Saturday, April 05, 2008

MS150 Roundup Ride in Florence Arizona

A big thank you to the kind people who supported me and my fellow riders on the "Prime Time Posse" team that rode in the 150 mile bike ride to benefit Multiple Sclerosis on March 29th and 30th in Florence, AZ!  Our collective team of 60 contributors raised over $3,000!!!

Your generosity was overwhelming and much appreciated by me, my riding partners and the people on whose behalf we rode.   I'll share a little about the ride, some photos and some special conversations that I had during the weekend to provide a little insight to the special nature of this event.

In prior years we have ridden with more people but due the marriage of two of our riders on March 30th and another of our riders attending the wedding, our riding team was cut down to just three people; Jennifer & Alan MacColl and me.  We lacked in numbers but met many wonderful people on the ride from other teams as well as MS staff.   This year's format was different than the last several that left from Lake Pleasant on Saturday and arrived at Parker Dam on Sunday at the California border.  We arrived in Florence, AZ on Friday evening March 28th and stayed in a camper at a very nice little park on the North side of town.  Saturday we started riding at about 7AM and had options of riding 50, 75 or 100+ miles.  Sunday a similar format with options of 25 and 50 miles.  I ended up riding all 150+ miles and except for chapped lips and a tender bum it was a long ride ... but if you like long bike rides at a fast clip with beautiful desert scenery and not many cars it was a great ride.  

On Saturday after I was done riding I received a nice treat (after I showered :-); a massage, a couple glasses of wine and some wonderful conversation with MS volunteers.  I was explaining to them how I have come to know several families afflicted by MS and their stories are very moving and inspirational and that was why I was doing this ... because of them.  It did not occur to me as I was talking to the four volunteers that they were all afflicted with MS or their children were afflicted with MS ... only when I paused did they offer some insight to their own situations ... can't pick up their children because they may drop them, all dishes in the house are now plastic, periodic blindness, no clothes with buttons ... only snaps and zippers, can't feel heat or cold on extremities, and "when I fall down ... I can't get up".  Their comments were in the same conversational tone as if I were describing an irritating little bug bite.  They were so young and all had families.

Saturday evening is the big social get together for all riders.  A big dinner provided by Fazolies is set up and live music entertainment is provided ... not that it is a late night ... we start dinner about 5PM, there are remarks by the MS leadership, a big thank you to the riders and the donors and by 8 or 9PM most people are looking for the pillow to fall asleep!  Sunday is a "short" day of 3-4 hours riding and then a barbeque lunch, saying goodbye to friends and heading home.  It really is a great time to completely get away from everything and to just focus on the event at hand and to be with friends.

So again, thank you!  It was a great time and I would like to encourage all of you if you are interested in a riding next year in Florence, know someone who is interested, or just want to join us on the overnight trip and maybe do a little volunteer support work let me know.  We should be back to full team strength next year but would like to have more riders join us.  We will start putting next years team together in about six months where we can do some team preparation and set up some training rides with a couple cowboy cookouts to go along with our "Prime Time Posse" moniker :-)


Dave Ryan