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MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE - CycleTour


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Moraine State Park, Pennsylvania
United States
78F / 26C
Sunny
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Bike
  • 00m
  • 150 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr
Comments:

as an athlete, you always have that one race that doesnt quite go the way you expect. well. maybe they all dont go according to plan in one respect or another.

i fully expected at some point in my 'career' that i would have a DNF [athletic code for DID NOT FINISH] i fact, i recently thought, im 'due'.....interesting in light of this ride.

the 150 was my first DNF.

much to my disappointment, i was not able to ride 150 miles over the weekend.


the day started in a FOG, literally. what eery start to the day. the fog rising off the lake, pouring into the woods. it was a bit Lord of Rings-esque.

i found my riding partner for the day, and we waited as the held the start on account of fog.

30 mins delay, the horn sounded and we were off.


the first 15 miles, admittedly was a harrowing experience. its quite the sight to see 1700 riders, released 100 at a time, all on the same narrow road.

sandwich between wobby, inexperienced riders to the right of me, and super fly cyclist screaming past on the left of me, it was all i could take to not get off my bike, pack it in, and call it day.

i was scared you know what less.

this is the one thing i hadnt trained for - though ive ridden a few time in a group - the feeling that you get surrounded by all those cyclist all at the same time.

my persistent anxiety-ridden thought was: theres gonna be a pile up, and im gonna end up at the bottom of a heap of bikes and people.

im happy to report that my doomsday prediction never came to fruition and i made it through the first 15 miles alive and unscathed.

i suspect, next time it wont be so harrowing, and i wont be so anxious.


the next 15 miles i spent the time getting my cycling legs 'under' me....the morning was great weatherwise - sunny, but cool. still at this stage i was try to 'avoid' people, but found myself relaxing with each pedal stroke, as each mile passed.

the terrain was manageable, and the fact that i was relaxing, i found myself feeling stronger and more energized.

i even took the time to take in the scenery and meet/talk to some fellow riders. at this point, most of the wobbly riders had fallen back, and the super fly riders were pulling away.

i was reaching my 'happy place', mid-pack. i can say, i was starting to enjoy myself.


we stopped for lunch after the 2nd leg of the ride. quite the spread.

this race, as i had been told by so many, was well supported and very organized. my friend and i dropped our bikes on the grass, ate lunch, overlooking a lake. pristine. the triathlete in me wanted to jump in and take a swim. :)

in due time, i jumped back on bike and was off for the next 15 mile leg. feeling much more confident and much more relaxed and found myself in a groove.

though not quite so super fly, i did feel that wonderful sensation of being in the cycling zone - legs pumping, tires humming, my bike 'singing'. (it has this wonder-full resonate sound that emanates from the full carbon hallow tubing)

WHAT a feeling.

the next rest stop was in and out. get off my bike. stretch grab something to eat and drink. back on the road.

i knew 'the hill' was in front of me. like battle plans, the rumor of 'the hill' had been 'round the camp.

this was THE HILL on the course, right outside of Cochrantan.

and let me tell, she was a doosey. [though i heard minor in comparison to the 'the hill' on last years course....but my legs werent here last year, they were here THIS year]


the base of the hill was a major/small town intersection and so they were letting 'clumps' of riders go all at same time. for me not 'happy' climbing conditions.

i can climb with the best of them, even better than some. but give me space to climb. i dont have the finess of a tour de france rider (yet) steady and straight. so climbing in clump wasnt all that appeasing.

i had no time to think through my climb, even catch my breath. i swept up and climbing en masse.

to top it off, there was a mini van in the mix (how in the HELL did they get there?). so climb, i did, but very, very slowly. OI.

its one thing to climb.

its another thing to climb in close group

its another thing to climb in a group at snails pace with a minivan in front of you.

but im proud to say i climbed the dang thing WITHOUT getting off my bike to walk.

i climbed BESIDE (yes, i said BESIDE) the super fly cyclist and past wobbly newbies.


and i felt it as an indoctrination of sorts. an initiation.

