I've ridden the MS150 a bunch of times but never with my husband or my bestie. This year I was lucky enough to get to ride with both.... or maybe I should say they were both crazy enough to say they wanted to ride! I was especially emotionally moved to ride this year because of our dear friend's recent MS diagnosis....
All that said I think this year's ride might have been my most difficult ever for me. Not sure if it was the fact that I had been so sick and been having issues just breathing regularly for the better part of the year 2012, the 20mph headwind on Saturday, the fact that I hadn't been to spin class since the year 2011 (and to be honest I can't remember when that actually happened last!) or perhaps the fact that since the time I got off my bike at the end of the 2011 MS150 to the time I got back in the saddle on Saturday for day 1 of the 2012 MS150 I had ridden a whopping total of 20 miles.... Perhaps all of the above!
|The orange bandanas (tied around various parts of my bike) are for my pedal partners - my loved ones with MS who I ride with. I sent them to all 3 of them so they've been signed with great sentiments.|
We got ourselves and our bikes ready and we headed out on this adventure together.
The temperature was great for day 1 the head wind was just nasty. However we all pushed through and rode the entire day! There was no sagging for any of the 5 of us! (The 5 of us being myself, Ken, Mel & BJ and Jay.) We hit a lot more rest stops than I usually do but we needed them. In fact a few naps were had I think at some of the rest stops along the way!
The great thing about this ride is that it is NOT a race. Yes you may want to finish in a decent time but that's more just because you want off the bike seat than anything! People are friendly and it's fun to make new friends. It's also fun to banter with some folks a bit. I gave a fair share of grief to people in Michelob Ultra Jerseys asking them when they were going to start drinking real beer.... and when they seemed cool enough sharing my favorite joke with them... "What do Michelob Ultra and making love in a canoe have in common?" Of course you can enter any crappy beer for Michelob Ultra in that joke but hey it amused me and the real beer drinkers within earshot!
We rolled into LaGrange and were super happy to have made it in 1 piece! We were all so amazingly proud of Ken because he'd never even ridden a bike more than 17 miles in one shot - talk about a big mileage change! The amazing guys from Saint Arnold were just past the "finish" line (I guess you'd call it the finish line even though it was just the finish line for the day) with beer for us! We didn't roll in together but it didn't take long for us to all be there enjoying beer and admiring Shawn's resourcefulness in getting the truck right next to the site where we were staying with our tents and such! SCORE! We grabbed full beers and set up our tents, had some dinner (yummy fajitas), drank some more beer, got a shower, drank some more beer, got some more food (the MS150 food this time instead of our Team Saint Arnold food) including a funnel cake, drank some more beer and laughed and had fun the whole evening.
It wasn't a late evening though because boy were we all tired! (By the way - if you're going to ride the MS150 it is soooooo worth it to ride for a team and there is no better team than Saint Arnold!)
Sunday morning we got up but were in no rush to get to the start line. I figure why wait in the massive line of people to push out... sleep in a little and wait for them to all go and then just roll on out! Ken's knee (not the one he had surgery on) had been bothering him the day before. He was determined to push out and try and ride. Sadly it didn't take long for him to realize his knee simply wasn't going to allow it. I was really proud of him that he recognized this (before he really really hurt himself) and had Shawn retrieve him so the 2 of them could head to Austin to claim our hotel rooms and start drinking some beer! The 4 of us pushed on and rode the 2nd day with MUCH less wind which was really nice. Sadly there were a few accidents along the way that stopped all the bike traffic. Unfortunately not everyone is aware enough of rider etiquette and some people get too antsy to go faster than the crowd allows hence some of the accidents. I don't think there were any hugely major ones this year though so that's good.
Wish I could report more details but in general it was just ride ride ride in the push to get to Austin. I was so excited to roll into Austin and see Ken and Shawn near the finish line cheering us on. Honestly this was the most difficult MS150 I've done and more than once I had to remind myself of Erin, Spicoli and Aunt Janet to keep my legs moving. I'm not too proud to admit that when I turned the 2 lefts to pull into the Saint Arnold tent area (and grab my beer!) when I saw Ken and hugged him I had tears in my eyes because I was so glad to be done but I was so glad I'd done it even though it was incredibly hard.
We drank some more fantastic Saint Arnold beer at the finish line which once again perhaps the best beer ever!!!
We stopped by the Capitol for a couple pictures...
Then went to clean up at the hotel (after hitting the hot tub) and headed out for a nice steak dinner. But prior to that I busted out a bottle of Schramsberg which is our wine of choice for celebratory occasions. I save all the corks and this one is marked MS150 2012!
By the way - the beds at the Intercontinental Hotel in Austin are amazingly comfortable and the food at Eddie V's is fantastic. (Ask for the server Luigi and you are certain to be well taken care of!) We all slept incredibly well that night and then headed to breakfast at Annie's which was where we had eaten after the 2011 MS150 and let me tell you this place makes an awesome breakfast! Ken took Mel and BJ to the airport with their bikes (We were so glad to have them join us for this adventure!) and then he headed back to the hotel and Ken, Jay, Shawn and myself pushed out for home. Driving back looking at the hills I couldn't help but think "What the heck were we thinking? It's clearly uphill to Austin." But then again I think I've had that thought after every MS150 I've done :)
Ken claims he has unfinished business.... who knows... maybe we will be back again next year....