Well I did it! I signed up again for the MS 150 City to Shore. I have done this ride twice before – well let me rephrase that, I have attempted this ride twice before and completed it once. The MS 150 is an epic charity bike ride which benefits Multiple Sclerosis – it starts in Cherry Hill, NJ and goes all the way to Ocean City, NJ. There are literally THOUSANDS of people that come to ride this event of all different abilities – it is quite overwhelming to see! Of course, you don’t have to ride the whole 150 (if you do, that’s split up into a 2 day event.). There is also the 100 mile century ride, the 75 mile ride which is the ride I sign up for (which is listed as 80 miles this year), a 45 mile and a 25 mile – so there is something for everyone! There are also MS cycling events a lot of different states across the US.
The first time I heard about this bike ride was from the spin instructor at my old gym in 2009. He told us he did it every year and that the ride was FAIRLY flat and invited anyone to join the cause. I am always up for a challenge and how hard could it be right? I mean I was taking spin class multiple times a week, I was in the best shape of my life, he said the trail was flat, and I HAD a bike so what was stopping me?
I tried to recruit some others to join me, but there were no takers – WHATTT?! No one else wanted to ride 75 miles with me? Weird! 🙂 A friend DID come up with a really cute team name ‘Don’t MS with us’ – well it would be a team of 1, but that was ok. At least it was easy to raise the money needed to ride as I was the only one I knew doing this.
So in Oct 2009 I set out for this grand adventure – my parents dropping me off at the start. It was a madhouse – people, bikes and cars EVERYWHERE! I jumped out on the street, grabbed my bike and rode over to the start to check in. I ended up talking to some REALLY nice riders who explained how things would work – they could tell I was a fish out of water. These lovely people stayed with me until the first rest stop, I could tell I was slowing them down and they very politely asked me if I was ok by myself. How sweet! So I continued on my own. I was worried about getting lost, but there were so many other bikers I was never alone and there were plenty of road markings. There was also quite a lot of people along the streets clapping and cheering – I have to say I got a little choked up. It was emotionally overwhelming with the adrenaline of the day and the people cheering the riders on – I have never experienced anything like that before. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer day and just as I was getting hot rain started sprinkling down on me to cool me off – it felt AMAZING.
The rest stops are placed every 15 or so miles along the route and have places to refill your water bottles, snacks and porta pots. At the lunch rest stop I ran into the nice people I met at the start of the ride – they were just finishing up of course, but it was cool to see them!
That year I made it all the way to the May’s Landing rest stop – approx. 25 miles from Ocean City. I started having back spasms and could barely walk when I got off my bike – what did I get myself into? Oh, and I FOOLISHLY thought I wouldn’t need a pair of biking shorts – u know the ones that look like you are wearing a diaper with the padding for your butt? BIG MISTAKE!! Luckily as I was sitting there in the most pain I had ever felt in my life, my parents drove up looking for me. They had gone to the end to cheer me on, but then decided to backtrack to look for me along the route (the roads are not closed to traffic). The look on their faces as they saw me sprawled across the bench said it all – it was sort of a mixture of shock and sympathy – and I was done for the day. I couldn’t even stand up, there was no way I could finish. There were parts of my body that were sore that I didn’t even know existed! I was both disappointed and proud – even though I didn’t finish that year I could hold my head up high – and not just because it was awkwardly stuck in that position due to extreme back pain, but because I raised a lot of money for a good cause and biked WAY more miles than I ever had before.
Stay tuned for Part 2 – my 2010 MS 150 bike adventure!
If you care to donate to the cause click the link below! THANK YOU! 🙂