somehow climbing that hill, under those conditions made me a REAL cyclist. [watch out Lance, LOL]

WHAT a feeling. what an AMAZING sense of accomplishment.

now i just need the t-shirt that says, I CLIMBED 'THE HILL' ON THE MS150 :)


i was thinking that after tackling something so monumental i would be drained of energy.

if anything, the opposite was true.

buyoed by a sense of accomplishment, i rode on, strong and happy.

i continued to relax, and began to enjoy myself throughly (oh that i would feel this way the first 15 miles the next time) continuing to take in the scenery (and the smells, cows and horse poo, ewww) and meeting people along the way (by passing them. wink)

in fact i remarked to a fellow ride that i regretted then that i didnt relax and enjoy myself more the first 30

i continued to notice that my Tri trng was paying off BIG TIME. all those months of preparing. worth it.

i felt strong. i felt confident. i felt like a cyclist.


the next 15 miles felt the same as the previous, even more so. i was humming along. comfortable. relaxed. deliberately paced. in the zone. again the humming of my tires, the whirr of the wheels. a zen experience.

i stopped at the final rest stop, confident and energized. i felt like i would finish in fine fashion, on time, w a smile face.

[i set a personal goal to finish at 3, the Century cut off, and i was online to accomplish that....]

again, i rested. i ate. i hydrated. buttered my butt and i was on the road again.


i only had 15+ miles left to go. there was a sense of relief, and already a 'bubbling up' sense of accomplishment.

i just rode 70+ miles in one day. WOOT.

and im about to finish the first day of the MS150. WOOT.


so embarked on what was the final leg, but proved to be the toughest.

i started off feeling great (still)

the rolling hills were coming fast and furious, though, at the time, they didnt feel unmanable. just more of Western PA terrain. these types of hills were all too familiar to me.

but then flat sections seemed less flat, and the hills albeit rolling started to feel steeper.


at one point i asked a few cyclist around me if the terrain was getting harder or if it was me. they all agreed.

we wondered out loud, could it be that we were just more tired. then someone remarked that not only was there the rolling hills, but there was steady upward grade from 'here on out'

so it was not just a figment in the mind of tired cyclists. it was indeed getting harder.


i trudged on, my pace still steady, but slightly slower. the temps were rising and the newly ladened asphalt radiated this intense heat, and the hills just kept coming and coming. and unfortunately the 'flats' didnt provide much recovery.

im not certain exactly what happened or even when, but i began to develop a deep, painful cramping in my side [NOT your run of the mill side cramp mind you] something much deeper and more painful. mentally i thought, wouldnt this be 'hilarious' in a ironic sort of way to develop apendicitus....

i stayed on the bike, but slowed my pace, waited it out, to see if it would stop, and in the meantime i came to the base of another hill (which proved to be the final, steepest climb of the day....nothing like 'the hill' but still steep....)

though the pain had lessened, i knew well enough that i needed to get off my bike and walk the hill.

no problem.

i was happy to have a few minutes respite from the bike.

i wasnt the only one.

others followed.

it was the first time on the course that i saw more cyclist walking their bikes than riding.

the hill was deathly silent.

everyone was suffering.

i saw two my teammates who i mistakenly thought had come out to round up other fellow riders. they were completing the Century ride that had doubled back onto the 150 course.

they were suffering even more so, with 20 more miles on heaped on their bodies.


i walked the lenght of the hill. i drank the whole way up. the pain went away. i crested the top of the hill and felt comfortable enough to pedal on to the finish.

i was told that we werent far, and that it was downhill from here.

really? i questioned cuz everyones been saying that all day. a half-hearted chuckle.

really, the kind, sincere woman said.

oh, how good those words sounded. i knew if it wasnt far, i could finish.


the perpetual hills and upward grades finally stopped.

downhill, we came into the small college town of Edinboro. the sign - EDINBORO UNIVERSITY - was a beautiful site to behold. i was feeling good (no pain) but READY to finish.

turning a corner, i saw the blessed blue and orange MS balloons and the sign that read FINISH.


i made it!

i got through the chaotic, harrowing start.

i made my way up 'THE HILL', i pedaled strong and confident,

and i made it through what proved to be the hardest leg of the ride for the majority of the riders.

