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Bike MS Fundraising Progress

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ride Recap - 2015 Bike MS: Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride

2015 Bike MS: Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride is on the books! We had another great ride this year - beautiful course, highest number of riders, team record fundraising. We also had some challenges - high temperatures, flat tires, and more. Details after the jump.

I'll jump right into an overview of the ride, with the key numbers that you need to know - numbers compiled as of July 1.

Team WinCo co-captain Greg Goins leading the Century (100 mile) riders

  • The ride has raised $990,241 of our goal of $1,600,000 (tracking slightly up from last year - details to follow)
  • Team WinCo raised $32,279 of 30,000 goal - 80% increase from just two years ago! And we exceeded our goal BEFORE the ride. That's somewhat rare for any team. Could mean we set our goal too low, but I don't think so. People just exceeded expectations this year and it was fantastic.
  • Individually, we (you and I) raised $6,006 of a goal of $6,000 (another $240 unconfirmed)  - my friend Teresa Reed from Spokane, WA pushed us over the goal line on the Friday evening before the ride. I'm very proud of this total, but it is an 8% decrease from last year. (I'd expected a bigger decrease due to losing a significant funding source, so overall it was a great total)
  • Team WinCo cumulatively rode 1,390 miles over the course of the weekend. This is down from prior years, we had fewer century (100 mile) riders on day one. More details about this later in the article.
  • Team WinCo's top fundraisers were: Chris Bias ($14,554), Rex Parker ($6,006), Greg Goins ($5,425), Gordy Myre ($2,489), Scott Jeide ($855)
  • We had three team members with MS this year, and two riders. The two riders with MS (Gordy Myre and Michelle Jacobi) rode 100 miles over the course of the weekend!
  • Max recorded road temperature - 108 degrees(!) - for some of our riders, I'm sure this exceeded 110 degrees. I'll explain in a moment.
Before I talk more about the ride itself, I wanted to call out two of our riders.

Team WinCo 2015 Top Fundraiser Chris Bias
Chris Bias was once again the top fundraiser for Team WinCo. Chris raised over $14,000, for a two-year total of about $26,000 raised! Chris has been a long-time Bike MS rider and fundraiser, and joined Team WinCo two years ago. Wow, are we - and Bike MS is - lucky to have Chris. Chris is a good guy, passionate fundraiser, and my friend. Great job Chris, way to set the bar for the rest of us! Chris also provided a vital piece of infrastructure this year. He parked his airstream trailer in a nice shady part of the fairgrounds, and stocked it with cold Payette Brewing beer. That was just what we needed after a hot day of riding on Saturday.

And of course, there's Gordy. Once again, Gordy rode 50+ miles over the weekend. He's a rock, and an inspiration to the entire team.

Gordy cruising past the 32 mile mark on day one
Riding 32 miles on day one, in temperatures approaching 100 degrees is a feat for anyone, let alone someone who has MS and rides a tricycle that he pedals with his arms. I'm adding this to the long list of Gordy Stories - along with encountering a black bear on the road in McCall in 2012, and riding his trike down Hardware Ranch Canyon in 2014.


 The century riders reported an improved 100 mile course this year. I participated in the Bike MS working committee this year, so I got to experience all of the planning and preparation that went into plotting the route - and it paid off. I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed the riding more than I did this year. Here are my GPS logs from this year's ride. Note that I rode the 75 mile course on day one as opposed to the 100 mile course.

2015 Bike MS Day One GPS Log

2015 Bike MS Day Two GPS Log

So - I mentioned the heat this year. The forecast called for a high of 102 degrees, which can translate to road temperatures of over 110 degrees. We talked about the heat at length before riding this year. The course is structured so that there is a turn-off at mile 37 - where you can decide whether to ride 75 miles or 100 miles. The general consensus was that if we were delayed much, that we would do the 75 mile course in order to avoid the peak heat of the day.

