Riding for a Reason

Changing the world, one mile at a time

2009 MS Best Dam Bike Ride

First off, a big THANK YOU to everyone who supported Katie and I in the MS Bike ride.  Together we raised almost $900 for MS.  Over 1,500 participants and countless volunteers attended this amazing event.  This was my first ride and it definitely won’t be the last!  Together the participants raised $595,000 and with corporate donations we combined to raise $1.2 MILLION!!! 

Some highlights…

Saturday night when we arrived, we went to the party tent for the awards and party.  It was amazing to see the number of participants in the ride that have MS.  It was truly inspiring to see these people who refuse to let this disease dampen their spirits.  Sunday morning we were out and about early to grab a quick breakfast and get our bikes.  All of the bikes were locked up on the tennis courts… which seeing 1,500 bicycles in a small area is a pretty cool site. 

Half of the sea of bikes on the tennis courts.

Half of the sea of bikes on the tennis courts.

Most amazing for me was the fact that I’ve never seen another make, model, and year bike that I have.  Which is why I did a double take when I went to grab my bike and realized the same exact bike was right next to mine!  Ok, maybe I’m the only one that finds that cool, but I got a little excited.  Luckily we had our numbers on our bikes, so there was no confusion.  I never found the person in the see of participants to chit chat with them about it.

Once we started riding we realized exactly how long 62 miles was.  We had the option of 62, 75, or 100 miles.  Being “rookies” we opted for the 62 mile challenge.  We hit the hills early, which made the outlook on the day maybe a little less optomistic, but after the second rest stop, we were through most of the hills.  Until about mile 52.  Katie and I came over the top of a hill to see that it was pretty steep followed by going up another hill immediately.  We began to coast down the hill and about 1/3 of the way down I decided to push it.  I gave it everything I got and quickly got up to 34.8 mph, a new personal best!  The only negative side to that is that I started off coasting, had I pushed it from the beginning, I think I easily would have surpassed 40 mph.  Next time. ;)

The end of the ride, as I’ve found with most races, seems to make it all worth while.  We pulled into the Alliant Energy Center and passed 2 columns putting us into sort of a chute between sponsorship banners and cars lining each side.  There sat a couple hundred supporters clapping and cheering for everyone that came through, telling each and every one of us “thank you.”  It was a really cool feeling to get that kind of support from strangers that spent most of there day in that spot thanking others.  Definitely one of the highlights of my summer so far.

At the end of the day…

This ride was a ride that I was also looking forward to from a personal standpoint.  Shortly after starting I hit my first major milestone that I set when I bought my bike.  After 3 months of owning my bike, I reach my 500 mile mark!  Goal accomplished!  When I bought my bike and decide to make an effort to get everything that I could out of this investment, I had no idea what kind of door that would open for me.  And the best part is that this is only the beginning.  This year is just a warm up for me.  Getting the feel for what I want to do with this amazing hobby and how I can use it to not only improve my life, but the lives around me.

Which brings me to my next point.  I originally started this blog as a personal diary to keep track of my biking adventures.  While that will always remain a part of it, I’ve decided to add another layer to it.  I thought, if I’m going to keep logging these miles, why don’t I start to do it for a reason other than myself.  This is why I renamed the blog to Riding for a Reason.  Starting January 1st, 2010 every mile that I ride is going to be for a charitable cause.  In the next few months I will be researching charitable organizations to decide which one I will focus on next year.  Each year I will select a different charity and use this as a format to not only share my experiences and fundraising successes, but also to post information and articles to help raise awareness for that charity.

If you have any ideas for charities that you think I should consider, or if you would like to join in on my efforts, please let me know.  The more the merrier!  My initial goal is going to be 1,000 miles in 2010.  What I would really like to do is get enough committment from others to reach 3,073 miles, or the distance traveled from the west coast to the east coast.

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August 5, 2009 - Posted by | Cycling | , ,

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