I FINISHED.


then, the crash began. i manged to find my way over to the area where my fellow team mates had gathered,

dismounting my bike, and felt a wave of heat completely engulf me. then the nausea set in. i thought certain i was gonna hurl.

people were talking to me, but i became completely incapable of responding other than to simply nod my head.

they wanted to move me to a shady spot, and i felt like listless rag doll. the energy just pouring out of me while the heat engulfed me. i felt sicker than ive ever felt before.

though completely 'out of it' i 'knew' intuitively i was in 'trouble'.

ice cold rags, bags of ice, water which i couldnt down. it was a massive blur to me.

all i could do was heave and sob.

i could hear people talking, yelling, but nothing was making sense. it was a big whirr.

before long there was the MS medical personnel around - two nurses - and an EMT.

i was shaky, dizzy, nauseated, and not thinking clearly.

oranges, watermelon. more water. water w electrolytes. ice bags under my armpits.

the cooler i started to feel, the more i 'came to' i could make out faces and respond to question/conversation. a few words. but i could respond.

still shaky, but feeling a hell of alot better, the intense pain and nausea had dissipated.

i chose not to go the ER.

i didnt want my husband to get THAT phone call. i didnt want to be the girl who rode the MS and got rushed to the ER. [it proved to be, i think the wrong decision on my part, i think the recovery would have gone a lot 'smoother' had i gone....]

the DX - extreme heat exhaustion/heat stroke. [one caveat here. i get heat exhaustion/stroke sitting on the beach. its im very susceptible to, without a whole lot of warning. not to this degree. im certain the physical exertion lead to the extreme nature of this episode]


laying down, i was disappointed.

disappointed that i hadnt reached my goal (to make the Century cut off, not that i was gonna ride, but say that i could have...)

disappointed that i went 'down'

disappointed that i wasnt able to stay on top of my symptoms. [i 'knew' better]

disappointed mostly cuz this was not how i wanted to end the day.

im a stronger rider, a 'better' athlete than this.


perhaps all bunk, but still...its how i felt in the moment.

i tried to console myself w the fact that,

i rode 87 miles. my longest ride to date. my personal best.

when i started feeling un-well, i did what a good athlete would do. i reduced my exertion, and drank fluids.

i pedaled strong and confident, at a relaxed but deliberate pace

i was prepared as well i as could. i was trained up to ride.

it was just how MY body responded to the conditions. period.


though the intense symptoms dissipated, there was still the lingering feeling of exhaustion. by the time we left Edinboro, i still a bit shaky and wobbly, but not to the same degree.

i was hungry as all get out.

the team arrived at our bed and breakfast.

this place was absolutely spectacular. my room was lovely. so happy i didnt have to sleep in a dorm room or on the gym floor.

cold shower, and then off to dinner.

i was ready for steak (not to be had) but settled for a hamburger and two glasses of really nice white wine (thanks to Simon)

i ate like a champ, enjoyed the company of the team. still 'shaken' a bit by the end of the day, but confident i would ride the next day.

we went back to the B&B, and felt exhausted, but that satisfied exhausted feeling you get when you know you've worked hard, and you've done your very best. i slept well.


i awoke the next morning w a pounding headache. a more intense shaky wobbly feeling than the night before. it was difficult even to get to the bathroom.

and i knew in an instant i wouldnt be able to ride the 2nd day.

i thought. ill drink and eat. and see.....but i knew i my heart.

again, the disappointment flooded me, and my first thought was that i let my Champion Terry down. i came to do this ride for her, and i wouldnt be able to finish what i set out to do.

then i thought of you, my wonderful friends who sponsored me and supported my ride.

i felt that i failed in some monumental way.

i was mad at my body for letting me down.

emotion just washed over me. sadness. anger. disappointment.


i made the decision in that moment not to ride, knowing that it was in my best interest.

though smart and the right decision for me, it was painful.

