Tuesday, September 17, 2013

And I bet you thought dinosaurs were extinct (the MS 150 ride report)


Not too long ago I had a conversation with Brenna that went something like this:

B: Mommy?
M: Yes, sweetie.
B: Where are the dinosaurs?
M: There are no dinosaurs anymore because they all died. Do you think that means they are extinct?
B: Yes! they are eh-stink...es-stinks....stinks! Stinks!! hahahahahaha (peals of 3.5 year old laughter)...Dinosaurs STINKS!! hahahahah (more uproarious laughter).

Ahhh... the 3.5 year old sense of humor.

But what, you may be wondering, do stinky dinosaurs have to do with my recent MS 150 ride with my dad? Well, my friend, more than you would think...

not nearly as cute as the one above but more accurate for sure.
During our MS 150 ride I discovered that, in fact, dinosaurs are NOT extinct. They are very much alive and are living happily in my bike saddle. Who knew?!

The weather forecast for this year's MS 150 ride in New Bern, NC promised perfection - low 80's for the high, sunny skies, and light and variable winds (translations: headwind from all directions except when it's a crosswind). Who could ask for more?

Ok, some training for 150 miles over two days would have been nice, but that wasn't in the cards for either my father or myself this year.
My parents had just returned less than a week prior to the ride from a 3 week stint in Bali, Java, and Singapore (retirement is rough). And I had spent my summer attending to other priorities.

Between my dad's jetlag and my focus on things other than riding a bike this summer, my dad and I decided that our best plan of attack for this ride was to just make it off the starting line without falling over.

This was my second year fundraising for the National MS Society and my 2nd year of doing the Bike MS 150 New Bern (NC) with my dad. Despite our lack of readiness we were excited to have the opportunity to ride our bikes and raise some money for such a worthy cause.

I am pleased to report that I far exceeded my fundraising goal of $500, and together my dad and I have raised almost $2000...


181 percent of goal achieved.

Progress for Rebecca Leeb

MY GOAL (change)
Although I am thrilled to have exceeded my goal, I am nothing if not an overachiever. As such, I have set an unofficial goal of $1000 which I am still trying to reach. So, if you would still like to donate, please do not hesitate to click here (click on the word "here". really. try it. put your cursor over "here" and click. wasn't that cool? hyperlinks are amazing inventions. :))
(Ok, so it didn't work. My bad. Try clicking on the big long hyperlink below...
I am listed as Rebecca Leeb from Georgia. Donations will be accepted through October 7, 2013.)

In the vein of being realistic about our fitness and desire to suffer, my dad and I set our sites on doing the MS 150 - 50, or  fifty miles per day for a total of 100 miles over the weekend. This goal would help us both survive 2 days of riding. It also had the added benefit of allowing my mom some relief so that she could survive 2 straight days of corralling Brenna's enthusiasm for the beach and everything sand.

sure, she looks calm....

Maintaining my mom's good humor and sanity was a priority as ignoring this was likely to result in my dad and I having to ride our bikes back to Chapel Hill after our MS 100 and sleep on the front lawn.....for the rest of our lives. Not exactly our desired fate.

We rolled into New Bern on Friday afternoon, picked up our packets, dropped our stuff at the hotel and headed another 40 min down to Atlantic Beach (NC) where my mom and Brenna would set up home base. A quick walk on the sand, some Calabash-style dinner (aka - fried everything including the water and the plate on which your food is served), back to the hotel to tuck Brenna into bed and the 40 min drive back to New Bern where my dad and I set a record for getting our stuff ready for the next day and were in bed by 10:15 pm.

I mean, seriously, if you ask for a more beautiful day than this
you deserve to get smacked upside the head and then
subjected to my mother's ill humor upon being left with her
over-excited beach bunny for 15 straight hours while suffering from jetlag.
Day 1

It was a little windy but with the mercury sitting at an almost chilly 66* (F) the conditions were perfect for a relaxed ride over the flattest terrain between the Atlanta Ocean and Kansas. 

New Bern, NC, spelled: "F...L...A...T..."
The ride starts at 8 am sharp. The start is staggered with the fastest riders (those who can or pretend that they can average >20 mph for more than the first 100 yards) heading out first. Subsequent groups head out at approximately 2-3 minute intervals thereafter. 

the start

My dad and I settled in toward the back of the group of riders who all at least imagined they would average 18 mph.

