor in the corner in a sleeping bag and in another corner of the room another foundling asleep in a sleeping bag. What a sight that must have been. You got to laugh!!!
By the way, did I forget to mention that Tim has MS and was diagnosed 5 years ago. This was his 3rd MS 150. Unfortunately, his MS symptoms have recently reared their ugly head and he was unable to finish the 90 mile route on the first day. This disease is a monster - you never know where in your body it is going to strike ---- Tim experiences the ravages of this disease every single day and, yet, keeps on riding that bike!!!!!!! (Tim rides for the Feisty Devils)
Before we went to sleep Saturday night, Tim and I made a commitment that we were both going to ride the entire second day!!!!! We went to sleep with this in our heads and our hearts.
So, 4:30 am Sunday, the 'group' wakes up / have breakfast and head back to camp, to greet what promises to be an absolutely BEAUTIFUL DAY!!!!! Tim and I are psyched and determined to ride the 60+ miles of the second day!!!!!!! He is going to support me and I him!!!!!
The start is interesting. It begins with a ride over this long bridge which has been blocked off to all traffic. So off we go --- The sun is out and one can feel the warmth in the air. What a rush going over that bridge.
Tim and I get a rhythm and we're cooking with gas. Riding - riding and riding - we stop at the various rest stops - and just keep plugging along.
Funny things happen along the way --- I need to use the 'facilities' ; however, there is not a rest stop in sight --- either go in the bushes or Tim offers to knock on someone's door and ask a total stranger if I can use their bathroom. I opt for the second option and Tim goes to some house / knocks on the door and explains the 'situation' and the woman lets me in - what a trusting soul.
I finally learned what that horrible / horrible smell is, that I have periodically smelled --- IT'S ROADKILL!!!!!! Yucccck!!!!
The ride starts to change and the hills start increasing and getting steeper and longer. Whew --- there is the lunch stop --- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Tim's favorite) / Turkey sandwiches and restrooms AND Natalie--- she and I keep mysteriously running into eachother throughout the course of the ride - it's weird - especially since there are a couple thousand riders.
We're ready to take off after being warned that the rest of the ride is just ONE LONG HILL after another!!!!!!!!! And they weren't kidding!!!!!!
First hill, I am determined not to walk a single hill the entire ride ---- so I'm off; however, where is my riding partner, Tim??????
I stop at the top of this hill and wait and wait - no Tim. Two SAG wagons stop and dear Tim is in one of them, but promises to wait for me at the last rest stop and ride over the finish line me.
So, it's me / my bike / and those gosh darn hills ----!!!!!!! So, now I'm riding for me / for Tim/ and for MS---- that disease that has no pity!!!!!
Every time I get to the top of the hill, there is no relief, just another hill to conquer. I let out the same expletives every time I see another hill / pray to G-d to give me the strength to haul up that hill on my bike for me and for Tim!!!!!!
You know, as I was facing these hills one after another and riding by myself, I think this happened for a reason. Spending this time by myself, gave me the opportunity to conquer some serious fears I had about riding and to realize I am a strong rider, much stronger than I thought I was. Quite honestly, I truly enjoyed scampering (as Natalie says) up the hills. It was going down them that scared me.
I sped by one rest stop - I wanted to get to the last rest stop - grab my partner in crime and make it across that finish line!!!!
Guess who I ran into along the way - Natalie!!! You rock!!!!!
There, at the final rest stop was Tim!!!!!! Whew!!!!! and off we went to 'slay' the remaining monstrous hills and claim victory.
To pass the time and to ignore the long, long hills - we started playing weird games - if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be; what was our favorite fruit; favorite cereal; favorite pair of shoes ---- it kept us giggling....
A couple miles from the finish line, Tim remarks that he hopes he doesn't get any more flat tires; he doesn't have any more tubes. As I'm telling him, I have an extra tire tube, my bike suddenly seizes up and, as if in slow motion, my bike and me tumble to the ground. Guess what - the t-shirt I had wrapped around my waist had gotten wrapped up in the spokes of my wheel and caused the wheel to stop and me to fall.
Fortunately, neither my bike or me was harmed and continued to the finish line.
What a rush, to come across the finish line and hear our numbers announced. Tim's mom on hand to take our pictures as we crossed the finish line.
Yes we did it!!! Maybe not the entire 150, but 82 miles is nothing to sneeze at.
The experience I had this weekend was not just about riding 150 miles, it was really about :
Recognizing one's strengths - especially when one questions oneself
Friendship and camaraderie
Caring for one's fellow man - whether you know them or not
Pure unselfishness
MS!!!!!!! a disease that is totally uncaring and cruel!!!!! You rock, Tim - keep fighting and keep riding.
I'm ready for my next ride!!!!!!