Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bike MS: Finally Finished!

I've been doing Bike MS events for 6 years now, and the 150-mile Bike MS for 5. I've never finished a two-day event under my own power before today.

Bike MS in Iowa works like this: The Des Moines and Cedar Rapids chapters of the National MS Society start off in their respective cities, ride to Marshalltown, stay overnight, and ride home the next day. Oh, and there are rest stops, energy drinks, energy bars, and lots and lots of home-made cookies in between. Oh, and bananas. LOTS of bananas. And the money goes to researching a nasty, debilitating bastard of a disease.

Well, the first year I did the two-day event (they were known as MS 150 events back then), I made it 132 miles out of 150 and quit. My legs wouldn't pedal anymore. That was back on my recently-departed Trek 2100 (I hope the new owner is getting good use out of it).

This year, I had the Invincible. I cannot adequately describe how much energy that bike saved me. Pedaling that bike is a joy--the bearings in the bottom bracked (cranks) and wheel hubs are so smooth you feel like you've got an extra mile per hour at your disposal.

And I needed it. The roads into Marshalltown are hilly, by Iowa standards. And that's saying something, because we are a rolling prairie kind of state. There isn't much here that's truly flat. So once I had 60 miles in my legs yesterday, THEN the road started getting interesting. I made it, but I walked one hill that looked and felt like it should double as a rock-climbing wall. And what was the very base of that hill was a set of railroad tracks with plenty of loose gravel. So the hill that would have been the most fun to barrel down with the brakes open was the one that was utterly unsafe to do so. Bummer.

I did cheat just a bit in one other aspect. There was a section coming out of the lunch stop in Maxwell (much love to Brenda Colvin and crew--you guys rock that rest stop) which went North, then West, then South out of Cambridge. I just went straight across and cut roughly 10 miles out of my way.

(We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post so I can pet my cat).

Anyway...there was a very tiny wind out of the North, but it was enough to boost my legs to going 18-22 miles per hour going south on flat stretches, including NW State Street in Ankeny itself in the closing stretch. And I did a no-hands victory salute when I hit the parking lot at the finish line.

Official stats, according to my Polar computer:
135.2 miles total
10 hours 50 minutes total ride time.
Average speed, 12.4 mph
Maximum speed: 34 mph
Average heart rate: 155 bpm
Total kilocalories burned: 9,400.
Status of my legs: Don't ask...

Serious note: the number of riders doubled from last year. We're looking to keep that trend going. If you would like to participate in Bike MS, please contact your local chapter of the National MS Society.

I love you, Mom.

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