Posted by: Budger | October 25, 2006

MS150 – Saturday Day 1

Saturday morning, 1:30 AM I woke up stressing about the ride, and could not get back to sleep.   Every ½ hour, I was looking at the clock and calculating how much more sleep I could get before the alarm went off at 4:30.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 3:45.


4:30 came very early, as we all buzzed around Vicki’s house getting ready to go to the start.  We had to fill our CamelBacks with water, put our bags on our bikes, and dress for the ride.  Key to this are padded bike shorts and lots of Chamois Butt’r, more commonly referred to as Butt Butt’r.  Whatever you call it, it is as essential as water.


We loaded the bikes onto the Bike Rack, my last minute gift from Eric, and headed to the San Antonio AT&T Center for the Start.  As we headed down the road we listened to Defying Gravity to try and calm our nerves.  We got lost, but still managed to make it before most people.  Even with that, as we pulled into the parking lot, my breath caught as I looked out at all of the people unloading bikes.  My nerves kicked into overdrive.  First stop after parking the car was the Porta Potty.  We spent the last couple hours airing our tires, taking pictures and getting ready.  I was so nervous my hands were shaking.  As we walked our bikes up to the start line, and I took in the sight of 3000 other riders, I think my heart stopped.  At that moment I realized that just overcoming the fear of the start would be half my battle.


Soon we were taking off.  My focus was to stay off the tire of the guy in front of me.  The pack thinned pretty quickly as we wound our way through the streets of San Antonio.  At the intersections they had police stopping traffic and waving the bikes through.  Shannon and I would thank the officers as we past.  At about 4 miles into the ride, we came to an intersection and the officer waved us through.  I was a little ahead of Shannon and I was about to go into the intersection when I heard Shannon yell “STOP!”.  I came to a screeching stop, unclipped as fast as I could, and got my foot down right as a truck when roaring past.  I was so shaken I could hardly get started again.  Apparently the officer had waved the truck through as he thought we were stopping. 


As we made it off the streets and onto the road, I started to relax more.  I was feeling pretty good.  The hills were tougher than I had anticipated, but I slowly cranked away on each.  Before I knew it we had made it to Rest Stop 1 – 14 miles down.  Then came Rest Stop 2 – another 11 miles.  Shannon was my cheerleader the whole way, encouraging me and keeping me going.  She wouldn’t leave me even though I was slowing her down.  I am so grateful that she stayed with me.  She tried to engage me in a conversation about doing a Triathlon, and I told her that topic needed to be tabled for another time.  Whenever I was feeling down, thinking about how hot my legs were, how tired I was, how much my legs hurt from the cramps I would see one of the Freedom riders riding along with no legs on a hand bike.  At that moment, I realized I had nothing to complain about.  I had legs.


We started out on the 3rd leg, and I was starting to drag a little on the hills.  I get very nervous when people ride behind me.  I am always concerned that if I wreck that I might hurt someone behind me, so when we got to a hill, I would tell Shannon to go around me and meet me at the top.  We were on our uncountable hill for the morning, and I finally had to succumb and get off the bike to walk it.  As I was walking up the hill two San Antonio police bike patrol officers came up and asked if I needed help.  Their names were Steve and Pete.  I told them I was OK, so they went to the top of the hill to talk with Shannon.  When I got there they gave me some encouragement and told us they were going to ride with us for awhile.


Steve was the trainer for all the new Bike Patrol officers.  He was telling me that I was not keeping my cadence high enough for an endurance ride.  He coached me on a few more hills on lowering my gears, keeping my cadence up etc.  At one point as I was struggling up a hill, he reached over and put his hand on my back and pushed me along as he told me that I could do it.  I almost started crying I was so grateful for the encouragement and help.  As we started up another hill, I started to get wobbly and had to stop.  At that point Steve said I should probably SAG.  So he called for a SAG wagon.  Shannon and Pete came back and gave me a hug, and we made plans to meet up at lunch.  I had gone 30 miles. 


We met up with Shannon and Vicki at Lunch.  It was sandwiches and chips.  Not a lot to look forward to.  Shannon had stayed on the course and was on track to complete the first day.  We also connected with our crew, Denise and Kate who had gotten the RV to Beeville, our overnight stop, and we’re in my car running up and down the road providing additional support.  Denise and Kate were great.  They would drive by us and either cheer or insult us, whatever they felt we needed at the time, then drive ahead a few miles get out of the car and cheer us as we rode by.  At one time they pulled along side us and yelled “UPS Hottie 2 miles ahead!  Go get him!”.  UPS Hottie was the name we had given one of the UPS riders that was drop-dead gorgeous.  I tried my best to catch up, but no luck.  I can chase, but I can’t catch.


We cheered Shannon most of the afternoon who was getting very tired.  At one point Kate hopped on Vicki’s bike and rode with Shannon.  At one point I hopped back on my bike and did another 10 miles.  I was also hoping to do the last leg before the overnight, but as we got closer we were running out of time, and we were focused on keeping Shannon going.  At 6pm they started closing the course, and finally Steve and Pete came along and told Shannon she had to get off.  She was so disappointed.  She had done 91 of the 94 miles. 


We headed into the RV and to dinner, and then back to the RV to crash.  It had been a long day, and the giggles were just beginning.


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