MS 150 Ride Reportby Connie Guild, Team Dot Louisville
June 4th and 5th has come and gone, and the MS-150 for 2005 is behind me. Although I hoped it would not rain (and it didn't), I was close to praying for rain on both days due to the oppressive heat.
As I headed to the Toyota Plant at Georgetown, I thought of all my "financial backers" with a smile in my heart. You are the ones who make this ride worthwhile. And I thought of all the people I know with MS: Lil, Rita, Kelley, Nanci's secretary, Elaine, Joe's brother Mike and Joe's nephew, Jim, Dot, Sharon, Heather, my doctor's mom, Jackie, Keith's sister, Nancy Lee's friend, Katie Beth's mom, Sara's mom, and famous people like Richard Pryor, Annette Funicello, and Montel Williams. Seven of the people I named above work or used to work at the VA Medical Center with me, and I helped five of them retire on disability. Some are very disabled with vision problems and/or motor problems. There are a few that, had I not been told, I would have never known they had MS. I remembered WAY BACK when I was young, MS was a very frightening diagnosis, with no hope of treatment. Today, because of the efforts of people like you, there have been some effective forms of treatment for some folks with MS.
As I arrived in Georgetown, a group of us saw a woman arrive in clothing with cycling logos, so we asked her if she was riding the MS-150. She said "yes." We asked her if she was on a team, and she said, "yes... team Dot." We were surprised and told her that we were also on Team Dot Louisville and asked her where she was from. More surprise: She was from Bloomington,Ill., and works for State Farm, where my daughter Dana lives and works. What a small world! But she made a 6-hour drive to come all the way to do this ride. And we saw riders from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Florida ... almost 400 riders in all .... Amazing!
We began the ride Saturday morning at about 8:40 am. It was hot and muggy. We had four rest stops (Mt. Vernon Church, Troy Presbyterian Church, Mt.Zion Church, Perryville United Methodist Church) and one lunch stop (Burgin Christian Church). You may remember from last year's report, there is one HUGE HILL on this ride. On the first day, the HUGE HILL is between rest stops two and three. It is a two-mile curvy ride downhill (WHEEEEE!) to the Kentucky River and then a two-mile climb uphill. The sweet volunteers at the Mt. Zion Church were clapping for every one of us as we reached the top of that huge hill. The food (peanut butter/jelly sandwiches, bananas, oranges, cookies, gorp, candy bars, etc.) was always plentiful and handed out by smiling volunteers. Pit stops in the porta-potties were a little "challenging." Cycling shorts are fairly easy to pull down, but extremely hard to pull up when you are sweaty and hot. (I know... too much information!)
One of our riders had some bike problems at the top of the two-mile hill, and actually had to have her chain replaced on the bike (thanks to support from Scheller's Fitness & Cycling). That was a delay of about 40 minutes for three of us riding together. On one section of the ride near the end of the day, there were four of us riding together (including the woman from Bloomington,Ill.) and we could not make it to the next rest stop. We had to stop by the side of the road and get under the shade of a tree, get off our bikes, drink water, and sit for about 10 minutes ... even though we were only about 5 miles to the next rest stop. We just couldn't go on without a rest.
But on we rode. And at the next rest stop, there was a sweet woman volunteering, dishing out wet, icy cloths to put on our necks. I thanked her for volunteering, and as she handed me a cold cloth with her hand showing a definite tremor, a cane by her side, she thanked ME for riding for HER.
We finished the ride and pulled into Centre College in Danville at about 4:30 pm. A very long day. We were truly "finished". My overall "statistics" for day one was that I rode 76.13 miles and had 5 hours and 48 minutes on the bike saddle. My average heart rate was 157 (my highest heart rate on one steep and long hill was 188), and I expended approximately 2,256 calories. Our average speed was 13.28 mph, and my maximum speed was 33.1 mph (on some downhill somewhere!).
