Bike MS: Central Ohio Challenge, 95 Miles, 2015

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IMG_0999  Most of you already know that I had been planning to ride in the Bike MS: Central Ohio Challenge (COC) again this year.  The COC isn’t just a challenge of endurance; it’s a challenge to fight the damaging effects of Multiple Sclerosis and end it forever. This was to raise funds to aid in the effort of the over 15,000 people living with MS, in Ohio alone.

This also supports 24 researchers currently working on 25 projects. These projects are conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, Athersys Inc, Ohio State University, and Kent State University. Total funding for these efforts is $8,975,200! The funding covers projects from July 2012 through June 2019. As of the beginning of the ride, I had only raised $100, with a minimum of $150 needed to participate. I had paid my entry fee, made a $ 35 donation and raised $65. Any balance would be applied to my credit card, which I had to sign for prior to riding. My riding partner, who I also rode with last year, heard I was short of my goal, and put in $50 after the ride. He had already raised his funds. Donations are still accepted through August for those who considered donating or still wish too.

We had rain for the days leading up to the ride, with the possibility of a window of sunshine on ride day. Saturday morning was in the low sixties when I got up at 5 am, (yawn). Coffee, oatmeal, fudge PopTarts, (pure sugar carb), a shower and I was off for registration.

As my wife and I headed out, the sun began to rise, what a beautiful sight it was! We were blessed with perfect riding conditions for the day. As we pulled into the parking area, my wife and I were greeted by my friend Mike, whom I had finished the ride with, the year before. I went inside, picked up my packet, bib number, and T-shirt and headed back out.IMG_20150711_065356_967

Mike was anxious to get on the road, due partly to the fact that it would be hilly terrain and he had some medical issues since our ride last year. The course was open at 7 am and we were to be finished by 5 pm that same day. I had heard that there were 250 entrants, with courses that were 35, 50, and 95 miles in length. We would have rest stops with water, Gatorade, fruit, snacks and toilets, every 15-20 miles, a lunch stop at about 50, then two more stops before we would cross the finish line. IMG_20150711_091610_377    The stops were set-up well and always a welcome relief. A chance to grab a banana, a Special K brownie, (one of my favorites on this ride), chips, cookies, a drink, and look at the mapped route. Once refueled and stretched, we would mount back up.

IMG_20150711_085235_171    We went through rural towns, such as Woodstock, (Ohio remember), and past soybean and corn fields. We saw some beautiful country along our route.IMG_20150711_094545_084    One of our stops was setup next to a true farmers market.    IMG_20150711_105650_898    It doesn’t get anymore Americana than that. As we headed on towards Bellfontaine, home of the First Concrete Street in America, and highest elevation in the state, we began to hit the hills. IMG_20150711_095201_239    This looked like it was going to be a steady climb, and as we topped the first crest, we saw that there was more to this than met the eye. IMG_20150711_095244_338    We made it of course, but the elevation changes were taking a toll on my friend. We ended up in a group of four other riders, who had also committed to the 95 mile course. It was soon becoming apparent that the higher points were now upon us. IMG_20150711_110534_403     Some of these hills were now demanding that only the strongest of cyclists would pedal to the top. IMG_20150711_112212_283  The views were spectacular however. IMG_20150711_112033_921    At one point, on a stretch called The Corkscrew, I dropped into my easiest gear and the chain bound up between the frame and gears. Being clipped in to the pedals at this point is not a plus. Down I went. I unclipped, got up, brushed some gravel from my knee and got back on. A little pride bruising and some soreness, but I was okay. I was committed to own this hill, just as my friends were committed to finishing the course. I don’t know if you can imagine the amount of pride I had, to be a part of the group of riders that would finish this ride dead last. We all knew it, the motorcycle escort had been behind us for some time. We all knew inside of us that what we were going through was nothing compared to what those who suffer from MS or have lost a loved one because of it, go through everyday.

My friend kept telling me to ride on without him because he didn’t want to hold me back, but I had told him that I would cross that finish line with him. We both knew my average speed and his were different, our age span is twelve years, I work out daily and am at 13% body fat. Throw a pacemaker into the bag of tricks and you get the picture. It wasn’t happening.

I rode back down the corkscrew and then back up it, coaching my fellow riders on. They of course said I was nuts and going the wrong way. All I could think of was Tom Petty, “I won’t back down”.

We made it up that hill and every smaller one after that. It wasn’t too long before the scenery became a little flatter and started to become more familiar. The scenery was truly remarkable. IMG_20150711_135702_328     One of our last stops was at a covered bridge, of which Ohio has many.

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To bring this to a close, We had conquered what we set out to do. My friend asked for some personal trainer advice and I gladly gave him some. I also told him that I hoped that we would conquer next years course together as well. It wasn’t a race, it was a ride. It was a time of sharing, camaraderie, some pain and some laughter.

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We crossed that finish line together, and I look forward to writing a similar story next year at about this same time.

This story goes out to my friend Mike and his pursuit to raise awareness towards MS, my friend Amanda who suffers from MS, and my newest supporter and sufferer of MS, Danny. I thank each one of you for what you do and endure.

In fitness, Bob

Breakfast and Bicycles

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IMG_20150710_105559_936      Today should be a rest day for me, since tomorrow I have my 95 mile ride for MS. However, being slightly hard headed, thanks Dad, I just had to get in a quick ride today.

