AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/18/08 7:46 p.m.

Scroll to the bottom if you want to get straight to my fundraising page links.

I started writing this when I got home from the 2007 event, saved the incomplete draft, and completely forgot about it for a few months. Worked on it again just before Christmas, then forgot about it again for a few months. So here we are, one month before the 2008 MS 150. I guess this is a good time to complete my 2007 recap. It'll probably be pretty easy to tell what was written immediately post-event and what was pulled from memories almost a year old. Feel free to forward to anyone you think might be interested.

Well, another MS 150 is in the books, and I just wanted to share a brief event recap with you.

On the eve of Day 1, I cleaned the bike, made some final adjustments, packed my bag, and loaded the car. I don't know why I always wait until after the bike shops are closed before I start working, but I didn't break anything so I was confident when I went to bed. I didn't sleep much, though, because all I could think was "How am I going to ride 100 miles tomorrow?" The weather would help answer that question in the morning.

Day 1, pre-ride:
What did Joe Pesci say about the drive-thru in Lethal Weapon? I did not order an Egg McMuffin. In fact, I ordered something that doesn't even sound like Egg McMuffin. Say it with me: Sausage Egg and Cheese McGriddle. Yeah, I know. I wanted one too. And while I'm complaining, who said they could close Beck Road on Saturday morning? I need Beck Road to get to I-96! Oh well, I'll make up this time once I get to the freeway.

So I get to the starting point, drop off my bag and my oscillating fan -- no A/C in the dorms, you know -- strap on the bike shoes and helmet, and meet up with my riding partners to get onto the road. Then I said, "Hey guys, I forgot my sunglasses! Gimme a minute to grab 'em out of my car!" Maybe whatever speech impediment that made Sausage Egg and Cheese McGriddle sound like Egg McMuffin was still affecting me, because what they heard was "Go ahead and I'll catch up later."

Day 1, the ride begins:

So they went on ahead, and I caught up. 2 hours and 30 minutes later, at the lunch stop 40 miles from the start I caught up, only because they had stopped at every rest stop and I was on a no-stop strategy. If I stop for even five minutes, it takes me twenty minutes to get back into my rhythm, so I prefer to carry as much food and water as I can, and only stop when absolutely necessary. I would've slowed them down anyway, so it's just as well that we weren't riding together.

Did I mention the headwind and the cold rain?

About 11 miles after lunch was the split between the 75-mile route and the 100-mile route, commonly known as "the Century loop". Out there by myself on the road, I thought for a moment that nobody would know the difference if I rode 75 or 100. Nobody but me. So I took the long way. Prior to lunch I was averaging 16 mph, but the headwind had really taken its toll on my legs and I was riding very slowly, barely making 12 mph when I approached the first rest stop on the Century loop. As I rode past, I was met with many cheers from the riders and workers at that rest stop. Those little cheers provide quite a lift, and I was able to increase my pace to a solid 17 mph until I was out of their view.

Two miles later, I was caught by a group of four riders. Now, I know I'm not the fastest guy on a bike, and I know this is a "ride" and not a "race", but I really don't like being passed on the road. I asked if I could jump into their group for a tow, and they welcomed me onto the back of their group. I hid in their slipstream for a while and was able to maintain their 18 mph pace without working too hard. Most people think of "the draft" only in terms of auto racing speeds, but it's quite effective even at bicycling speeds, and by staying at the back of their group I was actually able to rest a bit while maintaining a much higher speed than I had been able to muster when riding solo. After about 20 minutes of drafting, I felt strong enough to take a short turn at the front, so I made my way to the front of the group and pulled a nice steady 17.5 mph for about 5 minutes before dropping back. We rotated through the lead position a few more times before reaching the next rest area, where the 75-mile and the 100-mile routes came back together. I saw my original riding partners at this rest stop, but chose to stay with the group of four who had pulled me through the slowest part of my ride. We refilled our bottles, ate some bananas and oranges, and got back in the saddle.

