By any measure, this year’s Team Kaldi’s MS-150 bicycle ride was a success. The team has grown to 170 riders and our sponsor Kaldi’s Coffee has become much more active in supporting the team, both of these developments equates to more money raised to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis. Also by any measure, Anne and I enjoyed a great experience all the while participating in something worthwhile, this year’s MS-150.
Last Friday, I took a half-day vacation and left work early. I had some things that I had to do. Anne got home from school at three and we were on the road by 3:30. We dropped Dave off at the airport and he flew-off to Maryland. We drove on to Columbia, MO, checked into the hotel and then headed out to the fairgrounds, where this year’s MS-150 event was based. The team had a pasta dinner in the team tent, so we carbo-loaded. Our US Congressman, Russ Carnahan, stopped by the tent to pay his respects. He is chair of the House’s MS committee. The tail-end of Hurricane “Hermione” paid a visit on Friday night, so it was a dark and stormy night. We weathered the storm just fine in our hotel room, but some team members that were camping got a little wet.
Saturday dawned cloudy, but dry, well mostly. We were up at five and at the fairgrounds again by six. Team Kaldi’s was one of the first few teams to launch and we had our team mass start at 7:30. Ten miles later we were at the first rest stop, Mount Zion Mennonite Church. The church was built in 1903 and was built on the site of a Civil War battlefield, the Battle of Mount Zion. We heard later that one rider went down just before this rest stop. A heart attack is suspected. The rider’s fate is unknown. We had an early lunch at rest stop three. It was only 10:30 when we arrived at the lunch stop. There was blood on the road just a mile or two before rest stop four. Two riders had collided and were still lying in the road when we arrived. There were support people aplenty already there and they waved us on, we didn’t get far before a pair of ambulances came tearing past us, and then it was on to Amish country.
You can tell when you are in Amish country, because the line of telephone poles ends. There are no power lines to any of the Amish houses. This is the second year in a row that the MS-150 has passed through Amish country and you can tell that we are as big a hit with them as they are with us cyclists. The fences, front porch railings and steps were lined with Amish children, boys with their little Dutch boy haircuts and girls in their bonnets. I respected the Amish’s wishes and did not take any pictures of them, although it did pain me at the time. Rest stop five featured Amish boys waving plastic swords to the soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribbean, boys will be boys, and homemade Amish pies. Then before you knew it the first day’s ride and seventy-five miles had passed. A tailwind helped a lot with that.
Saturday night there was a grand party at the team tent. Just as the team’s membership has grown so have the team’s amenities. Do you think that there might be some linkage here? This year’s team tent featured three masseurs, so there was only a small wait for an after ride massage. Dinner featured a whole roasted pig, salmon, more sides then I could count, a margarita machine, really just a slushy machine put to its proper use, and an ice cream bar. All of these amenities were paid out of pocket by the team members.
Sunday dawned all too early and Saturday’s exertions had taken their toll, so we rode only 45 miles, for a total of 120 miles for the weekend. Afterwards, Anne and I took to acting out a scene from the Simpsons, “Does this hurt?”, “Ow, quit it!” Thanks to all of our donors!