It is overcast in Columbus, Ohio with storms moving through, hopefully tomorrow brings sunshine and, ahem, humidity. This morning I rode across the local reservoir, Hoover. From this lower level there are steps leading up to the top of the dam, so I ran up them with my bike in hand.

Now for the breakfast part of this post. Tomorrow’s breakfast has been pre-made, due to the fact that I will be getting up at 5 am to warm up, stretch, shower, dress, eat and head out to pick up my packet and be on the course between 7:00 & 8:00.

IMG_20150710_081213_984      My breakfast will be mostly carbohydrate to fuel for the ride. I prefer steel cut oats since you use only 1/4 cup for a serving and they are a long burning, low glycemic food. I pre-make this in a pint jar and can grab it whenever I’m ready.

IMG_20150710_080612_600      The first thing I did was to mix the dry ingredients together. They are; 1/4 c steel cut oats, 2 Tbsp Pb2 (powdered pnut butter), 2 Tbsp chia seeds, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.

Next I added 3/4 c Almond Milk and stirred well. Then I added 1/2 a banana and mixed it in. Then I put the lid on and put it in the refrigerator until morning.

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I have posted on refrigerator oats before, and the variations are limited only to your taste preferences. I did happen to find a package of fudge Pop Tarts in the pantry that I will devour for the pure delight of entitlement.

In fitness, Bob

Riding for Multiple Sclerosis

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There are only two weeks left until I ride to support Multiple Sclerosis. I am riding the 95 mile route this year and would appreciate any support you can give. Just click below where it says Donate To Me.
Thank you!

Progress: 23%

Goal $150.00Achieved $35.00

Fundraising Honor Roll

Robert Rice
$35

Motivation and Inspiration: My First Ride

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IMG_20140712_073559_320-1IMG_20140713_163634 I have to share the experience that I participated in yesterday. An experience of sharing, victory, joy, triumph, camaraderie, motivation and inspiration.  I recently took up road biking as an addition to my workout routine. It gives me a chance to relive a childhood of bicycling and some excellent exercise as well. Last month on my 50th birthday, I decided to ride a mile for each year of my life. What an accomplishment I felt I had achieved. Little did I know where it would lead me. My wife brought home a flyer for a fund raising ride to battle Multiple Sclerosis. (MS). It gave an option of a 30, 50, or 95 mile ride. I thought the chance to raise funds to help others would be a great opportunity for me to give as well. The Central Ohio Challenge had a $150 dollar fund raising minimum and a participation fee. I raised $240 from friends and family and was thrilled to ride in the event. I paid my registration fee and signed up for the 50 mile ride thinking it was something I could achieve without a problem. The day of the ride came early, waking at 4:45 to prepare for a 6 am registration. I had loaded up on carbohydrates the night before and made sure that I stretched and was hydrated before the ride began. Riders were to be on the course no later than 8 am. My wife was to fly back into Columbus at about the same time as I would cross the finish line. Both of us upset that I could not pick her up, or her see me finish my first ride. About twenty minutes into the ride, I pedaled up alongside a young woman who was enjoying the ride as I was. I noticed her rear tire was pretty low and mentioned that I had a pump. At about that time her father had circled back to check on her progress. They had both lost a loved one to MS. While I was airing up her tire, dad was expressing his concern towards his daughters mileage goal in the ride. She told him that it didn’t matter when she finished, only that she did. I asked her how far she was riding and she said that she was going for the 95 miles. I told her  I had planned on riding the 50 but would ride the full 95 with her. We stuck by each other throughout the day as it grew warmer and the hills grew larger. There were a few times that my new friend had to push her bike up the steep climbs. I stayed by her side and could tell she was struggling. As we hit the 50 mile point, a support van came by and asked how we were doing. My friend admitted that she could not continue and apologized to me for quitting. I told her how proud I was that she made the 50 miles and gave it her all. I told her to go on up to the next stop, as her dad would probably be waiting for her. He was waiting and happy to see her. Her father and I were now the last riders to continue the race. He and I would now cross the finish line together, and his daughter would wait for us there. At this point, my wife would be able to watch me finish as well. This was a brutal ride, with the increasing heat, headwinds, and hills. My new partner was considering a van ride in as well. He and I left our last pit stop, fed, hydrated, and somewhat rested enough to continue. Thankfully, the last leg of the journey got easier and we kept pedaling. We had caught up to three other riders and I believe it gave us both an extra boost of determination. We stuck it out and approached the finish. We had done it. His family greeting him, and my wife greeting me, as we crossed the finish line. What a memorable day. The inspiration and motivation to drive on to achieve whatever our own goals are in life. Seeing riders that suffered from the effects of MS, support of the riders, and the friendships that developed. Sometimes our goals come to us at a moments notice, at other times we prepare for them. Whatever your goal, pursue it to your utmost. Continue to achieve what you want to pursue. Don’t let negativity deter you. Beginning your ride, journey, or task at hand begins with you. Push yourself as my two new friends and I pushed ourselves. It doesn’t have to be a bike ride, it is whatever your goals in life are. What would you do today if you knew you could not fail?

photo 1This is dedicated to my new friends from Hilliard and Cincinnati who gave it their all and accomplished their own milestones right beside me.    In fitness, Bob