The low temperatures reduced my hydration requirements during the ride, and when we reached the next rest stop I still had plenty of water and Gatorade on board, so I thanked the group of four for saving me on the road, and I kept on riding while they stopped. I saw my original riding partners at this stop, and shouted to them as I rode by but I guess they didn't hear me because they didn't respond. I was able to hold a pretty steady 16 mph average for the next 10 miles, and again I had plenty of water as I passed the last rest stop. The next few miles were pretty uneventful, although I did start passing a lot more people on the road as we neared our goal of East Lansing and the campus of Michigan State University.

As I reached the finish line in front of Brody Hall at MSU (103.1 miles in 6 hours, 40 minutes), I was met with a small round of applause from other bikers, spectators, and volunteers. Again I was surprised by how much of a lift this provided, and I decided that as soon as I had a nice long shower, I would head out and cheer for the rest of the finishers, to give them the same lift that was given to me. So I grabbed my room key, my bag, my fan, and my bike, and made my way up the stairs(!) to the third floor of the dorm that would be my home for the night. I never lived in a dorm when I was in college, but I spent plenty of time hanging out there. I don't believe they've changed a bit in the last 20 years.

So I got cleaned up, wandered outside, laid down on the grass in a nice shady spot under a big tree, and cheered for people as they crossed the finish line. After about 30 minutes, the people closer to the finish line went crazy with applause, and I jumped up (more like "grabbed the tree trunk and pulled myself to a semi-vertical position") to see what was going on. They were cheering for a guy who rode the century on a three-wheeler, pedaling only with his left leg and steering / shifting / braking only with his left hand, as a stroke many years ago left him paralyzed on the right side of his body. I thought about that scene quite a bit for the rest of the weekend, and it has kept me motivated on more than one occasion since.

Day 2 -- How I remember it five months later:

I slept like a rock, woke up to a fabulous breakfast, jumped onto the bike, and rode the 103.1 miles at a blistering pace. I can't wait to do this again next year!

Day 2 -- How it really was:

I wake from what was not a very restful night, contemplating the differences between a fan and an air conditioner. My neck and back are killing me from that horrible mattress. Dining hall scrambled eggs! What? We've got to get our bags onto the truck in the next five minutes or carry them on the bikes? Who stole the padding from my saddle? I don't remember it feeling so hard yesterday. It must be a hundred degrees out here! (waah waah waah etc).

Once again, I skipped the rest stops unless my bottles were empty, and I completed my second century in 6 hours, 20 minutes. It didn't feel like a downhill ride, but I guess the elevation in Fenton is lower than in East Lansing. As on the day before, the occasional cheer helped me keep the pedals spinning, and I was met at the finish line by my wonderful wife Victoria and my daughters Sarah (5-1/2) and Helen (2). Sarah held a homemade poster with the words "My Dad is My Hero", and I immediately felt like I could ride another 50 miles. But I'm sure glad I didn't have to.

So here we are, four weeks out from the 2008 event, and I just completed my registration last night. Thanks to your contributions in '07, I was able to raise over $1,300 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I hope you feel this cause is worthy of your support in '08. All contributions, no matter how large or small, are greatly appreciated. As most of you know, I'm riding for my brother Frank. This year, I've completed a mechanical restoration on his mid-'70s Mirella (a top-shelf Italian road bike) and will be riding it in the MS 150. Once again, I intend to take the century option each day. Donations may be made online at the following URL:

AngryCorvair's MS Fundraiser Page

or you can search for me by name (Patrick Caherty) by following the instructions at:

search for participant patrick caherty

or you can use the good old Post Office to send contributions. PM me and I'll send you my snail address.

