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The MS ride

Almost to the finish line It began with an early morning start, the group of us driving from San Diego to the starting line in Irvine. Our spirits were only slightly dampened by the sporadic drizzle that blanketed the car and the road on the 80-mile drive to the north in the dawning light. I was feeling good, since the last time I did this ride in 2003 I was tortured for the following reasons:

- I was using a non-tested borrowed hybrid (that was a boat anchor)

- The brakes were rubbing for the first third of the course

- I had a sadistically hard seat

- I had not trained one bit

- It was about 10-20 degrees warmer

- I didn't know what to expect

This time, it was overcast, I had been training on decently hilly terrain for several months and had a nice used road bike that was almost lighter than the water bottle I put on it. And the gel seat really helped, too. Our team (Team Parexel) met by the starting line and get ourselves ready for the chronic discomfort coupled with a serene sense of accomplishment that would undoubtedly be our weekend.

I started sending emails to Hoa to keep her informed of my progress:

Sat 10/13/2007 08:18 AM - I am at the starting line and ready to go. Wish me luck!

We started off and it was quickly evident that this was not to be a level ride the whole way, as we encountered hills we didn't know existed. Irvine is flat, right? Nope. We got misted upon throughout the morning and the PD and I made it to the first rest stop. We were hungry so we snacked on power bars; the first of many. The setting was excelllent throughout the trip, with rest stops being as scenic as they could possibly get.

Sat 10/13/2007 11:52 AM - At lunch stop. 36 miles so far.

We ended up adjacent to the San Onofre Power Station for lunch and had a nice meal of Wahoos Tacos. We sat in the shade and chatted for a while before we disembarked once more for the long trek through Camp Pendleton.

Sat 10/13/2007 02:45 PM - At final stop. 55 miles so far.

Given that the trip is 100 miles and I had gone 55 miles, according to my bike computer, I was concerned that perhaps the term MS 100 Mile Ride was conservative. I was starting to wonder exactly how many miles I was to be riding the first day. After resting a bit, we rode the easy 4 miles to the first day's finish line at the Westfield Camino Real mall in Carlsbad. It was nice to be off the bike, but I was wondering how my body was going to like getting back on the bike tomorrow morning. We went to our hotel, showered and rested and came back for some yummy BBQ at the mall event. After winding down in the spa at our hotel, we slept soundly and woke early to start the next day.

8:00 AM - We got to the mall apparently after almost everyone else left, as there were few bikes remaining in the corral. We headed out, did a loop around the mall parking lot and immediately went up a steep hill. What a way to start a day. We continued along the beautiful coast, smelling wonderful breakfast foods and coffee along the way. I was so focused, I stopped taking pictures at the rest stops.

Sun 10/14/2007 09:24 AM - First rest stop. Almost 20 miles.

This was a nice break, as the idea of climbing Torry Pines Hills was becoming more real and more ominous the closer I got to it. Knowing what was ahead, we set off.

Sun 10/14/2007 10:33 AM - Top of TP. Yay.

With only a little irritation as some riders completely broke my momentum going up the hill, I made it to the top and was elated, knowing that the rest of the day would be easier than what I just accomplished. On top of that, we were making great time.

Sun 10/14/2007 11:58 AM - We are at north mission bay.

Feeling great, I had my tire pressure checked. I was 30 lbs. low in the front tire. It was good to know the fatigue I felt wasn't only me. I had a couple of almonds and we set out once again, the finish line being our goal.

By 12:42 PM I crossed the finish line, fully over two hours before my time in 2003. I could have done better... Next year.

Thanks everyone for their support. Especially the family that was there at the finish line, and those who contributed. You know who you are. Thanks to Team Parexel for being good road buddies.

A Strange Day: The Fires - Witch Creek Fire 2007

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