Team WinCo Paceline

Bike MS Fundraising Progress

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bike MS 2013 Recap!

Bike MS: Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride 2013 is on the books! Team WinCo rode a cumulative 1,790 miles and raised $15,625 (and counting) to help in the fight against MS. Here is a recap of this amazing weekend.

Bike MS 2013 was huge! Here is a quick overview of some key statistics from the event...

  • As of today, my fundraising total is $6,505 (and counting!) with several donations coming in over the weekend - currently good for 12th place overall in individual fundraising
  • Team WinCo has raised nearly $16,000 (and counting!)
  • Overall, the event has raised $1.5 million dollars for the fight against MS! The goal is 1.6 million, so we're hoping to close that gap during the month of July...
  • 2,600 riders registered for the event - down from nearly 3,000 last year. Speculation is that forecasts of extreme heat (101 degrees was predicted for Saturday) caused the ridership to decline a bit this year. This makes the fundraising total all the more impressive!
  • Top Fundraising Team: Bad Ass Coffee - $114,000 (I forget the exact number)
  • Top Individual Fundraiser(s) - Willie and Linda Blocker with an incredible $30,000 each. When asked how they accomplished this, they simply credited the generosity of their friends and family. This is something I can certainly identify with.
  • Top Rookie Team: TEAM WINCO! Woo-hoo!
  • Largest Team: Harmon's Grocery - I believe they had about 140 riders. Wow!
Before we get into the ride in more detail, here's a quick introduction to Team WinCo...

Team WinCo

Team WinCo, Day One
From left to right in this photo, the team members (and city of origin) were:
  • Steve Baggerly, Boise
  • Rex Parker (Me!), Boise
  • Doug Jenkins, Boise
  • Eric Jeglum, Boise
  • Kathleen Romito, Boise
  • Mike Morris, San Diego
  • Greg Goins, Boise
  • Mark Lavin, Boise
  • Joe Cooley, Salt Lake City
  • Scott Brady, Salt Lake City
  • Chad Moore, Salt Lake City
  • Gordy Myre (not pictured), Boise
  • Gail McGarry (not pictured), Boise
Greg was our team captain, and did a great job this year on a number of fronts. Greg secured sponsorship for our team jerseys, recruited all of the non-Boise riders to the team, and personally raised an amazing $4,150 in donations. Speaking of jerseys, thanks to Steve Baggerly for designing those great looking cycling kits.

I'm also very proud of the fact that we had two riders with MS this year. One of those riders, Gordy, you may know about - you can read all about Gordy in this article I published last week. Gordy rode 25 miles each day last weekend. Here's a great photo of Gordy finishing up on Day 2. 

Gordy finishing up on Day 2
The device around Gordy's neck is a cooling device - heat can wreak havoc with MS, and there was plenty of heat this weekend, especially on Sunday (more on that later)! I've only been doing Bike MS for a couple of years, but I already can not imagine this event without Gordy. As I've mentioned before, Gordy really is the "face" of Bike MS for us Idaho riders, and we were very proud to have him on the team this year.

Day One

Saturday was our 100 mile day. Here's a map of the course we rode.

Bike MS Route, Day One
And here's my GPS log of the day one ride, on (You can also access this via the strava "widget" on the right-hand side of this blog)

Bike MS started each day at the Cache Valley Fairgrounds. Day one started pretty darned early. It seems that I always have to get up at 5:00 am or earlier to start these long rides. You saw the team picture above, of us waiting to start. Here's a great shot of me, Doug, and Megan hanging out at the fairgrounds prior to the ride.

Me, Megan, and Doug - ready to start the ride
There were so many riders, that we had to start in "waves". Here's an idea of what it's like to have over 2,500 riders queued up waiting for their wave to start. We got a late start to the day, as someone decided to move a house along the route right before we were supposed to start.

