Bike MS: The Citrus Tour 2013

Hey, would you look at that? I participated in and survived another Bike MS: The Citrus Tour event this past weekend, defying all odds and most of your expectations I’m sure. Over two days I rode 103.6 miles since I choose to do the 51.8 mile route each day. I’ve pretty much figured out at my body as it is currently constructed in its advancing age has about a 45-50 mile limit built in if I want to get up and get back on a bicycle the next day. At the end of day one I’m quite positive that I could have completed the 75 mile first leg that was available (and with some more time and training and confident that I could complete a one day century – 100 miles), but that second day is just a killer from a comfort standpoint. So, 50+ mile route it was.

Regardless of the mileage, I’m proud to have completed the ride, but not nearly as proud as I am of the money we raised towards fighting Multiple Sclerosis. The total so far this year is $2602.88, giving me a two year total of $5424.58. For that I have all of you to thanks for your generosity and support. When I started doing this two years ago I could never have imagined how many people would go out of their way to help, either with donations, volunteering to help with a fundraiser, or simply with a kind word of support or thanks. It’s all very humbling that you would put your faith in me, and for that I’m eternally grateful to all of you.

As for the ride itself, once again it was extremely fun and remains one of the best organized and coordinated events of its kind that I’ve ever seen. Thanks to all of the staff and volunteers for their efforts, and a special shout out to the Polk, Osceola, and Orange County sheriffs officers who were out on the course, keep major intersections clear and the route safe for all of the riders. Here’s a few of the highlights, documented as always with my awful iphone camera for prosperity.

My son and I drove down to Bok Tower Gardens (the ride start and finish) Friday evening to pick up my registration packet and VIB (Very Important Banana) rider jersey, which went to everyone who raised more than a $1000 the previous year. My total actually put me in the top 100 last year, which meant I got some pretty nice perks for this year’s ride, including a personalized yellow bib designating my place in the Top 100 (35) and reserved parking. They also recognized the Top 100 with a sign and the start/finish area, which I stopped to take a picture of after registering. Pretty cool, no?

Hey, look! It's me!

Hey, look! It’s me!

That’s just one of the really cool little things that the event does to recognize and reward participants. (More to come.) After picking up my packet we went in search of my traditional pre-ride meal at Benihana (and, refreshed twitter like crazy following the manhunt in Boston in real time.) Nothing better than some lean protein and carbs the night before expending a few thousand calories.

Mmmmmm....raw fish.

Mmmmmm….raw fish.

My alarm went off the next morning at the ungodly hour or 4:00 AM to give me enough time to get the car packed and loaded and make the short drive down to Lake Wales for the start. (Kudos the warriors who had already been lined up for at least an hour at Park Ave CDs at that hour in anticipation of Record Store Day. You folks are the true heroes.) Unlike last year, I didn’t nearly forget to load my bike, so that was a plus right from the start. I parked in my VIP parking lot (all together now “oooo la la”) and eyed the sky nervously while I ate my breakfast since the forecast called for periodic rain showers throughout the week. We caught a great break though since, other than a short downpour before we started Saturday, the weather turned out fantastic, with the cloud cover keeping the temps nice and cool through the weekend. Huzzah!

In order to avoid another 2000 word monstrosity of a post, let me summarize the rest of the weekend in pictures.

The starting line on Saturday AM.

The assembly area and starting line on Saturday AM.

A shot glass full of Goldfish crackers, best rest stop treat ever. Made all the hilarious by my comically over sized and meaty paws.

A shot glass full of Goldfish crackers, best rest stop treat ever. Made all the hilarious by my comically oversized and meaty paws.

One of the many well stocked rest stops along the route.

One of the many well stocked rest stops along the route.

Hey look, it's a finishers medal! Also dwarfed by aforementioned over sized meaty paws

Hey look, it’s a finishers medal! Also dwarfed by aforementioned oversized meaty paws.

Look what was waiting for me when I got home? Never has anybody been more excited to receive an Amazon delivery before. All hail the mystical awesomeness that is Biofreeze.

Look what was waiting for me when I got home? Never has anybody been more excited to receive an Amazon delivery before. All hail the mystical awesomeness that is Biofreeze.

Some of the really cool swag (Start top, clockwise): Personalized sign (you better believe I took that puppy home), finishers medal, ride t-shirt, VIB Top Fundraiser jersey, and Top 100 Fundraiser t-shirt.

Some of the really cool swag (Start top, clockwise): Personalized sign (you better believe I took that puppy home), finishers medal, ride t-shirt, VIB Top Fundraiser jersey, and Top 100 Fundraiser t-shirt.

So that’s it, another year in the books and I’m already looking forward to next year (even if I still don’t want to sit on a bike saddle for another couple of days, I’m going back out for a couple of shorter spins this weekend.) Some things that I’ve learned this year:

  1. I prepared much better this year to deal with the hills. While some of them were still challenging, none of them knocked me for a loop like last year, not even the finishing “Big Hill.”
  2. I’m a terrible team or group rider. I rode with a loosely affiliated “team” this year, but didn’t spend more then a couple of miles riding anywhere near them. I’m just not cut out for it, so I usually ended up picking a spot between groups and settling in for the segment. In fact, I got so locked in on Saturday that I inadvertently blew right past one of the rest stops and didn’t really notice until I was several miles passed. I was feeling good though so it definitely did not matter. One of the things that I really enjoy about cycling is the ability to NOT interact with other people, to just clear my mind and concentrate on pedaling. Lesson learned.
  3. I’d like to one day, perhaps later this year, compete in a one day Century ride, but over the course of two days, I’m sticking with the 50 mile option for the foreseeable future. It’s not a matter of fitness, but by the last 10 miles of Sunday the very LAST place my body wanted to be was sitting in a bike saddle.

Thanks again to all of the event organizers, volunteers and participants for another great time. I’ll definitely be back for years to come. And thanks again to everyone who donated in support of the cause. You guys are truly awesome. If you are still interested in making a contribution this year, it’s not too late. You can make a donation through this link until June 17, 2013, but I’m not going to harrass ask you for donations again until next year.

Cheers.

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Posted on April 25, 2013, in Cycling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I am so happy to have been able to support your ride this year, Jimmy. And proud to have you as a friend. Congratulations on a job very well done.

  1. Pingback: An exercise in narcissism: The best of me in 2013 | Fables of the Deconstruction

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