This was our MS-150 bicycling weekend. To all of our donors, thank you very much! It’s a good cause, a cause that cyclists have helped to raise over $700M since 1946. To all you want-to-be donors it’s not too late. Operators are now standing by here. We left Saint Louis on Friday afternoon, where it hit 100 °F, hopefully for the last time this year. We passed through a small line of thunderstorms just east of Columbia, MO, our destination, and the temperature at the fair grounds when we arrived was only 76 °F and the grass was even still dry, but the weather gods weren’t done with us yet.
Our Friday night dinner had to reconvene from the Team Kaldis tent to the main dining hall. There was no life threatening weather, but I did notice a sign proclaiming a maximum occupancy of 2825, but Anne instructed me that was for the horse arena and not the restrooms. That would have been one crowded tornado shelter. It continued to rain most of the night. We ended up with standing water in our tent. With camping you spend a lot of money buying stuff, just to live like a homeless person. We did save $200 on a hotel room.
Saturday, dawned cool and grey, but dry. We did the usual mass start, which as part of last year’s top fundraising team entitled us to start first. What this really meant was that Anne and I got to be passed by most of the 3,000+ following riders, while we hugged the shoulder. Such is life in the slow lane. Saturday’s weather cleared off and then warmed up to a pleasant 70 °F. We once again visited Amish country and based upon the number of spectators there, I think that they were equally fascinated by the cycling spectacle that we put on. Anne bought a slice of some variant of the pecan pie. It was of course delicious and the supposed variation was so nuanced as to be undetectable by yours truly and all for a buck. When is the last time that you bought a slice of homemade pie for a buck? The Amish are supposed to be good businessmen. I think that their secret is low costs. When you don’t have electricity running to your house, then you don’t need to buy the latest Apple product either. The Amish have a saying, “Never be the first one to adopt something new, but also never be the last one.”
After Amish country, we turned south and the headwind that we had been fighting became a tailwind. I wouldn’t say that we exactly sailed back, but this ride was way more pleasant than last year’s heat, headwind and “Get off my lawn!” We made dinner on Saturday, with an hour to spare. Sunday’s ride was truncated. Last year Sunday was also truncated, but that was because of the rumble of early morning thunderstorms and the day’s continual lightning. Today, the only rumbling came from my snoring, which was the root of our problem. Although, we launched less than an hour later than Saturday’s mass start, we were flagged onto the short route after only ten miles. I guess if you snooze, you lose. We ended up with less than 100 miles, which makes me feel a bit like a 98 pound weakling, but like the guy that camped next to us said afterwards, that’s 98 more miles than most people rode this weekend. We’ve been doing this challenging ride for quite a few years and will be doing it again next year, when the ride moves to Illinois. Anne has already signed us up.