MS 150 and the Cycling Communityby Tim Chilton, VP Touring
For the third year in a row, I had a great time participating in the MS 150 Bike the Bluegrass Tour. As you all know, there are plenty of good causes in which we can choose to invest our energy. Yes, the National MS Society is one such good cause. But what sets them apart, for me, is that they are very much in tune and in touch with our cycling community. They are in full support of us cyclists just as many of us cyclists are in support with their desire to stamp out Multiple Sclerosis.
They do all the little things right. First, they design courses that are quite challenging. No matter what your level of fitness, you will definitely receive a workout. Constant rollers in Bluegrass horse country is what you can expect, with a few decent climbs (one of them through the Kentucky River Valley) sprinkled in for good measure.
The SAG stops are well stocked with good food and drink, and the course is heavily traveled by SAG vehicles and the ubiquitous Schellers Fitness and Cycling van.
The riders are getting more serious, too. It seems that the first year I did this, there were lots of mountain bikes and old 10-speeds that were dug out of the garage. This past ride, there were definitely mostly road bikes, many of them looking new and very "high zoot." Oh, yes, you can still see the guy who completes the annual event on his 1970's era Azuki 40 pounder, but events like the MS 150 are reaching out to a more serious crowd and helping to grow the sport of cycling.
Hammerheads are out, too! I just about blew up trying to keep up with a handful of cannibals. Fate miraculously interceded in the form of a flat tire and I rode the final 40 miles with a good group at a steady, sane pace. Well, that's mostly true. On the final leg of Saturday's ride, a guy with the squeakiest bike I ever heard passed alongside us and took off like he would sprint the final 20 miles in to Danville. Naturally, we jumped right on his wheel and I think it scared the guy! Obviously, he has not been training with the LBC.
We had a great party Saturday night, hosted by the MS Society and our team leaders, Phil and Dot Patterson. Plenty of beverages were available for dehydrated bicycle riders.
Sunday's ride was mostly solo for me, passing many solitary souls and some groups of smiling, chatty cyclists enjoying their day on the bike. The weather was very nice for early June — nearly perfect — so it was a great way to spend a weekend cycling while helping a truly noble cause.
I am wagering that we will continue to see this event grow and prosper. Reports are that 223 cyclists raised over $214,000. That's a staggering statistic!
The MS-150 is a way to help a very worthy cause, to enjoy a weekend with your cycling friends, and to enhance the visibility of the cycling community. I'd call that a hat trick!
See you in June, 2005!
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web posted: 25 July 2004
last updated: 1 August 2004