The weekend of October 21-22 included a trip to Santa Barbara for me. I participated in my fifth MS 150 Bike Tour in California. The more I ride the more humbled I am by those who ride with me. This year was no exception.
I've ridden since 2003 with the "Rockin' Jalapenos" a group of friends I connected with at the Palm Springs Challenge that year. As head Jalapeno Arvin Torio said, "we would stop at the rest stops and he (me) would be there every time...it was like he was stalking us!" Thanks for not getting a restraining order on me, Arvin. I've ridden three tours with the Peppers, but this was our first Santa Barbara ride, defecting from the Orange County/San Diego Bay to Bay after two rounds.
The route was much more difficult this time, with major climbs both days, something lacking in the OC ride. It's a fledgling effort, marking a comeback for the LA Chapter after two years out of the MS 150 business. The volunteers were energetic and resourceful (PB & honey sandwiches at day two's big stop). And there will be growing pains, but the tour was overall a qualified success.
The Peppers had an additional advantage over the other riders, though. We had THREE SAG vehicles. Two hubbies and a brother of riders provided motor support to our team (in addition to illegal traffic control and much in the way of action photos). That was huge.
At the end of each day, Santa Barbara Body Works volunteered for hazardous duty and provided sports massage services post-ride. I say hazardous becuase normally when I go to the spa for a massage, I'm recently showered and clean. After 75 miles, we were all a little gamey...but they gave us the rubdown regardless. Kudos to SBBW.
The highlight of the ride for me had to be having the honor of riding with Jennica on our team. She was diagnosed with MS recently, and, due to support and programs from the MS Society, has been able to find hope and support. I only pray we augmented the resources she's already benefitted from. I was definitely inspired riding with her. It put life and all of this into perspective. An interesting happened to me at church on Sunday, too. A man mentioned that his daughter's sister-in-law was diagnosed on 10/27 with MS. I was grateful to be able to know enough to give him some info as to who to contact, what resources the NMSS provides, etc.
I'll try to post other links to the photos for the ride. I can't wait to go do it all again next year.