Well, the big day finally arrived! Last Friday we packed up all my bike stuff, and our dog, into our car and drove straight north on I-35 until we hit Norman, OK (just south of Oklahoma City). Thanks to almost 40 donors and a generous matching donation from my employer, I raised $2,900 for the MS Society! And, it’s not too late to donate if you’re interested. I really can’t thank everyone enough, many who have donated each of the 9 years that I’ve fundraising for the MS Society.
During our drive, we stopped in Fort Worth for lunch with a friend and then in Norman to see a cousin’s new baby. The weather forecast for Sunday was showing a strong chance of thunderstorms, so the ride organizer made the decision Friday afternoon to proactively cancel Sunday for safety reasons. It was quite disappointing, even more so when it didn’t rain at all on Sunday on the route. At least we got rained on during the drive back to Austin.
I rode 100.5 miles on Saturday, the first 70 miles were mostly north, so the strong wind out of the south was incredibly helpful. The 100 mile route went very close to the finish line in Guthrie, and then out northwest to a small town called Crescent. The portion of the ride that went out to Crescent and back was quite difficult… so crossing the finish line was quite the relief.
And now, for the barrage of photos:
Waiting for the start, wearing last year’s top fundraiser jersey from the Bike MS Arkansas ride
A view of the start – including the crazy blue bike thing…
Riding through the Oklahoma University campus
Oklahoma University castle type building
Small church on campus
Sun rising over the cemetery
Long straight roads
Some sheep along the side of the road… in a more developed area than you might expect
We rode next to Tinker Air Force base, which was surrounded by defense contractors like Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop Grumman
One of the entrances to the Air Force Base
Arriving the “lunch” rest stop at mile 44, meeting Carl and Molly
The rest stop was at a camp building
There were inspirational signs placed along the route
About to cross highways and the Oklahoma River, which is a US Olympics training area
People marching for an unknown (to me) cause, wearing purple shirts
Old house in downtown
Another old house
Approaching the Capitol building with an oil derrick in front of it
Better view of the oil derrick
I saw SO MANY CHURCHES. It put Austin’s church density to shame. In one stretch of road about a mile long, I passed 7 churches!
Nice smooth road – a welcome change from the mostly bumpy Oklahoma roads
A little amusement park, gearing up for Halloween – you can sort of see the giant spider on the side of the roller coaster
The views on the roads north of OKC were some of the nicest on the ride
Pleasant Hill cemetery (with a backwards ‘N’?)
Old stone house out in the country
Entering “Historic Guthrie” – this was about 10 miles before I hit the actual downtown area
Second rest stop at mile 70 – just on the outskirts of Guthrie, and right before I started the hardest part of my ride. I was the first rider to hit this rest stop!
From the rest stop in Guthrie I headed northwest, first crossing the Cimarron river which reminded me of the color of cinnamon
See? Kinda reddish
Looking the other direction
A haunted house on the outskirts of town
The dirt out here was really red
Lots of inspirational signs on the 100 mile route
Out towards Crescent, the clouds were really ominous
But luckily the storm stayed to the west
I basically alternated between riding straight north and then straight west
Very red dirt, very dark clouds
I paused briefly at the rest stop in Crescent and talked to the friendly volunteers
They had lined the road with signs
Crescent is not very big…
I came across these squiggly lines painted on the road from time to time, but have no idea what they mean
Small town cemetery
Where’s a good tailwind when you need it? Especially appropriate at this point since I was riding against a pretty heavy headwind for the last 15 miles.
Back in Guthrie I got to take photos of some old buildings
Including this bike shop which had a penny farthing out front!
The Oklahoma Territorial Museum
Getting so close to the finish!
The Scottish Rite Masonic Temple
The finish line finally in sight
If you look closely you can see Carl and Molly behind the guy in the green shirt
Crossing the finish
Posing with my favorite dog