A thank you letter to my supporters after the ride. Supporters are SO important to the JaB.
I just wanted to take a few minutes tonight and send an email to everyone to thank you for your support of my MS150 ‘Jack and Back’ fund raising ride for Multiple Sclerosis. I’m happy to report that I completed the ride there and back on the long route, for a total of 150 miles. Without everyone’s support, I’m not sure I could have made it. Even though it was a tough ride, it was a small thing compared to people struggling with MS every day just walking, talking and other simple tasks we take for granted every day. Those are the people your donation is really going to help.
A little about the ride:
Saturday, the weather was beautiful, starting about 60 degrees, warming up to the low 70’s. The first 20 or so miles leaving Franklin TN were pretty hilly. There’s a section called the camel back, which is a huge uphill climb, followed by a drop into a pretty valley. Then, we had to climb back out over the second camel hump, then rejoined the main route. Just when you think your legs are going to explode, we only had 50 or so miles left to go. The next 40 miles were pretty flat, with about a 10 mph head wind. The wind was pretty tough. The last 10 miles were rolling hills, with about a mile uphill climb to the end to Motlow Community College, in Lynchburg TN.
Saturday night, Jack Daniels Distillery puts on a great party with catfish, barbecue, live music and other liquid refreshments (advice for future riders – don’t get carried away. It’s very tempting.) We went by for a little while, but left for dinner reservations at a very nice restaurant outside Tullahoma. Call me if you’re ever going to be in Tullahoma. It’s a pretty neat place in an old mill.
Sunday started out tough, with the first challenge just getting out of bed. It was low to mid 50’s, overcast, and felt pretty cold. My muscles were aching pretty bad. But, the morning greeted everyone with a spectacular sunrise. Once I got warmed up on the ride, things got better for a while. The first 20 or 25 miles (for the long route) started as a gradual downhill for maybe 3 or 4 miles, descending and descending. When you get to the bottom, guess what? You have to ride back up! The climbs were tough, but I pedaled every foot of every hill. After the grueling hills, the route connected back up with the main route and I joined a group of guys riding a pace line. This is where everyone lines up in single file, as close as you can get without crashing into each other. The front guy cuts through the wind doing most of the work, while everyone behind gets an easy ride. Everyone takes their turn at the front to do their share, with about 12 in the pack. We ran about 18mph for about 40 miles – definitely a good way to cover these distances.
Conclusion – the long route is the toughest to finish, but the scenery was beautiful! At the top of the hills were beautiful views of the hills, while the bottoms winded along creeks and rivers. The short ride is flat and easy, suited for just about any kind of bike or rider. So, don’t be afraid to give it a try! You also get to meet a lot of really great people along the way, and feel a great sense of accomplishment at the end. Trust me – anyone can do this if they put their mind to it. 60- and 70-year-old grandparents were out there riding. NMSS provides watering holes (rest areas) about every 10 – 15 miles along the way.
Signed Up for Next Year
I already have a few people that are planning to join me next year. I’m going to try to put a team together. Teams have a huge potential for raising a lot of money for MS. I think our team will be “Techs Gone Wild” or possibly “Urban Assault”. Maybe we’ll attach propellers on the top of our helmets or something, and get custom jerseys printed. It will be up to the team as to which route we ride. Mike Petrous already bought a bike, and is training to ride next year (he was also an extremely generous donor.) If you’re interested in joining the potential team next year, let me know. I know it’s going to be a really great time!
Thanks again for your support!