Two weekends ago I completed my first charity bike ride, the MS150 City to Shore. I was officially on my company’s team, unofficially on a team with friends! I have wanted to do this ride since moving to Philadelphia. You start in Jersey and ride to Ocean City, NJ, it’s supposed to be 75 miles one way, but the course always runs long, plus there was a detour this year, making it 80 miles each way.
Saturday morning I woke up incredibly early and rode through the quiet Philly street to 8th & Market to catch Patco to the start line. Taking the train to the start was really easy, my bike was still tired so she took a nap on the train.
We got to the start early, hung out, took some team photos, and then eventually got into a corral to start. The start is a bit hectic because there are you are riding with people of all abilities. I quickly lost my friends, but I wasn’t by myself and was still surrounded by people. I ended up coming across my friends a few times during the ride, but we kind of all did our own thing and would ride together for a bit and then split up.
And a little over 5 hours later I found myself at the beach! It felt awesome to have just completed what was my longest ride ever! I hung around the finish watching others and then we all grabbed some food and hung out for a bit.
We had booked a hotel a few blocks from the finish line. 5 girls, 5 bikes, 1 cot…it was a little cozy in there. We relaxed for a bit then walked back over to the boardwalk where they were providing a free dinner (!). After dinner we moved on to dinner number 2 with more food from the boardwalk.
We all wanted to do the ride back on Sunday, but were on the fence and decided to wait and see how we felt in the morning. We crashed and got up bright an early feeling pretty good, and ready to take on another 80 miles. We headed back to the boardwalk with our stuff and carbo-loaded with the free breakfast (!). Then walked over to the start to hit the road. The second day is a lot more laid back since less than half of the people do the return trip. You really just start riding and that’s it.
I did ride with my friend Rachael for most of Sunday. We were crushing the ride back, hopping onto some pacelines as they cruised by. We really wanted to push it so we could get back earlier. At one point Rachael got a flat and we pulled off to change it. There are support cars to change flats, but with none in sight and not wanting to waste time we go to work changing it ourselves. In theory I know how to change a flat, but I’ve never done it because Eric is better and more efficient at it. So I surprised myself that I was able to change it without much trouble. A support car came right at the very end, when we were adding air, and we used their pump to get it more PSI in the tire.
Unfortunately we split up a few miles after the flat and I kept riding, mostly by myself. It wasn’t too bad and I kind of enjoyed the alone time, and taking in the scenery. I was getting close to the finish line, only 3 miles away, when I hear the familiar hissing from the tire. I pull over to get started on changing my flat only to see that I blew the sidewall from my tire as well. Crap. I had to wait on a support car to come since I actually needed a tire. They changed my tire quickly and got me back on the road to finish! Crossed the finish line with another 80 miles in the books.
If you have ever had any interest in trying a longer bike ride I would highly recommend the MS150. You do have to raise a minimum amount of money ($300) but they take such good care of you. They have the ride down and provide numerous rest stops and support vehicles along the entire route.