Sunday, September 11, 2005

Riding the MS150 - winds and the saddle

This weekend was my first ever century ride - actually 100.52 miles. When you ride that far you make sure every single pedal stroke gets recorded. It was quite a start to event. Michael and I arrived on Friday evening and set up a tent. We had a good meal out with Drew, my ex-boss who was also riding and his buddy Wayne, then back to the tent. It started to get windy. As I'm a light sleeper I woke lots of times. Michael is unfortunately a heavy sleeper so I had to pinch him awake most of the night to share the joy around.

The following morning's coffee was very welcome.

By 8:30am, after the group photo we were all set up and ready to go. Team GSK raised the most money last year so we had about 100 people all wearing Boniva cycling jerseys at the front of the pack. It was quite a sight to see a stream of around 1,500 people leave New Bern heading out onto the road.

The ride was ... windy. All day. It blew a constant 15mph, gusting up to about 25mph. It would have been too easy for my first 100 miles otherwise. Hurricane Ophelia was offshore and blowing. About 40 miles in I had to stop with pain starting in my right knee - I'd got a new saddle and the adjustment was off. That could changed at lunch time, around mile 53, and things improved considerably.

I was riding on behalf of Jill Bishop, my office mate's daughter who has MS. Todd had provided me with her picture which was attached to my saddle bag. She attracted quite a lot of attention from the guys on the ride - no wonder I was in front of the pack most of the time :)

My total ride time was 5:21, with an average speed of 18.7mph. And by the end of the day, after constant refills I think I'd invented my own brand new flavor of Gatorade in my bottle.

My riding companians were awesome. Michael rode extremely well, taking long turns pulling us forward. We were a regular foursome - me, Michael, Drew and another GSK guy called Jason. Hopefully I'll get with these guys next year. I did unfortunately lose me a Carl, a regular Clydesdale who took long turns at the front. Carl is a BIG guy and blocked a lot of wind. He disappeared around mile 35, last seen with most of the rest of the ride hanging of fhis back wheel.

I felt pretty good by the end of the ride, with the only issues being the nagging knee pain and some numbness in my hands from all the road vibration. I ate massively that night, dong the sensible thing and taking two plates through the buffet. I still managed to lose three pounds when I weighed myself on Sunday. We heard one of the riders who also has MS talk about living her life with the disease at the evening presentations. Her message was to just keep going, keep pushing forward as best you can. It made me feel good to have helped raise money to hopefully beat the disease.

Since the wind was picking up and the predictions were not good for the next day we headed out late on Saturday. My knee is happier this way I think.

Here's what the view was like most of the day

- Paul


At 2:48 PM, Blogger Joanne said...

Way to go, Paul! Not bad for your first big ride and in some tough weather too! It sounds like it was a rewarding experience for you.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Thanks. It was a rewarding experience. And I'm back on the bike today, doing the work commute so I guess it didn't scare me off any.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Joanne said...

You're a trooper!

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Your knee pain relent, then? I hate to be the nagging mom type, but you shouldn't ride on that knee again until the pain's completely subsided. (Or so opined my doctor when I had the same issue.) Any further knee pain from the ride to work?

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Sheesh mom, lighten up, OK ?! Like, whatever.

My knee did relent, I wouldn't have ridden otherwise. It actually felt good to be back on the bike. I noticed my average speed dropped yesterday, particularly on the way in, but I was deliberately holding back a little making sure I didn't do any extra damage. The ride home actually felt really good despite the rain. I felt stronger than on some of the climbs, or at least not as winded.

My annual check up is sometime in early October. After all this exercise I'm hoping to make the doc very happy. Maybe he'll even give me a lollipop this year.


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