Queued up waiting for our start "wave"
You may have noticed in this picture that we wore bib numbers on the back of our jerseys. I was very proud of my bib number, shown below. The yellow color indicates that I was in the "MS 150" - the top 150 fundraisers from the 2012 rides in Utah and Idaho. The number 8 indicates that I was the 8th place fundraiser overall in 2012 (of a combined 3,080 riders.) My teammate Eric also had the honor of wearing a yellow bib number this year - and Greg will no doubt be joining us with a yellow bib next year.

Bike MS 2013 jersey and the Team WinCo jersey
Anyway, back to the ride...we did finally start at around 7:30am, which was a 30 minute delay from the intended start. The heat was a constant concern this weekend, but thankfully we had a nice cloud cover for at least the first half of the ride on Saturday, which kept the temperature in the 80's. The ride Saturday was beautiful. We rode through small towns and farm lands north into Idaho, and back to Logan. Every rest stop we hit was fantastic, and the rest stops were plentiful. Here's a nice shot of Kathleen kicking back at the second rest stop of the day.

Kathleen among the bikes
Day one was memorable for the pace line riding. I don't ride in pace lines very often, as I don't ride in large groups in Boise. But we had a single pace line going for much of the day, and it was good practice for me. I hear that you can ride with as much as 30% less effort in a pace line, and I believe it. You can be working fairly hard at keeping up an 18 mph pace, but in a pace line you will feel less effort and find that you're doing 20 mph. We also sucked a few riders from other teams into our pace line, which gave us a line of 12-15 riders at times.

We had one exhilarating stretch from Rest Stop 2 to Rest Stop 3, where we had a lot of downhill and wide sweeping corners - and five of us formed a fast pace line, exceeding 30 miles per hour at times. Mike (our oldest rider) started the whole thing by setting a blistering pace leaving the rest stop. I think the pace line consisted of Mike, Mark, Kathleen, Scott, and myself. By the time I got to the front of the line, we were just starting a downhill stretch - and I remember glancing down at my GPS and seeing that we were well over 30 mph - I glanced backwards, and saw that everyone was still formed up in the line, right on my wheel - so I kept up the pace during my time in front. It's hard to describe what it's like to ride that fast within inches of the bike in front of you - but it was fun. And, you really have to focus hard on maintaining speed, riding consistently, and communicating with your fellow riders via hand signals. This kind of focus can really make the time fly on these rides.

As it got hotter and hotter later in the day (well into the 90's), the volunteers at the rest stops really stepped it up to help us riders out. At most of the rest stops, the volunteers were hustling over to fill our water bottles without us having to get off our bikes. This support was greatly appreciated.

Not much else to say about day one's ride, except that it really was a nice course, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I was sure ready to get off my bike after 100 miles, though. There were a great group of folks sitting on bleachers cheering us on at the finish line, and some volunteers handing out our finishing medal, which you can see in this picture.

Glad to be done with day one!

One of the spectators noticed my yellow "MS 150" bib and my 8th place fundraising finish - and gave me a huge cheer for that. That really made my day, and was a perfect way to end the ride.

Day 2

Sunday was our 75 mile day. Here's a map of the course we rode.
Bike MS course, day 2
And here's my GPS log of the ride on day two. Not to be repetitive, but Sunday was again a beautiful ride - highlighted by a climbing ride up Blacksmith Fork Canyon Road to Hardware Ranch and a nice ride by Hyrum Dam. We were short a few riders on Sunday, as the Salt Lake contingent went home Saturday night and passed on day two.

The canyon climb covered about 900 ft elevation gain over 14 miles (it felt like more climbing than that). A pretty gentle climb, actually - but there were side and head winds at times that made it a bit more difficult. Mark, Doug, and I climbed together in a small pace line and we made pretty good time. The descent was actually hard at times - going into a headwind once again (as if the wind changed directions in places). I peeled off to push the pace on the descent, and to take the opportunity to get a little bit of training work in - and Mark came with me for a descent that averaged about 27 miles an hour over 13.6 miles. It was another exhilarating part of the ride that I'll remember for a long time. Thanks Mark!

