Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thank you all for the MS contributions in 2008 and 2009

I'm very late in doing my thanks to all the people that contributed money to the Multiple Sclerosis society in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, I raised, with your help, $12,633 and the event raised over $1.62 million with over 2,000 riders; I rode the 175 miles in September 2008; it was beautiful cool weather and I rode well. Normally I send a thanks letter in November once all of the funds have been tallied.

Little did I realize that my life was going to get significantly more complicated. You can read details in blogs entries after November 2008, Ann's mother contracted Leukemia and died, my father died from prostate cancer, and my mom had heart surgery for a replacement valve and then had a stroke. She's doing much better now, but has moved out of their house and into a senior living apartment. Both parent's houses sold in less than 4 months on the market. dealing with parents consumed much of 2009 and I am quite glad to put it behind me. I put on a bit of weight in 2009 and was not in shape for biking. So last year, I volunteered to work the ride as a SAG driver, helping people replace tires, ferrying people who were sick or had mechanical issues and the like. It was a rewarding experience: the look of thanks you receive when you pull your car up behind a person who has never replaced a tube before or has used all the tubes they had or whose pump broke is priceless. Below is a set of pictures of people who I helped during the two day period. And I put over 700 miles on the car during that weekend.

A few people bear special mention, as they made the trip special. What I had not realized when I signed up for this is that most problems seem to happen in the first 20 miles of the ride. This was true both days, but especially the first. Saturday was a cloudy misty San Francisco morning. The event started at the UCSF campus just south of AT&T park. But I had not idea of the bonus, which was a large pile of metal shavings that had been dumped on the road.

My first encounter with this was with two people who started late and then had a flat tire 2000 feet into the ride. I found the metal shaving in the tire, pulled that out and replaced the tube; I wish that I'd remembered needle-nose pliers. He was very grateful, as the route was somewhat deserted at that time.

The second rider I encountered had a flat on the first major climb up route 1 in Marin. I helped in replace the tube, but we did not find the offending tire-popper.

But I found him again 12 miles later. The good news is that he found the problem with the tire: a bit of metal popped tubes AND shredded the tire. As I had no spare tires, only tubes, I gave him a ride to the next rest stop to the bike repair shop.

In between the first stop with the man in the red/white jersey and the second encounter, I picked up a person with a broken derailleur: it was stuck on large ring. He wanted to ride as much as he could so I ferried him to the top of the first major climb on route 1 in Marin. He rode to the rest stop in Stinson beach, waited an hour for a replacement bike to arrive and then rode the rest of the hundred mile route. He was very dedicated to doing the full hundred miles. Even though he finished around 6:00 PM as the last rider, he rode all but the 1/2 mile I helped him. He was a very dedicated person, riding for a friend who had MS.

With your help, I raised $3,405 last year. The event raised $1.83 million to help people with MS in Northern California with direct programs and by funding research. Over 2,000 people rode, and you have a small sample of them.

Thanks again for making this possible for me and for helping people fight Multiple Sclerosis.

Below are pictures of some of the other happy friendly riders that I helped over the course of those two days.


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