The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has MS 150 rides all over the country, over 50 rides in total. I'm always interested in traveling to other rides when given the opportunity, and I was able to ride the MS 150 in Bozeman, Montana last year. Other rides I've had my eye on include San Francisco, Manhattan, and Houston to Austin.
There are a number of reasons why these other rides are interesting to me.
- It's just fun to ride in other parts of the country, it's a great way to soak in new places and scenery and meet new people
- I like to make new connections within the MS Community. It's very inspiring to hear new stories, and in particular, to meet new riders with MS - they show me what it's like to live your best possible life with MS
- I get great ideas that I can bring back to our local Bike MS committee to help make our already great ride better
So - when I learned last year that my coworker, Eric Evenson, rides in the C.H. Robinson ride in Minnesota, I jumped at the chance to ride with him this year. Sure enough, it was a wonderful ride. Below are links to my GPS logs of the ride.
Day one was probably my favorite day - with rolling hills, winding railway trails, rivers, trees, and green fields everywhere. We're at that time of year in Boise where everything starts turning brown from the heat, so the green of Northern Minnesota was refreshing.
Day two was very straight, as we made our way through more populous towns approaching the Twin Cities. More highway riding, less railway trails. Nice, nonetheless.
I rode on a team called "Moving Violations" - I believe they had 70+ riders in total. They are one of the top fundraising teams in Minnesota year over year, Chris and Peggy do a great job organizing and running that team - thanks for having me!
Our core group of riders are shown below. As you can see, it was a very fun group. I was the "old man" of the group - older than everyone else by double digits. But I was able to hang in with them all weekend, except for the occasional break.
|From left to right: Stefan, Emily, Rex, Eric, Evan - looking chipper at the first rest stop|
There were many highlights for me over the weekend, I'll try and summarize a few of them.
- I got to see Megan Nettleton! You may remember Megan - she was the community development manager for the MS Society here in Boise before moving back to Minneapolis last summer. She now works for the MS Society - Midwest Chapter. It was great to see Megan, we sure miss her in Boise.
|Megan and me, post-ride on Day One|
- I met a rider on our team whose mother passed away from complications due to MS several years ago. She apparently had primary progressive MS and her disease progression sounded much like my brother's. The rider was diagnosed a couple of years ago with MS, and now he fears for his children. We had a great talk. One of the things he mentioned was that the MS Society provided valuable education and resources when he was newly diagnosed - which was a great reminder of why we ride. I heard that repeated several times over the weekend - that MS Society programs for the newly diagnosed are extremely helpful during a scary time.
- I really enjoyed the tent environment on the evening of Day One. Since this is a point-to-point ride, all of the riders were around on the first evening, and it was a fun, festive atmosphere. We have been brainstorming on how to make the Utah ride more festive at our evening program, and this ride would be a great one to emulate. We'll see if there are any ideas that we can incorporate locally to make the evening program more fun for our riders and volunteers.
- I met too many other people to mention individually. But I will also call out Chris and Peggy Brown, the architects of Team Moving Violations. Originally, neither Chris nor Peggy had any connections to MS. Some years ago, Chris had been in an accident and was going through physical therapy - and looking for a new physical challenge. Someone told him about the MS 150, so he jumped into it with both feet. He formed a team, and then started inviting everyone he saw on an exercise bike to join his team. Soon, the team grew to over 100 riders! Peggy was the real team boss this weekend and she worked tirelessly to transport our bikes and gear, feed riders, and generally made sure everyone was taken care of and having a good time. Since they're been involved with the MS ride, Peggy says that the MS Connections have been "coming out of the woodwork"- including coworkers who she had no idea were impacted by MS. Thanks again, Chris and Peggy for having me this weekend, and for all that you do for the MS Society!
Our local ride, Bike MS 2015: Harmon's Best Dam Ride in Logan, Utah is right around the corner - in less than two short weeks - June 27th and 28th. I have a lot of work to do to get ready, and the C.H. Robinson ride was a great warm-up.
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