After a great ride last year, each of the ten members of Team Microgrid committed to recruiting another cyclist for this year’s ride. We raised over $5,000 again last year, and everyone seemed eager to ride again this year. And then the bottom seemed to fall out.
David moved to North Carolina, and Tim moved to California. Patrick couldn’t ride, so his friend Jon decided not to ride. Chad and Brea had a wedding to attend. So that left Gordon and Angela, and my loyal and faithful friend Harold to form a team of four. And none of us came through with the new recruits. So it was just a bit simpler this year.
Harold and I arrived on the beautiful campus of Lewis & Clark Community College late Friday afternoon, and got our tent set up before we relaxed in portable recliners with a couple of cold brews. I was able make the trip without burning any gas, and smiled to see the EV charging station on campus open and ready to recharge my Volt! They were offering reasonably priced food in the dining hall, which served as the hub for cyclists checking in. There we ran into friends from Team Christner, who invited us back to their corporate tent to enjoy the camaraderie of the pre-ride banter. The ground was still wet from heavy rains earlier in the day and preceding day, so we gingerly walked the lawn to avoid soggy ground. One of the topics of discussion was the pending storms that were forecast for the night.
The campground was quiet by the time the scattered showers arrived around 10:30 or 11, and Harold and I were nestled into our tent. I always carry earplugs with me when I travel, and knew that they would come in handy that night. With only the sound of my own breathing, I fell asleep relatively quickly, and around 1:00 I had to get up to take the walk in still light rain to a porta-potty for a little mid-night relief.
Shortly after arriving back in the tent, the rain picked up. And the earplugs were hopelessly ineffective as the storm grew, with lightning, thunder, winds and driving rain. All. Night. Long. Thankfully the rain began to subside by the time campers started emerging from their tents after 6 a.m. We headed to breakfast in the few remaining sprinkles, and waited for Gordon and Angela to arrive on campus with all of the other non-campers. The incoming traffic arriving all at once was more than the campus was designed to accommodate, so while they were getting parked and breakfast, Harold and I finished pulling our bike gear together for the day’s ride. We all met at 8 a.m. for our team photo, and then headed out into the wet streets under still moist, gray skies.
The cool air was actually nice riding weather, and as the clouds began to dissipate and sun began to warm and dry the earth, people began peeling off arm warmers and putting on their shades. It turned out to be a beautiful day, and I enjoyed the beautiful country, and took a couple photographs of some of more unusual things I saw that day. I considered for a fleeting moment to join Gordon and Angela in doing the Century. I opted for the wiser choice to stick with Harold on the 75 mile loop, and am glad I did. My left knee began bothering me about 60 miles into the ride, and I finished the ride around 3:30 feeling fairly weak.
After a couple of cold lagers and some finger foods in the VIP tent, we headed for the showers, and met up with Gordon and Angela for dinner after their later arrival. Gordon took a spill in some gravel that afternoon, and with that in conjunction with other factors, decided not to ride on Sunday. So Harold and I moseyed back to the corporate tents to hang out with other friends. What we found was that the previously soggy grounds were now even more soaked, with some teams wading barefoot in 3-4 inches of mud! But it was a beautiful night, and like most riders, we turned in relatively early.
I woke up Sunday with a relatively stiff left knee, and decided right then that this would not be another 150 mile weekend. It was a beautiful day, and we decided to do the 25-mile loop, and that was just long enough. We took our time at the three rest stops, and arrived back at the campus late morning, proudly accepting our medals at the finish line amidst the cheering and smiles of the staff, volunteers and extremely appreciative people with MS. Seeing those faces makes the ride totally worthwhile!
After showering and packing up our gear, we enjoyed our final meal on campus, which for me was a delicious vegetarian wrap. We shared stories with strangers, and celebrated another ride under our belt before signing up to ride again next year. I’m so grateful that I can bike this ride, even if I only do 100 miles in a weekend!
I’m also grateful for the many people who supported me in my fundraising campaign. I raised over $3,500 this year, and smile knowing that this will help those with MS better cope with their condition. And ultimately end MS for good.
If you would like to contribute, please go to https://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/sro2016. Thanks!