Peg’s Posts: Bike MS Kansas City recap
The country girl in me felt right at home rolling through the quaint rural roads. Mist rising over bean fields and dew-dropped webs in ditches were treats for eyes that are used to locking onto the wheel of a rider in front of me. I waved at a pot-bellied farmer in overalls petting a baby calf. Stopped to snap photos occasionally. Checked the stats on my Edge 800 and played a little mental math. I’d assumed it would take me anywhere from 6 to 7 hours to complete my century ride. So far, I was right on track and feeling great.
I rolled into the lunch stop, mile 50, at about 10:30. I’m not sure which was a more welcome sight: cheery little hula girls greeting riders or smoke rising from rows of grills. I devoured a burger and fixings while chatting with another Garmin rider, Gerald, who’d been riding with a friend from another team. After hearing Gerald’s tale of losing his Edge 800 at the last rest stop, I patted my back jersey pocket, where I’d stowed mine. Gone. Panic. I retraced my steps to the port-a-jill, the port-a-sink and finally back to my bike. A staff member from Bike MS was standing nearby. She calmly asked “did you lose this?” producing my Edge. In my carb-depleted state, I’d dropped it on the ground right near my bike. When this keen-eyed staffer saw it, she dutifully stood by, hoping the bike owner would return to claim it. “I knew it was a Garmin and I knew these are worth a lot,” she explained. I told her that another Garmin rider had dropped his bike computer at the last aid station and she assured us she’d already received word that it’d been found and would be waiting for Gerald to claim that night.
Soon I spied more Garmin riders in the lunch crowd — Ryan, Jake, Ben, Justin, Patrick and Jay. We shared a few tales from the road and then Ryan and I headed out in tandem for the second half of our ride. I soon found out why Ben, the veteran of our group, doing his 10th Bike MS, had warned us not to linger too long at the lunch stop. After about an hour on auto pause, my legs were in limbo. No longer still loose from the morning ride, yet not recovered to tack on another 50. But we convinced our quads otherwise and settled into a nice groove. The miles seemed to fly by and Ryan and I rolled into the Sedalia fairgrounds a little after 3. We were greeted by one of the “fast guys,” David, and instantly compared notes. “What was your average speed?” “What time did you finish?” We were amused and impressed that they’d hit the halfway point at 9:30 a.m. and the lunch crew wasn’t quite ready for them. So they kept rolling and hit the century mark at 1:30. See David’s ride, complete with power data, in Garmin Connect. Stats on my more leisurely ride below.
We greeted the other Garmin riders back at our landing spot for the evening, then we refueled, rested and went in search of showers and a change of clothes. Our fabulous crew chief Crystal (Patrick’s wife) had personally delivered gear to the motel rooms that would shelter bikes and a few bodies who wouldn’t be camping for the night. Back at the campgrounds, more cyclists were rolling in and the event staff and emcee encouraged folks to gather ‘round the stage for an announcement. The Garmin crew stepped right up, cameras in hand, while Jake stood ready to take the stage. Jake warmed up the crowd with a few jokes … “Just to clarify, I’m not really a professional cyclist from Team Garmin … even though I look like a spry climber.” Then he launched the news that beginning in 2011, the Bike MS Kansas City route will start and finish at the Garmin headquarters in Olathe with an overnight stop in Lawrence, Kansas. The route change was made to help continue the growth of the ride and to also offer more flexibility for riders in the Kansas City area. Along with the traditional overnight route, there will be shorter distances offered for single-day riders. The announcement was met with overwhelming support from the crowd.
After a quick team dinner, we headed for beds or tents, mentally bracing for what looked to be a soggy, chill morning. It was. According to the temperature data recorded by my Edge 800, it was 53 degrees when we started. That’s without windchill. There was more than a gentle breeze, and no sign of the heavy clouds burning off anytime soon. But we rolled out, motivated to keep bikes and body parts moving for 80 more miles. Funny how your perspective on hills changes when you’re cold to the bone. I relished the short climbs that got the blood flowing; braced myself against the breezy downhills that sapped all that warmth. At mile 20, Justin and I pulled into the rest stop just as a light rain was starting to fall. We couldn’t resist ducking inside the visitor’s center to warm up for a bit. Justin even found a nice pelt that would’ve kept him quite cozy for the rest of the ride. My body rebelled when we re-entered the real world, but with chattering teeth and wobbly limbs, we rode on.
We hit one patch of heavy rain, and the sun came out to tease us just a couple times during the next 30 miles. At 10:15 a.m., I read the best piece of news chalked right there on the road: lunch stop, 1 mile. If I’d been offered a $10,000 check at the finish line or lunch in one mile, I’d go for the food. I’d been dreaming of steamy bowls of chicken noodle soup, maybe chili … anything warm. I wasn’t disappointed when Justin and I rolled in and smelled grilled burgers. This time, I made sure my Edge was properly in my jersey pocket before I hit the food line. We met up with other Garmin riders and again shared stories from the road. With body parts beginning to grumble at what we’d just put them through, Justin and I dropped our average speed a bit for the final 30 miles. The clouds finally burned off and we had sunshine for our triumphant finish.
As cyclists finished their ride and claimed their bags, they had an opportunity to sign up on the spot for next year’s ride, earning a chance to win an Edge 800. As Jake announced the previous night, we’re planning to welcome all 1,600 riders from this year’s event, plus two or three of their friends, for next year’s ride starting at Garmin HQ. Hope to see you there.
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