what proved even more painful was being around a group of people you knew were going to ride.

it was intensely sad and lonely.


we gathered our things and made our way back to Edinboro. i got my bike among the thousands that were stored in the Field House (what a sight THAT was!!)

i threw my bike in the back of one of the SAG wagons, and offered to be tonto to the sag's lone ranger (in spite of the change in plans, my friend deb and i had a GREAT day, sagging for our team)

the rest of the team were making their final preparations on their bikes, ready to head out, it proved to be too much. i just couldnt bear to be around all the pre-ride preparation.

i sat in the AC and cried my heart out.

again, the disappointment just flooded over me. in my heart i wanted to finish. my legs could finish. it was just the rest of my body that had 'betrayed' me.

i was mad. i was sad.

then Ken, my teammate came in to give me a hug, to tell me how proud he was of me, and to not let this get me down.

i promised that i wouldnt (i lied, it already had....)

before long the riders were off. i wiped my last tear, and told Deb, lets get a-sagging.


it was actually a fun experience being on the other side of the ride. we picked up several 'indistress' riders, and though i was disappointed i wasnt riding, i did feel that i was doing some good.

as the day wore on, the sick i had felt in the morning began to clear, and i was starting to feel myself again.

i began to consider the possibility that i could ride in the last leg of the race and finish w a 100 miles under my belt.

i knew mentally it would be important.

i mentioned it to my Lone Ranger friend Deb, and she full heartedly agreed, and promised to do 'everything in my power' to help me accomplish that goal.

it was cool, cloudy, drizzly day, so i knew that heat wouldnt be a factor. my legs felt fine to ride. even my butt felt good (after 87 miles that sayin' something)

endurance/energy wise i felt rested. (the morning in the AC really helped) i was able to down lots of G2 and go to eat all morning long [ah the perks of being a SAG]

though not 100%, i was confident i could ride safely and health-fully.


so at the last rest stop, i donned my riding gear, got on my bike, and rode off alone.

it felt so good to be back in the saddle.

i fell behind two guys pace-wise, so i told them about the end of the day yesturday, and how i wasnt feeling 100% and could i just hang back with them and let them 'pull' me to the finish line.

and without any hesitation, they said of course they would.

at that moment two total strangers became MY TEAM. :)

we talked. they pulled. i pedaled.

when they talk about 30% less energy when your drafting, they are absolutely right. i was working, but it felt effortless.

oh the power of TEAM.

the last leg proved to be mostly downhill. you could feel the breeze coming off the lake. it was cool and drizzly. MY kinda of riding weather.


we reached the final straightaway and i saw a couple on the side of the rode holding a large sign that said 'THANK YOU'

thank you for what, i remarked to my newly formed team.

thank you for raising money for MS. maybe the have MS or someone they know has MS.

oh. i remarked. and then it all came flooding back to me ...

i was ashamed to realize, somewhere along the way, over the course of 100 miles, i completely forgot why i was riding.

it wasnt for me.

it wasnt for a PB.

it was for MS, and my Champion Terry.


im glad that in that moment i was reminded, no, JOLTED back to why i orginally took on this challenge.

it was personal, but not for the reasons i thought.

it was knowing that my Champion Terry faces an 150 of her own, each and every day of her life.

im sure there are moments with her disease that she is down and distressed, just as much i was the day before. even more so.

i will recover fully. there is no cure for MS.


im sure she lives w the disappointment of not being able to do even the simplest of tasks.

my disappointment is nothing in comparision.

im fit, im strong, im healthy and i finished. period.


i crossed the finish line with a renewed sense of WHY i rode, w a newly formed team in tow. congrats all around.

and a congratulations and heart-full hug from my teammate Ken (Lone Ranger/Deb's husband)

it was a sweet moment of victory, on so many levels.


no, i didnt finish, finish the ride.

but in my heart the ride feels complete. (well.....sort of)

i feel satisfied that i did what i set out to do.

i rode strong.

i rode well.

i finished just fine.

and above all, i rode for my Champion Terry.

and no DNF can take that away.

