Saturday, June 30, 2007

The MS-15(7) Report

Hi all,

Sorry for the delay in posting. Been a busy week!

Well, the MS-157 Mile Bike Tour is complete. Yes, I said 157 miles. (I had a little navigation problem on Saturday morning when I left the Franklin, ID aid station.)
Before I get going with the events of the weekend, I want to thank all of you who supported me both financially and physically on this ride. Together, we raised $1,090.00 dollars towards the fight to end multiple sclerosis. The grand total as of Saturday evening for the entire bike tour was $1,400,000.00!

Thanks very much to my contributors: Becky, Dean, Ted, Mark, Cindy, Keith, Patsy and Rick, Nancy, Kathy, Charles, Kelly, Valerie, MaryAnn, Gary and Madeline, Kim and Pete, Pilar, Jim, Cindy, and Lisa. You folks are the best!
I had been told by many people that this ride was far and above the best supported ride in Utah, and, they were right. The aid stations were well staffed, full of food and supplies, and there were SAG wagons with ham radio operators throughout the course on both days. Also, Bingham’s Cycles provided bike mobile mechanics towing BOB trailers shuttling between aid stations helping out the lost and forlorn with flat tires and all manner of maintenance issues.
Tent City at the Cache County Fairgrounds

Crowding to the start line...

Team ATK is ready to go!
Day #1 started out with over 4,000 riders crowded to the start line at the Cache County Fairgrounds. Team ATK was lucky as we had ended up near the actual start line and would have little or no delay. Right from the beginning I was able to ride at or greater than my planned pace and eased my way onto a large pace line as we headed north to Richmond, UT. Some of the more serious road bike racing types were not at all pleased to see a recumbent in the group, but most were accepting as I was able to hold my line and speed. One rider was upset with me, and cursed my actual presence. (See note #6 below) Ahh well; they eventually merged several pace groups into one huge peloton and I let them all pass me by leaving me in peace and quiet. And yes, I did take a wrong turn in Franklin.
Even bikes need rest!
After my quick pit stop, I blithely followed a huge group out the exit and turned right, and headed up the century route. Silly me. About 3.5 miles up the hill, I realized my mistake. Wanting to keep with my plan for the weekend, I reversed course, headed back to Franklin, and back west on the 75 mile route.
Saturday morning I broke several personal bests for 20 mile, 32 mile, 50 mile, and 60 mile splits. In April, you may recall I rode 60 miles in 4 hours flat. Well, on this day, with pace line support and lots of mental get up and go, I rode 60 miles in 3+25! But, then the temperature rose dramatically above 90 degrees, and the wind came up a bit, and I sort of ran out of gas. It was a fun speed run while it lasted. My total riding time for the day was 4+50.

A lovely ride up Blacksmith Fork

Day #2 started with temperatures about 10 degrees cooler, and my adrenaline level down in the single digits. With cold and sore legs, it took me 2 hours to climb the 23 miles to Hardware Ranch at the top of Blacksmith Fork Canyon.
At Hardware Ranch.
After a nice break and great cruise back down the canyon, I finally found my legs. About 30 miles in I was glad to join up with a group from the Bad Ass Coffee Cycling Team. Nice people! They invited me to join them, and I had a great time learning tactics of a rotating pace line for 5-7 miles. Then after a short and steep uphill, I fell off the back and wished them well as they sped happily into the distance. Later at the Minden, UT lunch stop I was able to catch up with the same folks and they welcomed me back into their line. What fun! - 18-20 riders and one recumbent. It must have been quite a sight. We held a 19-21 mph pace the last 25 miles to the finish line. I was quite proud to take my turn at the front and pull my weight. Wasn’t really fair to the rider behind me, as she had to pull twice due to no draft from me! The upshot of all this is that it took me 2 hours to ride the first 23 miles, and 2:45 to ride the last 52! At the top of Hardware Ranch, my average speed was 11.4 mph, and nearly 3 hours later at the finish line, my average speed had risen to 15.5 mph! A great afternoon of riding!

Great bikes stay together!
All in all, it was a great weekend. I learned a lot about MS; Learned a lot about riding long distances on successive days; Learned how to ride in a pace line: and learned that there is more gas in my tank than I previously thought.

Thanks again to all who supported me on this grand adventure. The 2008 MS1-50 Mile Bike Tour is scheduled for June 28 & 29, 2008. Expect to see me there!

And Finally…

The Top Ten comments I heard about my recumbent on the tour:

10: Is that thing comfortable?
9. You call that a draft?
8. I didn’t know recumbent bikes could ride this fast.
7. Dude, I couldn’t keep up with you on that downhill.
6. What the F(*&k are you doing in this pace line! (Response: “The same speed as you, Pal!”)
5. (Overheard as a pace line went by in the canyon): “Could you ride that thing up this hill?”
4. (From a ‘bent rider riding an old Bike E): “That’s what I’m talking about!”
3. Cool bike mister! (from any number of kids)
2. That’s not fair! (As I coasted past a road bike at 30 mph down the canyon)
1. Is that one of Bill Cook’s bikes? (A long conversation immediately followed!)

1 comment:

Vik said...

Glad you had a fun MS ride. Looks like it was beautiful riding weather!