We rushed to our hotel for showers, and rushed back to the college for the banquet. They had a tremendous speaker again this year... a woman with MS told us her story. (Unfortunately, I don't know her name.) She was an emergency room nurse, and loved her work. She was diagnosed with MS (relapsing-remitting type) in 1994. There was not an effective treatment at that time. She began to lose her vision and was eventually legally blind, and had to quit work. She was placed on steroids and gained about 70 lbs. (She pleaded with everyone to be very nice to anyone they know on steroid therapy, because it can be a very disfiguring medication, causing significant weight gain and a "moon"face.) Then in 1998, four treatments were developed through extensive research. She tried most of them, and finally found one (Copaxone) that worked well for her. She regained her vision, was able to be taken off steroids, returned to work, and has begun cycling and hiking, and basically "living" again. She also did the ride on day one. (She was not able to ride day two due to the heat.) She thanked us all for helping to get her life back.
We found out that Team Dot Louisville was the number one fund-raiser again this year, with the team raising approximately $56,400+, exceeding our goal $50,000. My own personal goal was to raise $1,000. With help from my financial backers (grin), I also exceed my goal, and raised $1,150+. The banquet ended with our own Pam Davis singing a beautiful song for which she wrote both music and words, as a tribute to the strength, courage, and grace of those with MS. Many of us left with tears in our eyes — what a touching song!
The second day was worse than the first. We started the ride on Sunday at about 7:15 am, in hopes of beating the heat. The heat was not to be beaten! But we had rest stops at Mt. Zion Church, Keene Post Office, First United Methodist Church, and lunch at Keeneland. Also on day two, I met a two-person team (Team Iowa) that was inspiring. It was a father and daughter team. The daughter was 15 years old, and this was her FOURTH year riding in the MS-150. She began when she was 11. She told us (with pride) that she was riding for her dad, who has MS. (They were usually ahead of me, even in the heat!) There was another mother/son combination. The son was also just 15, and it was his first MS-150. He and his mom were riding for his aunt with MS. (Daniel and I rode together for several miles, since he had left his mom behind at a red traffic light!)
Despite the heat, there were beautiful red-winged black birds aplenty, and the songs of meadowlarks and other birds surrounding us. There was one small snake on the road, lots of mama horses and their colts, lots of cows huddled around shade trees, and just a few dogs. There was the smell of honeysuckle and verbena as we rode by some beautiful farmland and horse farms. One horse farm had a HUGE track, complete with rails just like Churchill Downs, and a lake for an "infield". We rode by a "castle." We saw little white goats with brown faces. We rode through Midway, Versailles, Shakertown, Harrodsburg, Perryville, Danville, and Georgetown.
We ended the second day back at the Toyota plant in Georgetown at about 1:30 pm, after riding 60.38 miles, with 4 hours 42 minutes 34 seconds in the bike saddle. My average heart rate this day was 148, and I expended approximately 1,801 calories. (That's about 4,056 calories in two days. So I'm currently working on "getting those calories back"... grin.) Our average speed was 13.05 (a little slower) with my maximum speed being 35.7 (a steeper downhill somewhere).
As we were resting and trying to replenish lost calories, I noticed the volunteers shirts said one person is diagnosed with MS every single hour of every single day. We had also been told that more males are being diagnosed with MS, and that people are getting diagnosed at younger ages. Indeed, I heard of a family who has two young boys (pre-teen) who have been diagnosed with MS.
So now I'll end with a funny story about myself. When I arrived at Georgetown at the end of the second day's ride, all hot and sweaty, I grabbed my clothing (shirt, shorts, underwear) out of my suitcase so I could ride home in non-sweaty, non-cycling clothing. I went into the restroom and pulled off my cycling shorts and went to put on my underwear. However, what I had thought was my underwear, was actually one arm-warmer. It took me all of about two seconds to decide to go "commando." It was good for a laugh at the end of a long, hot day!
I hope that we are all part of a cure for MS. I plan to keep riding each year until a cure is found.
THE CAUSE IS A MYSTERY.
THE CURE IS UNKNOWN.
THIS IS WHY WE RIDE.
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web posted: 18 July 2005
last updated: 20 July 2005