Last weekend I participated in another charity bike ride. For the
third time in as many years, my friend from grad school, David Strom
from St. Louis, joined me to travel out to the rural Eastern Shore of
Maryland. The event was called the Chesapeake Challenge sponsored by the local National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have been living
with MS for since 1990, but I'm still able to ride a bike. I took a
red eye flight out from SoCal Thursday night so we could get our
rental bikes, eat some crabs at one of those places in Annapolis where you crack the crabs with a wooden mallet right on the table, and get over to the ride start in time.
Larry Black from Bike123.com in Mt. Airy provided two great road bikes for us (see photo). All we had to do was put our pedals and seats on them and we were good to go. Larry was a real character and was supporting the ride at various rest stops. He even gave me my first donation to get me started. Between the two of us, David & I managed to raise about $4,000. I know the economy has been awful, so I do appreciate the donations that we received. Since we each raised over $1000 they gave us some cleverly designed "Top Crab" biking jerseys to wear on the ride to indicate that we serious fund-raisers.
I rode 80 miles the first day and David did 63, proving that vitamin I
(for ibuprofen) was stronger than my MS that day. The second day we
both rode 27 miles. The terrain is mostly flat with some short hills,
and very rural -- we had the opportunity to pass a tractor going about 15 mph, saw an eagle feeding its young, got to wade into the Chesapeake Bay, and saw lots of corn & wheat fields. (I also saw lots of elevated water storage tanks, a few wells, and a lift station that I'm sure few others noticed.) We also passed by a shooting range and we stopped in to see what all the action was about and turns out it was a clay target national champion qualifying round that had about 100 people participating. Ironically, it was located right next to an organic
farm. Lot's of large SUVs in the parking lot with McCain/Palin bumper
stickers, and we show up wearing our tight Stanford biking jerseys.
As one of the good old boys there said, "Boy, did you all make a wrong
Neither of us had any physical problems, other than my right leg
cramping after the 80 mile/2 beer day. Many of the
riders did 100 miles the first day and 50 the second. Also new was
that the ride was held with a 27 mile walkathon for MS that drew a
bunch of folks for that event. One walker was Joyce Nelson, President
& CEO of the NMSS out of the Denver office, who gave a very
inspirational speech at Saturday's dinner.
We stayed in the dorms at Washington College, which was ironic given
that Steve and I first met many years ago staying in the dorms at a
slightly larger and more well-known educational institution. And we
did get kicked out of the women's restroom one time this weekend.
Most of the folks participating were from the DC-Baltimore area and
were impressed that we flew in for the event.
Our team-mates at Team Lamberts (named for a local bar near Goddard Space Center that is a frequent hangout for a couple of them) were gracious and welcoming, too. Their/our team leader, Gordo, used to be very active with the guys on the team years ago, but is now in a
wheelchair full time due to progressive MS. There was a
candle-lighting ceremony on Saturday night where several of his old
friends talked about doing their fund-raising in honor of Gordo.
Those of you that didn't yet donate and still want to, I will send you
details on my next MS ride in October from Irvine to San Diego put on
by my local Pacific Coast MS Chapter.
I thank you for your donation and interest. And once I get another
bottle of ibuprofen, I will be back out on the local roads enjoying