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Archive for August, 2008

The MS150 is in the history books, and now (about 29 hours after finishing) I can say I feel pretty much back to normal.  It was a grueling test of both physical and mental aptitude… and it was very enjoyable all at the same time.

I was hoping to get a good night of sleep on Friday night prior to the ride, but for some reason, Edmund and Xena decided to jump on the bed in the mood to play at about 3am.  So much for that…  I got up around 5:30am and did my final preparations, then loaded the bike into the car and headed for the WCTC campus on the far west end of the Milwaukee metropolitan area.  A couple hundred people out of the total 1800+ riders were already there, and I quickly found members of my corporate team (Biogen Idec) and checked in.  I turned in my final donation checks and took my luggage for the overnight stay to the staging area to be loaded on a truck.  A little later, we assembled for the team photo, and by 7:45am we were off…

I took it really easy the first few miles – which was not hard, because quite a few people rolled out at the same time (our team was released as the third group, about 100 of us at a time) and we trickled along country roads for several miles.  Despite the scorching, humid weather predictions, the morning air was quite pleasant and cool, and we were frequently in the shade.  I ate this up…  about an hour in, the field had started to spread out quite a bit and we were approaching the first of many rest stops.  I went past this one as I was still feeling great and had most of my water remaining.  I stopped at the second rest stop (roughly the 25 mile mark) and stretched out a bit, grabbed a course map (though there was little chance of getting “lost”), and topped off the water.  I pulled out at the same time as some slightly more aggressive riders than I had been riding with prior to the stop, so I stepped up my pace considerably between there and the lunch stop at the 40 mile mark.  Still feeling quite good, I skipped the spaghetti and opted for just the salad and an energy drink, then hopped back on the bike and booked another good 20 miles at a hefty pace.  By now it was mid-day and it had warmed up a bit, but the weather was still quite comfortable.

I hit the proverbial “wall” at the 60 mile mark… that was pretty much my limit.  I realized later that I hadn’t consumed as much water along the way as I should have, and my pace was a couple of miles an hour over what it should have been to be “comfortable”.  Miles 60-70 were difficult for me, and the last 5 miles were downright torture.  I took advantage of every rest stop from lunch until the end, and thankfully they spread them out such that they increase in frequency right up until the end.  I was never so glad as when I rounded the last corner, passed the tents in the “team area”, and headed up the hill towards the bike impound on the UW-Whitewater campus.  Not really knowing what to do at that point, I turned in my bike and headed down to the truck where the luggage had been unloaded.  After collecting it, I headed toward the main dorm building and got my key, went up to the room, and changed out of my bike gear and into some more comfortable clothing (t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops).  I headed down to the Biogen tent and was amazed to find that I was the first one there.  All of the “hardcore” riders on the team had opted to take the 100 mile route, and they quickly started streaming in.  I relaxed with a beer and munched on some of the snacks until others showed up.  After a couple of hours almost all of the 40 team members had joined me at the tent.  We chatted about our ride experiences, ate a special dinner and later on headed for the Party Tent – a special area set up to accommodate everyone on the ride.  They did a special presentation honoring the top fundraisers, people who had been doing the ride on each of its 25 years, etc…  consumed some more beer and got to know more of the team members that I had only just met that morning.  Everyone was very nice and I was really glad Kevin had talked me into doing the ride.  Kevin was my roomie, too, so by 11pm (after consuming some pizza) we headed back to the dorm for some much needed sleep.

Woke up the next morning at around 5:30am only marginally rested, but feeling pretty good considering I had eaten all sorts of crap the night before and consumed the equivalent of around 8 cans of beer.  I grabbed a little something to eat, returned the room key, dropped my luggage off at the truck, and retrieved my bike.  I was on the road by 7am and just decided to take it easy all day long for the second day.  Again, the weather was absolutely amazing considering how hot and humid they had originally predicted it would be.  I stopped for at least 10 minutes at each rest stop, took around a half hour at lunch, and rode at a rate only to the point of feeling comfortable.   Still made it to the finish line in Madison early enough to catch the earliest possible bus (2pm) back to WCTC, and I was very glad to hand my bike over and collect my luggage to change into some comfortable clothes for the ride home.  I had slightly re-aggrevated an old injury in my right leg (behind my knee) and developed a rather odd pain I’ve never felt before in my left achilles.  Relaxed on the bus ride back to WCTC, and from there it was very nice to climb back into the Volvo for an air-conditioned ride back to the house. 

All in all, I had an excellent time and I was very impressed with how organized and well-supported the event was.  Kudos to all the volunteers (especially the ones at the rest stops – locals along the route were there to help out and some had even brought home-baked goodies!) and especially Biogen Idec for the extra perks that being on a corporate team provided.  I had no mechanical problems with the bike all weekend, and considering the number of flats I saw people dealing with along the route, I felt pretty lucky.

All this said, I must say that I still prefer mountain biking!!!  The pain in my legs is pretty much gone at this point and I’ll probably be ready to climb back on a bike in a couple of days.  I’m going to try to keep this healthy (eating) trend I’ve been on the past couple of months going, too.  Cheers!!

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