Bike MS Chesapeake Challenge – 102 miles

No other ride has such a special place in my heart! Full disclosure: I am the Society’s grassroots advocacy manager so I both ride for and work for the National MS Society. I get to manager the Society’s District Activist Leader program and our larger MS Activist Network and through this role I have come to love SO many people living with and affected by MS. This ride is always emotional for me because I carry them with me – names on my bib, faces in my mind, each individual in my heart.

Usually this is a 152 mile weekend for me but just 6 days after my first half ironman I knew just doing the 102 would be a challenge. I only had the legs for one day plus a busy-busy weekend of family and friends! After working set-up I picked up my packet and headed back over the Bay Bridge for the night. My packet included: body glide (great add!), helmet and bike stickers, jersey number, top crab fundraising jersey, and club 50 top fundraiser beer glass. Nice work!!

This year I raised just over $3,000 for this ride making my total just over $9,000 in 3 years. Thank you all!!

Saturday is an incredibly early morning. As MS Society staff I get up early to help with set up so I was on site by 5:00 am meaning a 3:30 am wake up since I had a 40 minute drive to the start. I helped fill the water stations, mix Gatorade, and get tables set up for registration before eating a quick breakfast and heading to the start line. This year they had chefs running an omelet bar plus a huge selection of pastries. YUM!

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I took off with the lead group and once a few Kona qualifiers flew by I settled into a group riding a 19-20mph average, including my friend David, so I knew I was in good company. This same crew crossed the finish line together several hours later. I have to say that’s a first for me! I usually bounce around but it was nice to stick with a strong a steady group. We had a great pace line going and with such a large group of riders  you didn’t need to pull for very long. My legs were thankful!

Bike MS is such a great ride (all over the country) because of how well supported they are. You don’t have to stop at every rest stop but for the first 50 miles they are about every 12-15 miles apart. They space out a bit more on the century route. Rest stop-to-rest stop! Every rest stop had water, Gatorade, ice, pickle juice (YES!!), oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and cookies. As you can see it is EASY to gain weight riding a century. To avoid that I stick to water only in my bottles (I start with a bottle of Tailwind) and only orange slices and pickle juice shots at the rest stops…besides lunch! The lunch stop this year was catered by Panera so cookies, a coke, and a turkey sandwich hit the spot.

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After lunch you take an adorable fairy to continue the ride. The ferry does not count as part of the 102! Our group decided to stay together and continue on. The next rest stop would be 15 miles ahead at mile 75. I felt strong until we hit a long painful patch of gravel. We joined up with a group of 4 more riders led by a triathlete on a TT bike (ouch/gravel) and our pace line grew. Coming out of the gravel I cramped! Partially due to the fact that I was too scared to drink water on the soft gravel and partially because I was holding on so tight. Lesson learned. Leaving the rest stop I felt better but was dropped just before the mile 85 rest stop. A spay of sunscreen, a few M&M’s later, and we were off again with our century patches in town. ONE. MORE. STOP. We had an option stop at around mile 96 and decided to take it. Miles 85-96 were 100% dark pace/sufferfest/pain! I laid in the grass at mile 96 just ready to pass out, haha. We slow rolled it from mile 96-100 until the finish line was in sight and all finished together.

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Missions BBQ catered the dinner at the end and a cold shower and cold coke was just what I needed! Thanks Bike MS for another great ride!

These rides are so amazing! Our team raised over $100,000 for this ride alone. That’s right…$100,000!Have questions about Bike MS? Let me know!

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