What would you do differently?:

Get a different body that isnt so sensitive to heat.
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

lack of experience.




Last updated: 2009-02-05 12:00 AM
Biking
00:00:00 | 150 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance:
Wind: Some
Course: hilly.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

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2009-06-08 12:26 PM

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Champion
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Subject: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE


2009-06-08 1:01 PM
in reply to: #2202510

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Veteran
404
100100100100
Memphis, TN
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
Great race report.  Sorry about your first day but it was awesome that you were able to get in that last ride.  Sounds like you've got a great team and support and I'm sure you'll tame that course next year!
2009-06-08 1:47 PM
in reply to: #2202510

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Veteran
271
1001002525
Middle Tennessee
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
All I can say is WOW, what a day.
2009-06-08 2:20 PM
in reply to: #2202510

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Master
1726
100050010010025
Sacramento, California
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
My dear you did GREAT!!!!

I know it wasn't what you had hoped for, but you did the best you could, and in the end you remembered what is really important and that is why you were riding!

I am so proud of you!
2009-06-08 3:04 PM
in reply to: #2202510

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Elite
4372
200020001001001002525
Connecticut
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
Aw, Stacie, I'm so sorry it didn't turn out like you hoped.  BUT, you accomplished so much in spite of it all!  You cannot control race day conditions.  Nice job listening to your body.  Sometimes that can be the hardest thing to do. 

You'll get 'em next time for sure!
2009-06-08 3:53 PM
in reply to: #2202510

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Expert
1117
1000100
Shalimar, FL
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE

Stacie, you gave all that you had -- how could you ask for more?  And at the end of it all, you did ask for more and you figured out a way to make that happen too!  I'm so impressed that you accomplished what you did.  You were joyous, you trained and prepared, and you did that all with the best of intentions!!!  So it's ok to be sad and happy too.  This was a big undertaking, and I'm in awe of what you accomplished!



2009-06-08 4:17 PM
in reply to: #2202510

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Expert
1007
1000
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
Stacie Darling,

You are my hero! Your attitude is amazing. I wish I could be there to give you a hug. I have never even ridden 50 miles yet, so what you accomplished is a true feat, especially in the midst of so much adversity!!!! Most folks would have gone home...
2009-06-08 5:22 PM
in reply to: #2203248

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Champion
23360
5000500050005000200010001001001002525
Taser-World
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
Congratulations on the Century! That is an awesome accomplishment. You should be proud of yourself!

Think of all the things that you've learned. And next year, you'll rock this ride!

Now go drink some Gatorade and cool off in the pool. You're more than earned a rest day! Glad you're OK!!!
2009-06-09 9:55 AM
in reply to: #2202510

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Master
1420
1000100100100100
Victoria, BC
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
Stacie - what am amazing RR ... wow - you are a champion!
2009-06-09 3:18 PM
in reply to: #2202510

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Master
1332
100010010010025
Vista, CA
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE

I agree with everyone else -- YOU, my dear, ARE A CHAMP!! And, an athlete and a smart woman! You knew when it wouldn't be wise to continue and resumed when you could. What a great RR and description. Reads like a novel. Take care of your wonderful, amazing, athletic, trained triathlete body, even if it doesn't so much like the heat.

 

Lynn

2009-06-09 6:40 PM
in reply to: #2202510

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TinkerBeth
23096
500050005000500020001000252525
Liverpool, New York
Gold member
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
Stacie!

we are all so proud of you - it did not turn out how you hoped or planned, but you did fantastic and you learned a lot about yourself

congratulations on your marvelous effort - and remember, you still did more than 99.9% of the population could ever hope to accomplish!



2009-06-12 6:30 AM
in reply to: #2202510

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Veteran
351
1001001002525
Thibodaux
Subject: RE: MS150 ESCAPE TO THE LAKE
YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The heat is something we can't control. Some people thrive on it. Others have trouble with it. I've tried for years to perform better in the heat, but have never succeeded. You gave it your all. I admire you so much. Take care.
2009-06-12 7:51 AM
in reply to: #2202510

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