A beautifully sung rendition of our national anthem and we were off. 

Over the causeway bridge (all of our climbing for the day) and we soon found a group of riders going just the right speed and willing to let us work in with their group. We stuck with our new friends until about mile 20 where the 50 mile and the 100 mile routes split. The rest of the group was doing the full century so we said our good-byes (at 19 mph) and continued on our own.
Feeling good, we made it to the rest stop at our 1/2 way point - known as the "lunch break" because it is the 50 mile mark for anyone doing the century on day 1 and has an unappetizing array of "real" foods to consume including beans and rice. Personally, I cannot imagine riding 50 miles, eating a plate of beans and rice and then riding another 50 miles in the hot sun and not vomiting, but I'm just weird that way I guess.
Anyway, we arrived at the lunch break in under an hour and 1/2 (zoooooooom!) at approximately 9:30 am - not exactly lunch time. We were there so quickly, in fact, that they were barely set up for riders to come in.

A toothsome pair.
(for those who don't know, my dad is a retired dentist.
this bear was outside a dental office we passed on our
way back into New Bern. my dad actually knows the
dentists in the practice.)

We took a quick potty break and had an appropriate snack of energy gel and gatorade (mmm, pre-digested food), and we were back on our bikes in 10 minutes. We picked up another rider just before the break who stayed with us for most of the remainder of the ride - A very nice lunatic riding for Team CBC who had lost his mind prior to the ride and made the questionable decision to ride from Raleigh to New Bern (approximately 120 miles) the previous day. Uh, yeah. That's right up there with beans and rice 1/2 way through a century ride in my books.
We continued to make good time on the 2nd half of our ride and were back in New Bern in just over 2.5 hrs. In fact, we may have been among the first 5 people doing the 50 mile route to finish for the day. Go us.
Our speedy return gave us plenty of time to take quick showers and head down to relieve my mother of a sand and waterlogged Brenna.

Shell fragment, anyone?

Day 2

Ok, so remember I started this ride report with the shocking revelation that not only do dinosaurs not stink but neither are they EXtinct? Right. So, here is where we get to that important scientific reveal...
The Megasaurass is a little known but very fierce and dreaded species of dinosaur thought to have died out with the rest of the dinosaur population when that ginormous meteor smacked into the Earth a gazillion years ago (or whatever theory you cling to about the demise of dinosaurs on our planet). Little do most people know this one species, and a closely related cousin, Megasaurbits, still exist but in a much reduced, though
disproportionately fierce, form. They cannot be seen but, like a swarm of no-see-em gnats, when they attack you will know.
Fortunately, most of the human population is safe from attack by the Megasaurass and the Megasaurbits, and it appears that only cyclists who fail to put in a sufficient amount of saddle-time prior to a long ride are susceptible. As such, I was susceptible.
Ohhhh, boy was I susceptible. Within about 30 nanoseconds of placing my rear on my bike saddle on Sunday morning it was painfully apparent that I had not only ordered and received a gross load of both Megasaurass and Megasaurbits during the night, but some had also escaped and infected a good proportion of the other MS 150 riders.
Oops. Sorry folks. I'll try to keep my order more contained next year.
Apart from the paleolithic invasion, Sunday's ride went off without a hitch. My dad and I started with the back of the fastest group and soon found a fantastic group of folks to ride with. We averaged 21 mph with this group for a good 12 miles before they continued on the route for 100 miles and we split off for another 50.
We had another wonderful ride and again finished the 50 mile course in just over 2.5 hours.
A delicious chocolate milk thanks to the folks at Mayola, and another MS 150 in the books.
All in all I would have to say that the 2 days of riding my dad and I did for this amazing cause were the most fun I've had on a bike in a long, long time.

Many thanks to all of you who helped me reach and exceed my fundraising goal. 

It was as a nice surprise to discover that the team that my dad and I ride for during this event was the 5th highest fundraising team for 2013!
Many thanks also to my mom who kept Brenna contained and entertained while my dad and I rode our bikes.
And what is a weekend of riding if there isn't a stop at Dairy Queen?
Don't just bike. Bike MS