Sunday, September 30, 2007

MS 150

I signed up to ride in the MS 150 with four friends from the Seminole Cyclist bike club. Jennifer wasn't able to make it, so the rest of us met up at the horribly early hour of 4 am to drive up to St. Augustine where the event started. After parking and going through registration formalities, we were set to start with the 2000 or so others also doing the event!

We opted to skip the first rest stop, to get in front of the bulk of the crowd. From there, David and Bob did most the pulling, while I settled in the drafted relentlessly. David and Bob were taking turns in front and didn't seem to mind, and I didn't feel strong enough to take a substantial turn pulling, so it all worked out. We made great time, averaging just under 19 mph for 81 miles. It was scenic and windy, but at least the wind was mostly from the side.

But I was tired. After grabbing my bag and checking into the hotel, I took a nap. Greg called and we went to have lunch, and after that I took another nap. I had been doing some consistent biking, but not enough to casually shrug off an 81 mile effort. I thought of how grueling a long stage race like the Tour de France must be.

After taking it easy, we met with David's and Bob's wives, and had a huge meal at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, a restaurant styled after the movie Forrest Gump. The winds picked up and we joked about how tough a day it would be tomorrow. This didn't faze David, who was more interested in the football game his alma mater, the University of Florida, was playing.

I got up the next morning about 5:30, to pack and be ready for the start. Greg called up and said I should check the weather, so I turned on the TV and found that the day's forecast included 20-25 mph winds from the north, with gusts up to 40 mph. The return trip would be north, straight into this. I thought of how brutal it would be, when Greg mentioned a plan B: he would call his cousin to drive him back to St. Augustine. And by the way, would I be interested?

It didn't take me long to think it over and leap and this chance. Greg and I reasoned this was a great charity event, we had already turned in our money, and David and Bob wouldn't really miss us since we would lag behind anyway. After all this rationalization, we felt better about skipping the return trip.

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