Posted by: Budger | October 13, 2006

MS 150 – Friday at the Expo

I made it!  64 miles!  The MS150 2006 Bike to the Beach was a blast.  I will do my best to recap my weekend.  It was a weekend of inspiration and laughs.  I can honestly say I have not laughed so much in a very long time.  And although this sounds like cliché, it was a life changing experience. 


My friend Shannon, who had encouraged me to do this, lives in Virginia.  She flew to San Antonio on Thursday evening and met us at her mother’s house.  Her Mom, Vicki, was also riding with us.  Shannon’s friend Kate was flying in from Rhode Island to be our second support person.  Our other friend Denise was riding with me from Houston to San Antonio to be our other support person. 


Our company, P2 Energy Solutions, had generously volunteered to pay for an RV for our overnight stop.  Thank you P2 Energy Solutions!  On the way to San Antonio, Denise and I passed an 18 wheeler engulfed in flames on the side of the road.  As we were discussing the look on our boss’ face as we went in to tell him that the RV was wrecked, we decided to be proactive and call Shannon and make sure that she had purchased the extra insurance.  Only Denise had ever driven an RV before, but we were determined that between the 5 of us we could figure it out if we had any problems.  We arrived in San Antonio to Vicki’s house, where Shannon and Kate rolled up in the RV. 


The RV was a 26 foot cab-over that slept 6 (supposedly).  According to Kate, the designated driver, it was pretty easy to drive, although the tree limb that she hit while parking may disagree.  Fortunately there was no damage to the RV.  The company expense report was still safe.  We hurried and loaded some stuff in the RV fridge to start cooling, and then we piled into my car to go to the MS150 expo downtown to pickup our packets and turn in donations.  At the expo, we had an opportunity to meet some of the other riders, shop for bike accessories and equipment, and sample various food and drinks. 


We met Rana and Colin at the expo.  Rana and Colin are members of our team.  What an inspiration she was.  Rana has Multiple Sclerosis, and was diagnosed shortly after having Colin.  She credits Colin for keeping her moving.  She says that if it wasn’t for having to care for Colin, she would have ended up in a wheelchair.  So they team up together and ride a Tandem.  Colin was a top fundraiser in 2005.  His mom is the Tandem Captain, and Colin rides behind.  Last year they made it the whole way.  Colin is 6 years old, and they have to put wood blocks on his pedals so that he can reach them.  They were going to try and leave early in the morning to try to reduce time in the heat, as the heat causes problems with Rana’s MS.  As we talked with her, and she went over her treatments, I was inspired.  My problems seemed inconsequential next to hers.


One of the vendors at the Expo we dubbed “Pickle Juice Guy”.  Pickle Juice Guy was tending the booth for, what else, Pickle Juice.  Yes this is actual Pickle Juice.  The sales pitch was that it was great for hydration and would relieve cramps in less than 60 seconds.  I braved a try of the pickle juice.  Unfortunately I had just eaten some chocolate, which I don’t recommend with the Pickle Juice.  Other than that, it wasn’t too bad, and I love pickles.  So I put Pickle Juice on my list of hydration accessories to try along the ride.  Little did I know that by Saturday afternoon, I would never want to see another bottle of Pickle Juice.  We befriended Pickle Juice Guy, and when we saw him at the finish line on Sunday shagged him down by yelling “Hey Pickle Juice Guy!”


My friend Denise had suggested that we have a compression hose art party to decorate my compression hose for the ride.  We did a modified version of that, and I asked everyone to sign my legs.  Most importantly I had a friend write “I RIDE FOR MO!” on my right leg.  So while waiting for our jerseys, we had a signing party.  This required some contortion on my part to give everyone access to the different areas on my leg.  Kate and I became fast friends as I ended up face down in her lap while Vicki signed the back. 


After the Expo, we went for a Carbo Load dinner of pasta and then back to the house to load the RV and crash into bed.  We were up at 4:30 on Saturday to go to the Start Line.


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