After Day 1 of the MS Bike Ride I was surprisingly not as sore as I would have thought from biking 102 miles. I think it really helped that Sherri and I stopped at every aid station and spent some time off our bikes throughout the day. Day 2 was a 55 mile ride with a lot of climbing.
The first rest stop of the day had over 50 cyclists there hanging out, enjoying homemade banana bread and a few different kinds of coffee and latte (they really treated us right all weekend long!). It was before 8 in the morning and we had ridden 10 miles already, but the atmosphere was festive and fun. We took a picture with Maggie Schold, the Senior Development Manager for the New Mexico Multiple Sclerosis Society who put this phenomenal event on, and our 2 new best friends, Matt and John, the volunteers that helped us at every rest stop, racking our bikes for us, replenishing our water, spritzing us with lavender scented water (just like being at a spa!) and giving us cold towels when it was hot out, making sure we had sunscreen on, even cleaning my sunglasses for me! These guys (and countless other volunteers) spent their entire weekend out on the course driving from aid station to aid station checking on the riders, helping change flat tires, transporting riders that needed it, and just all around helping make this a great experience. My hat is off to all of them!
When Sherri and I finally pulled ourselves away from the party and back onto the course, we were met with hill after hill. We had heard people the night before talking about how hard the Day 2 ride was, and we were now getting to experience what all the hype was about. This was by far the hardest toughest hill I have ever climbed. There were times when I was going so slow I thought I might just tip over or start rolling backwards. Granted, I’m not much of a cyclist and didn’t train too much for this event, but I think it was even challenging for those that were good cyclists. I tried to focus on the few feet in front of me and was repeating different mantras to get me through. One of my favorites was “just keep pedaling” to the tune of “just keep swimming” from the movie Nemo. At one point I looked ahead and saw another enormous hill to climb…big mistake. I told Sherri “whatever you do, do not look up!” Well, we finally made it to the top of the climb and were greeted by the most festive aid station of the weekend. As soon as I stumbled off my bike, a volunteer was there to hand me a cycle-tini (I think it was Gatorade in a martini glass, complete with an olive!).
After refueling and catching our breath and starting to feel our legs again, we went on our way to finish the rest of Day 2’s riding. Thankfully the downhill was much easier than going uphill! We had met the rest of team Miles and Trials at this aid station and had left before them to get a head start since the guys are so much faster than Sherri and me. After cruising through the downhill portion we kept waiting for the guys to fly by us. Unfortunately we waited all day for them to catch us and by the end of the ride when they still hadn’t caught us, we realized something must have happened. When Sherri and I finished at about 11:30 after 57 miles of riding and 3,400 feet of climbing, we found out that one of our team members had wrecked on his bike. Thankfully he did not break any bones (although he took a very hard tumble with cuts and bruises). After he got checked out by a medical team at an aid station, he went on to finish the ride! Talk about perseverance! Here he is (in the middle) riding in with my hubs and friend, Ryan. This was one of the most amazing and inspiring weekends of my life. So many people both riding and helping out, all coming together for the hopes of some day finding a cure for MS. 6 months ago I never could have imagined the turn my life would take, but God is faithful. Since my MS diagnosis my prayer has been that God use me and this disease for His purpose. I know the journey may not always be easy, but with God and the wonderful people I have in my life that support me and pray for me I will get through this. I will continue to do what I can to fight MS and to help raise money in hopes of one day finding a cure so that my children can live in a world without MS.
Thank you to the other riders, the MS Society, and all the volunteers that helped make this event not only a success but a weekend I will never forget. Thank you to those that made a financial donation to support my ride and help find a cure. Thank you to those that sent me encouraging emails, calls, and texts that helped me power through these 2 days. And my most sincere thank you to my family and to the Miles and Trials team of Sherri, Rick M., Ryan, and my hubs Rick (and all their spouses and families) for going on this journey with me. God has abundantly blessed me with you all in my life.