Thanks in advance, PC

RXBeetle Reader
6/18/08 10:19 p.m.

man that kicks tons of ass! Sounds like a really rewarding experience. I ride single track mostly and on occasion ride part of the clinton river trail. A buddy built a commuter bike an I chased him one day from Rochester to Romeo (stop for some Dairy Queen) and back, me on my mountain bike...) That was my first real experience with drafting on a bike. We switched off leading each mile road and were able to maintain 19mph all the way back to Rochester (~12 miles). I really like bashing through the woods but the road riding mind game is addictive, I can't keep my eyes off the computer. I'll see what I can do for ya for this years ride and see if some of my other riding buddies can help too. Ride on!

Wally GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/19/08 11:46 a.m.

Bump for a good cause,

And for Pat, the new improved I kissed a girl:

confuZion3 UltraDork
6/19/08 12:53 p.m.

Super-bump: also for a good cause.

I aspire to be able to ride like that some day. Charity is a wonderful motivator and it helps so many. I hope with proper funding, diseases like MS, Parkinsons, and others can be wiped out of existence.

Good luck!

gamby UltimaDork
6/19/08 10:33 p.m.

Donated what I could.

Unfortunately, this cause looks like it will be hitting close to home in the near future. :(

Good luck on the ride. I have a feeling I'll be doing one in the future.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/20/08 1:09 p.m.

Wally wins again. That's way better than Jill Sobule.

Gamby, thanks for the support! I hope your "closer to home" diagnosis goes well.

RXBeetle, 19mph on a MtBike is humping it pretty good. The draft is cool indeed.

ConfuZion3, thanks for the kind words. I shall do my best.

I haven't ridden since Tuesday, because I donated blood Wednesday afternoon. Tomorrow morning I'm going to try to knock out ~50, but I'm not sure I've got enough red blood cells yet. The last time I rode within 3 days of a blood donation, my heart hit 202 bpm and I thought I was going to die. And that was on the first climb of a 12-mile trail in West By God Virginia.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/22/08 6:39 p.m.

Just using my editor privileges to bump this up since it's for a good cause.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/23/08 12:16 p.m.

Thanks for the bump, DSW.

My Saturday morning ride kicked ass. We don't really have hills here, but I did attack every rise and concentrated on spinning rather than stomping the pedals everywhere else. One result is that my legs hurt differently than they usually do. Another result is that I shaved five minutes off of my 40-mile pace. 2:15 on Saturday versus a 2:20 previous best. I'm feeling pretty good, have lost a few pounds, and when I donated blood my resting heartrate was 52bpm (down from typical 60 - 64) and my BP was 98 / 60 (down from 110 / 70).

Less than three weeks out now. So far, so good.

triumph7 Reader
6/23/08 8:27 p.m.

Good luck Pat, our Bike MS is the same weekend.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/23/08 10:37 p.m.
triumph7 wrote: Good luck Pat, our Bike MS is the same weekend.

Thanks, and good luck to you too. One day I'll ride somewhere with hills!

triumph7 Reader
6/24/08 7:30 a.m.
AngryCorvair wrote:
triumph7 wrote: Good luck Pat, our Bike MS is the same weekend.
Thanks, and good luck to you too. One day I'll ride somewhere with hills!

Try the Tour de Cure in northern KY, unlike you I don't like hills and didn't go back. Actually, thats not 100% true... I like the downhill parts. There's one coming out of Oxford, OH that I get about 46 mph.

johnhaag New Reader
6/29/08 3:49 p.m.

I just donated. Best of luck!


AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/30/08 1:39 p.m.

thanks John! now i know how you know.

i put in 62 miles on saturday morning, in 3 hours 30 minutes. got caught about 20 miles from home in big rainstorm. you know that nasty mist of road-skank that cars kick up that we wash away with our windshield washers? yeah, on a bike that's pretty unpleasant. in the eyes, nose, mouth, ass-crack, shoes. yuck. it also killed my cell phone, because i didn't have it in a zip-lok bag.

but i did 62 miles at a decent pace and didn't die, so i think i'm in pretty good shape for being two weeks out from the event.

donalson PowerDork
7/6/08 5:17 p.m.

that should have been this weekend right? how'd it go?... my aunt is in a home now thanks to MS... she was an athlete in HS... like most MS stories it's a pretty sad one :(

triumph7 Reader
7/7/08 4:39 p.m.

