Less Writing, More Biking

The happiest time of the year has come and gone.Bike MS Tour de Farms is over. Sigh. The following is an account of our last week of training and the event itself.

1. Cookie was ready!

Cookie in front of the waterfall

Friday, June 19 – we went for a longish bike ride to see how we would hold up. A roundabout route through scenic western suburbs from my house to Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, a lap and a half around the preserve and then another roundabout route back through different scenic suburbs netted us about 40 miles. We planned to ride the Tour’s 50-mile route and figured that if we could ride 40 miles, we could ride 50. We succeeded with our 40-mile route. In fact, with an overall speed of 11 mph (much of it on crushed limestone), we were about as fast as we’ve ever been for a ride of that length. (We are not fast. Just saying.) So we felt great about our upcoming ride.

2. Complications…

Sunday, June 21 – we did a cooldown ride, just to make sure our muscles still worked. Cookie had had a rough night. She had developed a rash which she figured out was probably shingles. She was already on an antiviral medication (she’s proactive that way) and hoped that it wouldn’t develop into a full blown case.

Tuesday, June 23 – I planned about a 20-mile solo ride, just to keep in shape. I started strong—over 11 miles, my speed averaged 13.3 mph. I was jubilant!

At that point I fell down and went boom, garnering a few bruises and scrapes and a minor neck sprain. (Details here.) Skippy’s back wheel got mangled. Would we be able to get a new wheel installed and aligned in time for the Tour? Bike Shop Mike was hopeful; even though he had to order a new wheel, he thought she would be ready by Thursday. Friday at the latest.

Wednesday, June 24 – I lay around and got nothing done. My head, neck, and back hurt, but it could have been so much worse that I couldn’t complain.

Thursday, June 25 – I started feeling better, and huzzah! Bike Shop Mike texted with the news that Skippy was all fixed. But then I got an email from Cookie saying she might only be able to do the 35-mile route. Unlike my neck sprain, her shingles weren’t getting any better.

Friday, June 26 – I felt good as new. As I was packing and otherwise preparing for the weekend, Cookie called with the sad news that she couldn’t ride. At all. It turned out that she had learned well from the “Your Cat Died” joke, and had been letting me down easy. BK and I went on to DeKalb with heavy hearts, which were somewhat relieved when we met up with part of our team, the Sargent & Lundy Power Pedallers for dinner at Pizza Villa. There was chianti (and much rejoicing).

3. A brighter day dawns…

Before the ride: me, Andy, Danielle, Dave, and Randy

Saturday, June 27 – the weather was sunny, with a 10 mph wind out of the north. The day’s forecast high was 73º, though it was in the 50s just before we started the ride. A while before we left, Cookie texted.

Cookie: Have a great ride!
Me: Thanks! How are you doing?
Cookie: Okay.* No way I could have ridden today. See you at the finish line.
Me: Awww, poor Cookie
Cookie: Yeah, yeah. Now get out there and win one for the gipper, uh, Cookie.

So that’s what we did. Around mile 20 I developed a helmet headache, which the ER doctor warned me might happen, but BK called Sis, who agreed to bring me my muscle relaxants (along with Cookie), so I had that to look forward to. True to her word, Cookie was there to greet us at the finish line. And my speed? I averaged 12.4 mph!

Cookie, Randy, me, Danielle, and Andy

Sis, Cookie, BK and I went to Eduardo’s in DeKalb for Mexican food. I had a delicious watermelon-cucumber margarita, which went really well with the muscle relaxants. Sis took Cookie home; BK and I went back to the hotel and fell asleep before 8 p.m.

Sunday June 28 – BK drove me back to the Tour. I quickly biked 15 miles as a cooldown from the day before, and my speed was even better than Saturday’s: 12.8 mph. BK and I went back to the hotel for chocolate milk, a cinnamon roll, and a shower. BK and I went home, another Tour de Farms completed.

Skippy & new helmet still wearing their ride numbers

Thanks again to all the generous beings who donated to the National MS Society in support of this year’s ride: Lorie & Steve, BK, Kurt, Steve, Sis, Sara, the Musto family, Katie, Mickey & Janet, Tim & Nan, Beth, Lori, Ann, the Patel family, Katherine, and Seamus the World’s Best Dog!

* Cookie-speak for : “I’m in excruciating pain.”


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