The Bike MS City to Shore Ride: Sick and in the Saddle from Philly to The Jersery Shore

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I'm sitting at my computer surrounded by tissues and half-consumed cups of tea. I wish I were able to write about having just completed 150 miles of biking for the Bike MS City to Shore ride, but unfortunately, that's not the case. It just goes to show being extremely stressed, overtired and underslept can really take its toll, often at the worst possible time. When I woke up Friday morning, the day before the big ride, I remember thinking, "Oh no, I can't be getting sick!"

Despite a gallon of orange juice, echinacea and rest, I woke up in the middle of the night Friday with a 100┬║ fever. My brother was fast asleep on the couch, having driven in that night so we could take the PATCO train to the City to Shore start together Saturday morning. I took a bit of Motrin to fight the fever and tried to sleep it off. I woke at 5am as planned; my temperature was down to 99┬║, but in the process, I got a migraine. Aaron and I headed out to the start of the ride, hopeful that I'd miraculously feel better.

By the time we got to the start, the migraine-associated nausea was kicking in, and I had doubts about being able to ride at all. But I thought, "I'm already here, I really really want to do this, and I don't want to let everyone who supported me down." So Aaron and I were off just after 7:30am en route to Ocean City, 79 miles away.

This ride was important to me for a number of reasons. First, it's for an incredible cause. And the more I prepared for the ride, the more people I learned had been directly or indirectly affected by the disease. Second, I met my fundraising goal of $1,000 the day before the ride. So many incredible friends and family supported me in my efforts, and I can't thank all of you enough! Third, it was a chance to do something with my really amazing little brother. I'd planned to ride with his company's team, and was so looking forward to doing the ride with him. And finally, it's a loooong bike ride, and an incredible physical challenge. If there's any kind of physical challenge involved, you can bet I'll be into it!

The ride ended up being an incredible experience, just as I'd hoped. the 79 mile course wound through beautiful New Jersey countryside, through small towns, and around parts of the state I didn't know existed. The ride was extraordinarily well supported and organized. All the holes in the road had been circled with orange spray paint to help us pick them out. Volunteers were cheering for us the whole way, and it was inspiring to look ahead of me down the road at a wave of brightly colored jerseys for the entire route.

At the five rest stops, volunteers handed out water and snacks. I had a handful of other friends doing the ride, and ended up running into all of them. Out of the 7,000 riders, I thought it was pretty neat I was able to find them all! The support my brother provided was absolutely incredible. He stuck with me the entire ride and made sure I was alright. Granted it was an extremely uncomfortable day for me, being able to do it with him, and to participate in the ride at all, was enough to keep me going. Even the ridiculous downpour at mile 50 wasn't enough to get us down!

By the time we got to Ocean City after 7 hours on the course, five on the bike, I was completely out of energy, but absolutely elated. I've never been so happy to get to the Jersey shore! The finish line festival was great. All the riders got medals and t shirts, hot dogs and pierogies, and they had a live band playing. It was a really fun way to end the day, and the entire event seemed to go off without a hitch. The whole team found their luggage, which had been shipped to the finish line by truck during the day, and headed off to the house they'd all spend the night in before riding back the next day. The 79 miles that day would be all I'd manage for this year's City to Shore. I jumped on a bus provided for riders who only planned to do half of the ride, and made it home just after 6pm.

I was so disappointed I couldn't do the whole thing, and still feel, to an extent, that I let my supporters down a bit. I wish I'd been able to complete it. I hadn't been sick in so long, it was so disappointing to have the illness hit when I really needed to be healthy. But I learned the consequences of not managing my stress and not taking care of myself the hard way, and I'm so incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to participate at all.

Congratulations to everyone who participated! Have you done this event, or something like it?

2 comments :

Goin to Cali!! said...

You describe the concept of trust involved with climbing so well. I would like to take this moment to thank you Katie for making my first outdoor climb a positive experience. I didn't enjoy my first indoor climb nearly as much and learned of my fear of heights then. Along with the professional group Terra Mar brought out to the water gap Labor day last year, you were one of the biggest factors in my success that day. couldn't have done it without you. Can't wait to get to climbing again! Just need alittle more time to heal my ski injuries. Wish I could have had someone like to ski with the day I fell.

Goin to Cali!! said...

You describe the concept of trust involved with climbing so well. I would like to take this moment to thank you Katie for making my first outdoor climb a positive experience. I didn't enjoy my first indoor climb nearly as much and learned of my fear of heights then. Along with the professional group Terra Mar brought out to the water gap Labor day last year, you were one of the biggest factors in my success that day. couldn't have done it without you. Can't wait to get to climbing again! Just need alittle more time to heal my ski injuries. Wish I could have had someone like to ski with the day I fell.