Monday, September 10, 2007

What a Weekend!

It was the best weekend in many ways. First, the weather was absolutely perfect. A bit chilly in the mornings but by noon it was in the mid to upper 70s. The sun was out on both days and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. It was a typical autumn morning. You know crisp and clear. But the best thing about this weekend was the ride. My daughter and I rode in the annual MS 150 in La Conner, Washington. Our weekend began on Friday afternoon as we left our home for La Conner. A 99 mile drive to the north. The traffic was horrendous but the pay off was worth it.

It was a two day event. The first day, Saturday, Jackie and I woke up at 5:30 AM and had breakfast at our hotel. My hubby Joe and our son Aaron also came with us to La Conner for the weekend. Not to ride but to support Jackie and me. We drove to the MS village where we met our fellow team mates. We had our team photo taken at 7:30 and then we all went over to the start line. The atmosphere was electric! People were cheering and dancing and many of the cyclists were dressed in costumes. Some of the costumes were pretty funny and original. There was music blurring and well wishers gathered along the streets. The teams were going out in waves. An announcer would say the team’s names and then people would cheer and off they would go. Finally, our team approached the start line. I can’t describe how excited I was. It was something you would have to experience for yourself.

Saturday’s ride was very hilly. Did I say it was hilly?! It was HILLY! But the scenery was gorgeous. We pedaled along the water on our way to Anacortes. The views along the sound and of Mount Baker were breath taking. Our first rest stop was only 9 miles into the ride but Jackie and I stopped for water and to chat with our fellow team mates. It was all about having fun too. I took pictures ate a banana and then we were off again. One of my favorite memories of day one’s ride was crossing Deception Pass . . . with a MOTORCYCLE escort! The motorcycles would escort groups of cyclists over the bridge that crossed Deception Pass. I felt like I was in the Tour de France! And the view! It was the best part of the ride.

After we crossed Deception Pass we had a thrilling downhill! Jackie and I were going over 37 mph! At the end of our exhilarating downhill was our lunch stop. They had turkey, tuna salad, and veggie wraps along with assorted fruits, cookies, and power bars. We grabbed lunch and sat down on the grass and ate. We met some of our team mates and they joined us and we talked about Deception Pass. With our stomachs full and legs rested we finally started off on the last leg of our ride. Wouldn’t you know it after lunch and with full bellies we had to CLIMB! Oh yes, awaiting us was a long climb. But Jackie and I made it without stopping! We had one more rest stop about 10 miles later and we finished the last 15 miles with ease! Elated we crossed the finish line a little past noon. Not bad! Joe and Aaron were waiting for us. We drove back to the hotel and showered and rested until 4:30. We left a little before 5:00 to meet some of our team members for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. After dinner we returned to our hotel room and went to sleep ready for tomorrow’s ride!

Again, the alarm went off at 5:30 AM and Jackie, Joe, and I got dressed and headed to the MS 150 village. Aaron stayed in bed! LOL He was tired. We went to the start line again and it was a repeat of yesterday. The excitement and enthusiasm was still there. People were cheering, dancing, and yelling their support. The atmosphere was still electric. Our team approached the start line and again the announcer called our name as we began our ride on day two. Sunday’s ride was not hilly BUT it sure was WINDY! Yes, windy! We had one hellacious head wind on Sunday. When I asked Jackie would she rather climb or pedal with a head wind she said she would take hills any day! I agreed with her. It felt like we were pushing against a wall at times. But the scenery that morning was surreal. The sun streaming through the cyclists as they pedaled along the country roads was just something to see. I don’t think a camera can capture what the eye can see sometimes. It was just beautiful. We started again about the same time as yesterday about 7:45 and finished at 12:07 PM. We stopped at the rest stops and lunch stop. Again they had wraps for us and power bars and breakfast cookies. The cookies were the best! When we crossed the finish line on the second day they presented all riders with a medal! And on both days at the finish line there were people cheering for us as we crossed the line!

We did it! We had fun, we raised money for a good cause, and we met some pretty nice people too. The MS people had a special lunch waiting for us. They had hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies, pudding, fruit, and all kinds of drinks. There was a beer garden and a band playing. But Jackie and I could not stay for the festivities. We had a long drive back home. So we said good bye to our team mates and friends and headed for home exhausted but happy.


wibnrml said...

(Note. This was posted on previous post in error)

Hello! I’m glad you made the MS 150 OK. That is a beautiful area up there. When I was growing up in Everett, that area used to be like my back yard. Did a lot of fun runs and races up there.
Clarify for me. What did you mean by the statement “My hubby (Jackie’s dad) and my son Aaron (Jackie’s brother)” ? You can e-mail me if that’s a personal issue.

I did not do the Headwaters. I didn’t train properly for it. I rode a Foothills loop on Sat, and my legs were like stone blocks on Sunday. But I rode a easy 20 mi. from the house to make myself keep moving. I hopefully will be riding after work tonight.

I’ve decided I’m not riding to work any more this fall. Kersey Way has been closed six weeks for installation of sewer lines. And so now all the morning traffic that went down Kersey, is going down Lake Tapps Blvd. It’s a real mess, with people weaving in and out trying to get one more car ahead as they drive down the hill. Nope. Not for me. I may not be real bright. But I don’t have a death wish.

Have a good day1

Pedal On!

Sue said...

Hi Gary,

That was very confusing. I re-read it and even I find it confusing. I am removing it. Joe and I will be married 30 years this October 7th. Jackie and Aaron are our kids.

So you did not do the Headwater? I love that ride. I would have done it if it weren't for the MS 150 the same weekend. So your legs felt like stone blocks. There have been many times when my legs felt like stone. I wonder what causes this feeling. I do love it however when they feel strong and unstoppable.

Yes, I know about Kersey Way. Jackie has to drive that way to get to GRCC. She said it's a mess. Joe goes early and he says it's a mess. Now that he has started his new job he is thinking about taking the sounder again. He used to ride it and loved it. He especially liked the part about not having to deal with traffic and parking. Did you read/hear about the bicycle accident in Seattle at the intersection of Eastlake Avenue and Fuhrman Avenue East? Apparently the cyclist wanted to continue straight through the intersection and a dump truck was making a right hand turn. Sadly the cyclist was killed as the truck struck and pinned him.

We had planned on riding the John Wayne Trail this Sunday but Joe and I realized this will be our son Aaron’s last weekend home before leaving for college. So we are going to do some things with him. We will drive to Cheney early next Saturday to help him move back into his dorm room. But this weekend we will spend with him. He wants to see the movie the Bourne Ultimatum and then perhaps go to the Puyallup Fair.

Joe, Jackie, and I went to spin class tonight. Our instructor also rode the MS 150 with us this past weekend. She was on our team. She is forming her own team for next year. She wants to do the Oregon MS 150 instead of the Mount Vernon MS 150. She asked us to join her team and I told her I would think about it. Jackie already signed up. Joe said he will think about joining. She knows that Joe works for Boeing and asked him if he could get them to maybe sponsor her team. Joe said he may join her MS 150 team and then perhaps see about a Boeing sponsor.

So how are you enjoying these last warm days of summer?

I drive by Alan York Park every day on my way to and from work. It was busy this afternoon on my way home. People are trying to grab these last few nice days before our miserable pacific northwest winter begins.

Pedal On!