Originally posted on 303triathlon.com
Team 303 has raised over $15,000 for the National MS Society (and we actually have until September 30th to keep raising money!) Thank you so much for your support!!!
Weather was fantastic as the ten riding members of the team and almost 3000 other participants made our way on our two-wheeled steeds from Front Range Community College in Westminster, CO on Saturday to the Colorado State University campus in Ft. Collins.
This was a very well-supported ride, with people looking out for the riders pretty much everywhere. Motorcycle and vehicle support, medics on bicycles, cheerful volunteers on route at many of the intersections, and aid stations every 10-15 miles. Fortunately for me, most of the aid stations along the way were also stocked with cupcakes. "Where there is cake, there is Nicole." About half-way through the route was a lunch stop with plenty of carbs to keep us fueled. There were individually wrapped sandwiches, couscous salad, chips, cookies, and rice krispie treats. Yum!
As we made our way north in the 303 towards the 970, we were wowed by how the rains that plagued us in May made for stunning fields of green along the front range countryside. The route was absolutely gorgeous and the planners saved us the best part for the end of the ride, where we climbed up and around Horsetooth Reservoir before dropping into Ft. Collins.
To prepare us for the climb, there was an aid station complete with snow cones to cool us off and fuel us with the that wonderful brightly colored sugary syrup. 77 miles were crushed. Some Team 303 opted for the other distances; you could choose a slightly shorter 68 miles, a century or a double metric century.
We rolled across the day 1 finish line and joined the big celebration in the "Team Village" on the CSU campus. The participants and teams got to hang out and enjoy summer in Colorado, relax with a few beverages provided by Left Hand Brewing Co, and refuel with a surprisingly good catered dinner. Team 303 combined tent space and shared snacks and drinks with Team Linda Lou, as we figured the more the merrier!
Sunday started early with the provided breakfast (plenty of carbs to go around!) and the team got rolling for another 67 miles back to where we started. The route began with the climb back over Horsetooth just a few miles in. (That'll wake you up!) Once over that hill, we had a perma-grin descent and a fairly speedy trip back to Westminster, and it is even faster when you let a group of 5 guys pull you along. True to well-supported ride form, more cupcakes were to be found, as well as another amazing lunch stop. (Dana, our wonderful editor of 303triathlon.com, was unfortunately unable to ride, but she did swing by the lunch stop to make sure I was fueled, hydrated, and covered in sunscreen!)
The finish line back in Westminster was packed with cheering and cowbell clanging supporters. More food was to be consumed. And one last cupcake. One Team 303 member commented she was pretty sure that was the first time she had three full meals, all before noon!
On a more serious note about the ride, I thought I would share a little bit about what it means to me. I went through a variety of emotions during the weekend. As I was just diagnosed a year ago, part of me is in disbelief that I am dealing with this because right now I don’t have any limitations. I feel lucky that I don’t have balance problems or issues with heat and fatigue. But I have to live with knowing that could change at any time. It’s definitely a mix of feeling fortunate for not having significant issues and also perhaps some guilt when I see someone who does.
I was part of the I Ride With MS program, which is there so that the ride support knows who might need a little extra help (heat can wreak havoc on someone with MS) and so that other participants can be inspired and motivated. We had special jerseys that we could wear to make it known we are dealing with what they are supporting. There were riders with MS that were just hammering it, but there were others on recumbent bikes or on the back of tandems. Some clearly had mobility issues when they were walking. But what is absolutely fabulous is that they were out there riding. We were riding for ourselves and we were all riding for those with MS who can’t.
I’d like to thank all of Team 303: Dana, Rob, Tom, Khem, Tim, Karen, Marlene, Dottie, Naomi, Joe, Donna, Doug, Scott, and Carey. I know some of you couldn’t make the ride, but you still helped bring money to the cause! Thank you so much for all your support so that we can keep helping those affected by MS, understand more about the disease, and work to find a cure in my lifetime!
More pictures of the event are on our public facebook album.