Well friends, I did it. This past weekend, I rode in my 10th consecutive Bike MS event! This year’s ride was the Valero Ride to the River which goes from San Antonio to New Braunfels in 161 miles over two days. And thanks to many dedicated donors over the years, I’ve raised $20,745 for the National MS Society, $2,335 of that just this year. I am grateful to have so many friends, family, and coworkers who have pitched in over the years, some of you giving generously each and every year. I know that this fundraising is helping to make a difference for people who have Multiple Sclerosis. This year in particular I met a number of people who have had MS for multiple years yet are still able to train for, and ride, 100 miles in a single day. I’m hopeful that research will continue to find better treatments and even a cure.
Now for a bit of reminiscing… Here are the Bike MS events I’ve ridden in:
- The BP MS 150 from Houston to Austin 3 years: 2008 – 2010
- Bike MS: Escape to the Lake in Western Pennsylvania, 2011
- Bike MS: Pedal to the Point in Northern Ohio, 2012
- Bike MS: Ride the Rim through Palo Duro Canyon, TX, 2013
- Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round Up Ride in DFW, TX, 2014
- Bike MS: Rock ‘n Hot Ride from Little Rock to Hot Springs, Arkansas, 2015
- Bike MS: The Road Divided from Norman to Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2016
- And of course Bike MS: Valero Ride to the River 2017
It wouldn’t be a true thank you post without me narrating a bazillion pictures from the ride. I hope you enjoy!
For the day one ride, I wore my first ever top fundraiser jersey, from the 2012 Pedal to the Point. It’s one of my favorite designs. While the morning started out relatively cool, the humidity was quite high. I didn’t sleep well overnight and I think these two factors made me start to feel worse than normal on this ride. I started having trouble eating enough food about halfway through, which is a big problem on a 100 mile ride. I toughed it out, but am extremely thankful for some cloud cover that rolled in at the 70 mile mark, and a number of people that I drafted off of when I was started to feel weak. All in all, it was a great ride. The route had tons of support – police officers directing traffic at almost every intersection, enthusiastic volunteers at the rest stops, and friendly drivers and riders. I finished the 100 mile route with a 16.9 mph average.
We started from a mall in northern San Antonio, a little while after sunrise.
Many team HEB riders had Texas flag jerseys.
It wouldn’t be a ride through the Texas countryside without a bunch of churches. Many of the rest stops were hosted at churches.
Signs of fall – a pumpkin patch!
About 6 miles in, we were stopped by a very long, slow train. Lots of cyclists bunched up at the crossing.
Those four legged creatures are donkeys.
Lots of yellow wildflowers are out this time of year.
St. John Lutheran Church, one of the rest stops.
Hoese Cemetery. One of the many small cemeteries I saw – although the sign maker misspelled cemetery and I feel their pain – I almost always try to spell it with an “a” too.
This rest stop was hosted at a school. Each rest stop was sponsored by a different volunteer group and this one had some fun signs leading up to the turn.
A family was parked along the route with giant legos – with the message “LEGO Daddy LEGO”
The lunch rest stop was also at a school. I was there pretty early so I just had a snack, filled my bottles and headed on my way.
There I go!
Oh hey, another church / rest stop.
Lone Oak – another cemetery. This one didn’t try to write out the word.
Long country roads. Day one was relatively flat. 3,760 ft elevation gain which isn’t that much for 100 miles.
A little pond.
It’s hard to see, but there are a bunch of deer in the shadows of the trees.
Rolling in to the 71 mile rest stop.
We rode along River Road, which is a gorgeous, mostly flat, smooth road along the Guadalupe River with tons of camping and tubing. I remember this particular icehouse from the first time I ever ran a half marathon which was in New Braunfels. It’s at the very beginning of River Road.
Descending down on to River Road. About this time the cloud cover started to roll in and I was so grateful.
One of many river crossings.
A different river crossing.
Colorful tents along the river bank. At yet another river crossing.
Nice shady tree lined roads.
One of the many places you can rent tubes.
River on one side, rocks on the other.
After the 30 mile out and back from New Braunfels along River Road, I made it to the finish! Worn out but happy.
On day 2, I rode up to the route from the Schlitterbahn resort where we stayed overnight and jumped in. That way I could sleep a little longer and didn’t have to push my way through the crowds into the starting chute. The morning was warmer, but not quite as humid. We didn’t get any cloud cover, but I felt so much better the morning of day two than I did day one. I picked my Bike MS Rock ‘n Hot Ride top fundraiser jersey to wear, since it’s one of my favorite designs AND it was from my highest fundraising year ever! Scroll to the end to see a photo. On day two, I averaged 16.3 mph on the hillier route with less drafting.
Just me and my shadow headed out on the much hiller day two route.
A bit hard to see, but in many places there were fancy houses up on top of the hills.
A red barn events center.
I know this looks like my bike but it’s not! It’s another blue / gray Independent Fabrication titanium bike. The colors aren’t the same, but the overall idea from the fade to the raw titanium seat / chain stays is identical. I found the owner riding later and chatted with him – his bike is 10 years old and it still looks great! He complemented me on my bright orange hubs – I think his bike would look good with them too.
You can kinda see the river and house with big deck down along the river through the trees.
Large RV park / compound on River Road. The day two route also included River Road at the end of the ride.
The Guadalupe River.
Sun through the trees.
A river crossing.
The river, again.
And the finish chute! “Don’t Stop – Get ‘Er Done”
Here I am!
That dude straight ahead is the best husband ever.
Hello finish line!
The year had the fanciest Bike MS medal – it’s the type they give out at half / full marathons.
That’s right – 10 years!
It’s so satisfying to have met my goal of riding 10 years and raising over $20,000 for the National MS Society. Ever since I was young I knew the devastating effects of Multiple Sclerosis as I watched my godmother succumb to the worse MS can do. I really hope that a cure is near. While I plan to take a break for a year or more, I don’t think this is my last Bike MS ride. There are Bike MS events across the country and I have my sights on a spectacular ride in New Mexico, and maybe even California and Alaska (I’m looking at you, sister-in-law and sister). If you know me, you know I love to ride my bike.
One last note – big thanks to my husband Carl, who has accompanied me on 9 of the 10 Bike MS trips. Besides the obvious help on the Bike MS weekend (driving to the event, carrying my things, making sure I get the food I need, cheering me on, taking photos, and just generally being awesome) he also puts up with my many, many hours bike training during the summer, when I wake up before sunrise every Saturday to get in training miles before it gets too hot. And then when I get home from long hot rides, he works in the yard or around the house while I rest and even takes me out for ice cream or bananarchy (delicious chocolate covered frozen bananas) later in the day. You’re the best, honey!