Alabama Chapter Bike MS: Historic Mooresville 2009
September 26-27, 2009
I enjoy riding my bike (21 speed, not a Harley), but I just don’t seem to find the time to get all my gear and find a group (and a safe place) to ride with very often. So, when one of our clients asked if I would ride with their team in the MS150 I jumped at the chance.
Of course, I planned to train. I mean, a reasonable person wouldn’t embark on a two day 150 mile ride without training for it. Weekends that I fully intended to ride 15, 30, 45 and 60 miles came and went without so much as me even oiling my chain.
In no time, the Historic Mooresville MS 150 weekend was here. I gathered up my bike, oiled my chain and headed out of town at an obscene hour. The weather forecast did not look good; chance of rain, rainy, thunderstorms, more rain. Unfortunately, this time the weatherman got it right. Just after 8:00 am, we set out. In no time, we settled into colorful trains of bikes, jerseys, helmets and blinky lights. It felt great to be out in the open on my bike.
Our group was friendly, talkative and fun. I met an incredible rider, a lady about my age. She looked like she was in great shape. We stopped at the first rest area and loaded up on peanuts, Clif bars, bananas, oranges and powerade. As we continued to rack up a few miles, the skies darkened and the clouds became heavy with rain.
At about the 30 mile mark, the clouds burst open. The rain drops were so big and coming down so hard that they stung when they hit my skin. It was intense, but short lived. By the time we got to the halfway point rest stop, it had let up. Once more, we grazed on the bounty under the blue tent. Once more we set off. I remember hearing my new friend make a comment about the rain wouldn’t keep her from this ride. In fact, she couldn’t think of anything that would keep her from this ride.
We only made it another mile before the rain came again. This time it settled in for the long haul. I settled in, too. I had a long way to go and I was definitely feeling it. I have ridden in the rain before, but not like this. At times, it was blinding, the spray from the cars was lost in the regular rainfall. Other times, I was truly amazed when I sensed that it was actually raining harder than it had been a moment before. How could that even be possible?
Soon, all my concentration was focused on keeping my hands on my handlebars and my bike upright. My gloves had gotten soaked and were slipping. Some of the roads were rough and the standing water masked pot holes in the road. It was a rough ride.
Many miles later, we pulled into Mooresville. The start/finish was really just a few tents in a field. My new friend showed me a place where I could change out of my soaked clothes. We were laughing about the crazy weather. That’s when I found out that she has MS.
Impressed is not the word. I was stunned. I am not lying when I tell you I had a list of complaints a mile long. Everything hurt. My hair hurt. The air around my hair hurt. And here is a woman who decided nothing would keep her from finishing this race. I can’t imagine the concentration it must have taken her to get through that ride. And, she didn’t have a single complaint. This was exactly where she wanted to be. She was doing something to make a difference in fighting an awful disease. Suddenly, all my little aches and pains disappeared. I was so glad to be a part of something, too. The Mooresville ride raised thousands of dollars to fund research to find a cure for MS. You can bet I’ll be there again next year. Only, this time, I’m planning to train for it!