Sure enough, we were a bit delayed. We got off to a later-than-expected start, around 7:15 am. And, one of our riders had three(!) flat tires before the 23 mile rest stop, where a support mechanic found and repaired the problem. With those delays, Doug and I decided that we would be riding the 75 mile course. 8 of our riders were riding strong and fast and ended up riding the 100 mile course. I have to say, that I made the right decision for myself this year - discretion was the better part of valor. Doug and I crossed the finish line when the road temps were "only" 108 degrees. And, as it turned out, I had a slow leak in my front tube that nearly went flat at the 60 mile mark. I was able to pump enough air into it to finish the ride without stopping to change the tube - but I did break the valve stem. I'm sure glad I had those problems with 15 miles left to ride versus 40.

It did indeed get hot on Saturday. I have a detailed graph of the temperature recorded by my bike computer, it's the bottom line shown below.

Strava Analysis of Day One
So - since I rode 75 miles, and the road temperature was 108 degrees when I finished, I know that the temperature well exceeded 110 degrees for our century riders. That's getting dangerously hot, and my hat is off to all of the century riders that finished the course. This was the first year that I did not ride the maximum number of miles on day one, but I expect I'll be riding the max number of miles again next year.

Day two was a bit cooler for us, as the ride was only 50 miles long - so we finished before the peak heat of the day. And, day two, as always, included my favorite segment of the weekend - the ride up to Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area in Blacksmith Fork Canyon. I don't have any pictures of the canyon this year, but it is a beautiful ride for sure. The ride was briefly interrupted by another flat tire, mine this time. I had one of the ride support mechanics change my leaking tube out that morning, and I think he used an old tube - and the "new" old tube ruptured halfway up the canyon. This type of thing is routine, though, and it only took about 10 minutes to swap out the tube for a brand new one, and a support vehicle showed up just in time to air my tire up with a compressor. No issues after that.

A quick note about roadside tube repairs for those interested...we try and cut weight down and carry things that fit in our back pockets on these rides. And most of us carry new tubes instead of (or in addition to) small patch kits. Either way, we have to re-inflate the tubes after a roadside repair, which requires an air pump. For air pumps, that limits you to a couple of options - you can carry a "micro-pump", which typically fold down to about 4 or 5 inches long - or you can carry a very small CO2 pump and small canisters. Road bike tires often require 100 pounds of pressure or more. It is very difficult and time-consuming to fully inflate a road tire with a micro-pump, which is what I carry. I am going to make the switch this year to CO2. CO2 kits are smaller, lighter, and much faster to inflate a road bike tire - and they have come down in price.

We also had a very nice awards program Saturday night. I usually say a few words about the "why we ride" speaker of the evening. In past years, we've featured people with MS who talk about the ride and the difference it has made in their lives. But I'm not going to talk much about the speaker this year, as it was ME. The MS Society decided to switch things up this year and feature someone who does not have MS - since the vast majority of the riders don't have MS, and most do not have a direct connection to MS - they thought it would be good to hear from someone in their same boat. So of course, I talked about my brother Rick, whom I ride for every year. I also talked a bit about Gordy, who happened to be parked in his chair near the stage and got a huge round of applause.

Chapter president Annette Royal-Mitchell also gave a status update on the ride's fundraising. As I mentioned before, we're at  $990,241 of our goal of $1,600,000. That may seem like we're a long ways off - but there's always more accounting to do, and a few more weeks of fundraising left. The ride is actually tracking about 8% above last year's total at this time. Despite that good news, I see that we have not hit our goal, and am concerned - but hopeful - about hitting our goal soon.

With that, I'll wrap up this year's ride recap. I hope you got the information you needed/wanted about this year's ride. If there's anything else you'd like to know, or just have any questions in general, please post a comment! And, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that fundraising will CONTINUE through the month of July. So if you haven't had a chance to contribute yet, it's not too late! Just click on the banner image above, or on the "click to donate" button to your right.

And, from Team WinCo - THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AGAIN THIS YEAR!

Team WinCo, 2015 Edition








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