Not to hijack this thread but read a little farther and you'll see why I'm jumping in here. This weekend, July 12th and 13th, I'll be riding in the 2008 MS Bike Tour in Cincinnati while Pat is riding up North. This is my 5th tour in the 6 years since my wife was diagnosed with the disease. Now today we have a unique opportunity, a local business, Direct Buy Cincinnati, is offering to match any online donation... dollar for dollar! Just click the link below and accept my thanks for helping us move towards a world without MS.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/11/08 10:34 p.m.

it's 11:30PM Friday 11 Jul. The bag is packed and the car is loaded. Tomorrow at 6:15AM I'll hit the road to the starting line. This year's route is slightly different than last year, so the century is really only 98.9 miles. I'll ride an extra 1.1 each way so I really earn my century pins.

Once again, I'd like to thank everyone who stepped up with a contribution. I hoped to beat my fundraising total from last year ($1310 iirc) and thanks to the kindness of my contributors I've racked up over $1700 so far. Donation deadline isn't until August 10th or thereabouts, so you can contribute after you read my post-ride summary if you'd like to.

I'm a little apprehensive, as my training this year really sucked. I don't even have 400 miles in the saddle this year. It will be an interesting weekend.

Some of my coworkers came up with an incentive plan for me. If I match last year's total time, I get their minimum contribution ($150). If I take one hour off last year's time, I get their maximum contribution ($500). There are "bonus times" somewhere between those two extremes where I also get maximum contribution, but I don't know what those times are. They are a cruel bunch.

Wish me luck. I'll need it.

MitchellC UberDork
7/12/08 1:23 a.m.

Good luck! I have been riding a bit more lately... my rides feel a bit paltry in comparison, though.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/14/08 10:31 a.m.

well, it's monday morning and i'm at work, so i did survive the 200-mile weekend. i can summarize the ride with two simple words:

Saddle sores.

imagine a deep-tissue bruise with carpet burn on top. now, imagine having one of them on each side of your bunghole. It's not sweet at all.

Next year, I'm going back to clipless pedals and the grandma saddle.

triumph7 Reader
7/14/08 3:10 p.m.

Congrats Pat. My Saturday ride was great except for a sudden downpour out on the 75 mile loop. A lot stronger than I expected being about 400 mile shorter on training this year over last. Sunday was another story, as soon as I got on the bike I could feel in my left knee that I stretched too hard after the Sat ride. So I nursed it to the 1st rest stop and worked on it a little and again at the next, it kept getting better but I just did the 50 mile option. No saddle sores here though. Bottom line, we raised $3540 for the MS Society.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/14/08 4:51 p.m.

Good work Allen! You raised almost 2x what I did.

We had rain for about an hour on Saturday, just enough to make drafting a sloppy mess. I tried it for a few minutes but got tired of the water from the bike in front of me being thrown up in my face.

On Sunday, just after the lunch stop (approx 35 miles from the finish), I totally hit the wall. I spent about 45 minutes struggling to maintain 9mph. I was really discouraged and actually had one foot off my pedals and was ready to take an unauthorized rest. Then I thought "How do I explain this to my kids?" And I kept going. Still only 9mph, but with a healthier outlook. And I made it to the finish, just like I would expect of my children.

FWIW, I'm done "proving things" and I might just do the 150 next year.

Mental Mod Squad
7/14/08 8:10 p.m.
AngryCorvair wrote: ... "How do I explain this to my kids?" And I kept going...

If more peaple though like that, this would be a much better world. Good show P

triumph7 Reader
7/15/08 11:54 a.m.

Worst part in the rain was having to stop and try to dry the inside of my sunglasses with a wet jersey (no, it doesn't work).

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