Have you ever thought about participating in a MS 150 Road Bike Ride? I was recently asked if I wanted to ride in one and happy that I decided to participate. This ride was from San Antonio to Gruene, TX.
Why participate in a MS150 Road Bike Ride
There are various reasons why a person decides to ride in a MS150 Road Bike Ride. The main reason is to raise money and awareness to combat MS.
Perhaps you, someone you know suffers from MS. Maybe someone that has passed suffered from MS. Some riders enjoy riding daily and some ride only to prepare for a MS150 ride. The events are well coordinated, the sponsors and volunteers are top-notch. The riders are friendly, help each other, train together and usually ride in other bike rides. These reasons make the MS150 bike ride one of the best bike rides to participate in.
I owned a mountain bike and rode it on short easy rides. Then I met someone that was creating a team to ride in the MS 150 bike ride. He helped me visit various bike stores, explained everything from training, eating, clothing, shoes, bikes, safety gear, bike riding techniques and even products to avoid skin chaffing (what?). He even scheduled various practice rides in Texas. This made it easy to make a decision. I read a little more about MS and its effect on peoples’ lives. A quick ride to REI and I was practicing for the MS150 bike ride.
A couple of quick things I learned (lessons/tips)
- Be sure to practice with your clip on shoes!!!! During one of the practice rides, I brought the bike to a complete stop and realized that I had not unclasped my clip on shoes! Yes, I fell flat on my side. In another instance, I unclasped my shoes and approached the spot I wanted to dismount only to realize that one of the shoes reclipped to the pedal. Yes, I fell again. You do not want this to happen on the day of the event.
- Be sure to hydrate a couple of days before the ride. Even though this was explained to me, I failed to follow the instructions and paid for it. I started cramping up at mile 30 and had to rest and stretch to continue. Water is important and works great but pickle juice and other water hydrate additives are a must. Test out various hydration products found at your local bike shop and determine what works for your body.
- The event is well organized so do not feel like you can not participate! There are plenty of restrooms, plenty of food and drinks at the start of the ride. Instructions are mailed weeks prior to the event. There are rest areas every 10 or so miles. You will find water food, energy packs, pickle juice (yes, pickle juice), sun screen, etc at the rest stops. The most important thing to know is that should you feel like you cannot continue, there are vehicles that will take you and your bike to the finish line. I learned that they can also take you to a future rest stop so that you can attempt to complete the ride from one of the last rest stops if the pain allows you to.
- If you have a GoPro, practice using the GoPro during your practice rides. I waited until the MS150 ride to take out the GoPro and mount it on the bike. The video was great and I am also just learning how to work with videos. However, I noticed that the camera was pushing up against my digital/wireless speedometer/cadence meter. The problem was that I failed to notice that the meter fell off at some point. It cost right at $100 so it was a very good lesson to learn.
- This is very important: After you have practiced and the event is near and after the actual event, take your bike to a local shop and have them inspect it from top to bottom. Make sure your bike is ready for the race. Brake and gear cables become loose, tires threads wear, critical bolts/screws may need to be tightened. Safety always come first. Several bike shops that are closely related to this event will often offer a quick bike inspection.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare!! I flew in from out of town, finally got into bed at 1am and woke up at 4am to drive 2 hours to the starting line. I will never try that again. Prepare for the event even if you have to change your schedule.
Here is a link to a practice ride we did a few weeks after the MS150 ride (after we all had recovered).
In conclusion, the MS150 helps in funding research and awareness. It helps in many ways. There are many people involved to pull these rides off. There are several throughout the year so there is sure to be one in a city near you. Practice for a year if you have to. These rides are a lot of fun. You will get in shape, feel better physically, emotionally and you will be helping a great cause. It really changed me in many ways. After this event, I participated in my first Spartan sprint, Camp Gladiator games, Rugged Maniac mud run, a second bike event named Tour de Cure which is benefits the fight against diabetes. If you are still not sure about signing up, borrow a bike and equipment that way if it turns out you will not be riding again you are only out a few bucks for the registration fee. The rides always offer a short route, medium route, and long route. I am already registered for the ride from Houston to Austin!!! The benefits for you and others are too great not to give it a try.
Feel free to post any questions you may have below.
Thanks for reading!!!