I would like to report to all concerned that the MS150 went awesomely!
We were a little concerned at the forecast Friday morning, the wind was gusting at 30-40 mph and there were quite a few storms brewing on the horizon. We dropped our camping gear off at fillbilly’s place (his mom who actually suffers from MS played sag wagon for us). Once we were no longer encumbered by our luggage, Jana, Sven, Karl, Fillbilly and I all set out to ride to the registration point in Blaine (about 20 miles north of Phil’s house). The ride up was fantastic! I chose to ride my new xtracycle, which is absolutely fabulous to cruise around on. The same 30-40 mph wind that I was afraid of did a swell job of pushing us north to the starting point, save one flat tire we made near record time.
One in Blaine, they checked our gear and bikes and we hopped on the bus headed towards Proctor Minnesota just a few miles south of Duluth.
It started sprinkling a little when we were setting up our tents, so we had to work fast to get everything ready. I was quite happy to have traded in the massive old tent I once owned for a sleek two person northface. All-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner at the high school followed… Totally awesome!
Now here is where things got a little ridiculous.. We got our bikes and headed the .75 miles from the high school into the bustling downtown area. What we thought particularly funny was that many people actually caught the shuttle bus for the exact same journey. Almost 4000 bikes with riders and the idea of riding didn’t make it into the heads of 99% of the populace. Karaoke and 7 dollar pitchers of PBR followed, Jess and Annie did a fantastic rendition of Tiffany’s “I think were alone now“. In bed by 11:30, which was good considering we were awake by 5:45! Gotta love camping.
The ride at first was quite the display, riders of all skill levels going every speed imaginable. Some people looked as if they were going to die within the first 5 miles and others seemed nice and fresh even at the end (most of our group fit into the later category). My stubborn self pushed the front of the line for most of the day, which if nothing else kept me from being embarrassingly dropped.
My favorite part of day one had to have been the chopper. You see I saw this giant US Army helicopter off to the side of the trail. Quickly and without thinking I took an immediate right, not really remembering (or maybe caring?) that there was a line of 7-10 people following me. I used the opportunity to take the most awesomest of awesome pictures, but also managed to cause a wreck (it wasn’t really my fault and I don’t want to go into it!).
The cool thing about the MS150 is that the ride is so dang supported, you really need nothing other than a water bottle to get you between the stops (10-15 miles apart!). There is copious amounts of food, everywhere, first-aid stations and bicycle repair stands. We ran into Bryan and Josh at the second stop, they both seemed a little grumbly having to deal with all the hybrids that were in poor condition when they were put into storage last fall. Turns out the two of them had been out until 6am riding around duluth, normally not too bad but when you have to be up by 7am. They looked much better by the time we got to Hinckley..
Being part of the ‘golden gears’ club, quite a few of us were able to partake in some perks, such as special biffys and free beer at Hinckley. One stop along the way was actually decked out with a vast array of home-baked goodies, which was a welcome change from the pre-packaged crap we were dealing with for most of the ride. Speaking of packaging, that is one major gripe I had with the ride, considering how much waste was being created, I would expect there to be some factoring for composting or at very least recycling! I think I will have to draft up some sort of proposal to the MS people to hopefully steer them towards a greener event next year. Easy stuff like switching to sugar cane fiber plates, using compostable bags and cutlery would make a huge difference in the environmental footprint left behind.
In Hinckley… There were Mosquitos… Sven had a good idea…
The second day was great, we had a tail wind and made good time back to Blaine. Once in Blaine, we met up with Jer and the Periodontist who were supposed to be our brains for the last portion of the trip. We were planning on making it a century for the day by biking back to the cities. Tom discovered a major flaw in his fork and had to call his wife in for an emergency pick-up, that left Karl, Sven, Jana, Fillbilly and myself to bike back. Not 1 mile from the Velodrome we run into Bjorn and Curly who were biking up to see a little track racing before hitting the Coon Rapids Dam. Poor Bjorn smacked right into the tail of Curly and fell to the pavement getting some serious road-rash in the process.
By the time we made it back to our place we were at mile 97, three short miles left to go. Our stuff had been delivered to Fillbilly’s so we pretty much had to bike back to Longfellow, though this time with a stop along the way for dinner at the T-Rock. Jana and I passed 100 miles damn near close to where I took this picture last winter.
The last 6 miles of the trip were encumbered by 40+ pounds of gear, which slowed us down a little. Not that I minded that much, it was nice to just take it easy and cruise for a change.
The next day I was surprisingly not sore, which I take to be a good sign. Hell yesterday I put another 45 miles on the bike and it felt plain easy; I think this is gearing up to be another high-mileage month.
Again, thanks to all of you that helped me reach my goal of 1000 dollars! I never would have been able to without your wonderful generosity and kindness. To think at first I was worried about making the minimum of 300 dollars worth of donations!
And… I will try to blog more… When I have the time…