Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Six Flags

On Sunday, we went to Six Flags for the AB family day. We had a great time. We got there just before it opened at 10. One of A.J.'s classmates was having a birthday party so Helen and A.J. left for that and came back later. Rachel and I stayed for the whole day. She rode on a real roller coaster for the first time: the new Evel Knievel ride. It's been a long time since I've been on a real roller coaster so I was a little bit nervous. The ride was a lot of fun and Rachel really enjoyed it. She did not feel the need to ride any other roller coasters. We later met up with Helen and A.J. and stay at the park until it closed at 6.

After being at the park all day, we were all very tired. Helen seem more tired than the rest of us. She wasn't feeling any better the next day and her stomach was hurting. The pain got worse and she ended up going to the emergency room at midnight. The doctor there told her that she had gall bladder problems and was considering removing it that night. After doing an ultrasound, he decided that it did not need to be done immediately and told her to see her doctor today.

Of course her doctor just referred her to a specialist that she will see tomorrow. We are expecting that she will need her gall bladder removed since she has a family history of this problem.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I am legend

This past weekend was the MS-150. Thank you to everyone who donated.

I was a little worried about doing the century route (100 miles) on both days. I hadn't done any long rides to get ready. The longest ride I have done all year has been one of the Maplewood Bicycle Tuesday night rides and that was only twenty miles. Even if you count my commute that was less than forty miles for the day.

Since Helen wasn't going with me, I needed to rent a car. Car rental companies always seem to "forget" to enter the right code and try to charge you more than the reservation price. This has happened to me more than once and with more than one car rental company. They did fix the problem when I reminded them about it.

I picked up the car Friday morning and loaded it up with everything that I would need. Since I was driving, I decided to take the big (4-person) tent rather than the small tent that I used last year. After work, I drove to Columbia. It's only a two hour drive, so I was able to get there and get my tent set up before dark. After that, I had something to eat and turned in fairly early.

Saturday morning was a little chilly and the grass was very wet from dew. I ate breakfast, got my bike out of the car, and changed clothes in time for the 7:00 start. It had warmed up enough by this point that I didn't need a jacket. I didn't want to wear a jacket for 30 minutes and then carry it for the rest of the day.

The day continued to be damp and overcast. It probably didn't get much over 70 degrees. The cool weather is actually great for cycling. This year the first day had the flat route and the second day had the hilly one. There are still some hills on the flat route, though.

Some of the other riders remembered my ride from last year. That was when I rode to and from Columbia and ended up riding 520 miles in four days. Most of the people though it was pretty crazy. It was neat to be able to impress people like that. Of course I'm nowhere close to be able to do that this year.

I finished Saturday's ride feeling good, but tired. I hung out in the Mich Ultra tent until we took our group picture. After showering and eating dinner I fell asleep in my tent for about half an hour. I was too tired too do much more than lay in my tent and read. It rained for short period a few times that evening. It actually kind of nice to lay in a tent and listen to rain that you don't have to go out in. I was toying with the possibility of not riding at all on Sunday.

I was feel better on Sunday morning. I knew that I would be able to ride at least 75 miles. The century route did not split from the 75 mile route until about the 50 mile mark. This meant that I would be able to ride the first 50 miles and then decide whether I wanted to do 25 more or 50 more. I eventually decided that I had to at least try the 100 miles. If I did the 75 and still felt good I would be kicking myself for not doing the century.

There are good and bad things about large rides like the MS-150. Having so many cyclist on the road sometimes means that you get stuck behind a large clump of people. Of course having that many people means that there are always people to talk to. It also helps to keep my motivation up if there are people watching, or if there are people ahead of me that I can try to catch up to.

The century route has fewer people on it. There was one point where I went 20 minutes without seeing any other riders. This gets a little lonely but at least there were plenty of signs to reassure me that I wasn't lost.

I ended up riding the last twenty miles or so with a rider named John who is a student at Mizzou. He was doing the century route both days as well and these were his first and second centuries. He was a strong rider and wasn't having any troubles. He was a little concerned about the last six miles because everyone talks about the hills. I told him not to worry. A lot of people end up getting off there bikes and walking up the last hill but I knew that he wouldn't have any problems. The best thing about the last hill is that it is the last hill. After you get to the top you are practically done.

After I finished, I ate, showered and packed up the tent. After a couple hours of driving I was home in time to tuck the kids into bed. I was tired, but I was also proud that I was able to do what I set out to do. I may not be in as good of shape as I was last year but I still have the mental toughness. And the mental aspects of long distance riding are as important as the physical ones.

Hand surgery update

I had my hand surgery as scheduled and every thing went fine. I was allowed to take the bandages off and start riding again on Labor Day.