The team at Hardware Ranch
Sunday was hotter than Saturday, as we did not have any cloud cover. But, we generally kept a good pace line going, and the day flew by. Once again the volunteers at the rest stops were fantastic. Literally rushing towards us, at times, to supply fresh water and ice for our bottles. The ride would have been a different experience without those volunteers, that's for sure. The volunteer station at Hardware Ranch was probably my favorite of the weekend. The volunteers decorated the stop in a Hawaiian theme, complete with leis when we rode up. The kicker though, was the ICED COFFEE. Not the most nutritional thing to put in your body at a rest stop, but it was a nice surprise - and it was cold and delicious.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, just really nice. But, boy it did get hot. The heat can do some nasty things to you when you're riding - not the least of which is cramping, which I know some of the riders on our team were fighting. Heat can also introduce fatigue. And just drinking fluids does not always solve those issues. It's also important to cool your core down - which is why the iced water is so important. I have no idea how many bottles of water and cups of Powerade I drank over those two days - but the fluids I ingested numbered in the gallons, I'm sure. Just to give you an idea of the road temperatures we faced those two days, here are the temperatures that my Garmin GPS recorded on Day 1 and Day 2.

Day One Temperatures

Day Two Temperatures
As you can see, the road temperature approached 110 degrees both days. And on Sunday, it got hotter sooner in the day than on Saturday. I should note that the road temperature from my Garmin always runs hotter than the actual air temperature - because, I believe, we're also picking up heat that's radiating from the pavement. But, we pick up that heat on a bike, and it can get to you. Here's how Greg dealt with the heat at the last rest stop of the day - sitting on bags of ice! That really looked refreshing.

Greg cooling off at the final rest stop
One last note about the heat - I am so impressed with the 50 or so riders with MS over the weekend. How tough are they that they got out and rode that course while managing their condition in that heat? I saw one of those riders hand-cranking a tricycle up the climb to Hardware Ranch in this heat. I'd seen him earlier in the day and chatted with him a bit. When I saw him again, climbing up the canyon, his shirt was off, his neck cooling device was on, and he was making good time. What a stud.

Anyway, we all got to the finish, and were happy to do so. Had some time to chat with and say goodbye to some of the folks with the MS Society including Annette, Becky, and Julianne. And, of course, to take one last team picture...

Bike MS 2013 - DONE!

Odds and Ends

I wanted to mention a couple of more things about this ride. There was a nice dinner and awards banquet Saturday night, and several people with MS spoke to the group. Two of those speakers were a husband and wife who both have MS - Drake and Paulette Kirkham of Rexburg, ID.

The Kirkhams
Drake has a very aggressive form of MS - and he stated flat out that new treatments have saved his life. He would not be up on stage addressing us all that evening if not for research that is funded by the money we raise for Bike MS. 

Did that sink in? 

Just to reiterate, Drake WOULD NOT BE ALIVE TODAY without research funded by the National MS Society. That made an impression on me. Local programs and services are great, and I believe they do much good. But what is really needed is a CURE FOR MS. And research is expensive. If that doesn't give us a reason to ride, than what would? I'm so glad I got to hear the Kirkhams speak that night, and I wish you all could have been there.

To wrap this are a couple of links you should check out...
Thanks again for all of your support this year! As I said last year - it seems that all my friends and I did was show up and have fun this weekend. You (donors and supporters of me and Team WinCo), those riders out there with MS, event volunteers, and staff from the National MS Society put in all the hard work with your donations and support. I was really honored to be part of this event again this year, and am already looking forward to, and making plans for next year.

And, I can't let you go without one last reminder that we are continuing to raise funds through the month of July. So, please consider making a donation by clicking on the banner at the top of this page.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about the event, please leave a comment!


  1. Great stuff, Rex.

    Glad to see you donning spandex for a good cause for a change.

  2. Matt, it's nice to be able to fit into some spandex! Thanks for reading!