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.