Sunday, April 29, 2012

To Hell and Back

Its April 21, 2009 I’m standing in Austin Texas waiting for Smug Git and Gus the perfect son to come through the finish line of their first MS150, there are crowds of people everywhere clapping and cheering for their friends and family members as they cross the finish line.  Just then I see Gus and Smug Git and I’m so, so proud of them. It was at that point I said to myself I am going to do this one day. I will ride across that finish line on my bike but at that point it really was just a dream, a wish, a pie in the sky idea. 

Today April 29, 2012 I’m about to write my last MS150 blog and let you all know I did it! I rode every mile every hill and through that finish line in Austin and I have to tell you it was the best feeling!  But let me go back to the beginning.

Saturday April 21, 2012. The big day has finally arrived. I’ve done all the training I could possibly do, I have the bike, helmet, shorts, shoes, bandanas, food, water and sun cream.  Have I left anything out? Besides Smug git No I think I’m good to go.  So why do I feel like I could burst into tears at any moment I’m having a hard time talking, hell I’m actually having a pretty hard time breathing at this point. I’m struggling to keep it all together and get out the bathroom. Smug Git, Leanne and Amanda (who is driving us up to the start) are all waiting on me. OK, deep breath, wash my face and go out.

Leanne looks nervous but is holding it together. Smug Git is making the breakfast cool as a cucumber, well what do you expect he is Smug Git after all.  Amanda… Well, what can I say about Amanda? She on the other hand is beside herself with excitement cheering us all on, dancing and shouting “go izzi go” so then I start laughing but it’s that stupid nervous laugh and if I stop I’m liable to start crying again. Who’s bloody stupid idea was this?  I try my best to eat my breakfast of champions; bread roll, bacon (real British bacon not the fatty American stuff) and a fried egg. Delicious! However this morning I feel like I’m eating razor blades it doesn’t matter how much brown sauce I put on it it’s still hard to eat.  Ok I have had enough of this lets get going. We get everything in the car and head off.  Oh god I feel sick again, we head up to Waller, our starting point and to give Amanda her dues she has us all in stiches! Every time she passes a car with bikes on it she is screaming out the car window and waving like some kind of crazy person! The people in the other cars are just speeding away past her.  We get to our meeting point and all get out the car. Amanda, now known as “Crazy Camera Lady”, is at it again.  “Come on ladies are you not excited?’
Me “yes”

Crazy Camera Lady “Really? You could have fooled me”

Then she goes away to another group that has arrived and starts to take pictures of them.

To be fair I’m not sure I would have got on that bike if Amanda (Crazy Camera Lady) was not there to take my mind off of it. She was brill and has us laughing and singing and by the time we got on our bikes and left we were just glad to get rid of her (just kidding hon I love you, you kept me together, I owe you big time!).

Our little starting team
And we’re off! Austin here I come. If truth be told I have that funny feeling in my tummy as I’m writing this it’s kinda cool.  As you all know the Saturday was very windy but I was so excited at first I never even noticed it. I just got my head down and started cycling and before I knew it we were at the first rest stop and then lunch. Lunch was organized like a well-oiled machine, the food was great just what I needed and we got two Bluebell ice cream sandwiches (worth doing the ride just for that I think) then back on the bike.  I had just left the lunch break and was back on the road when over to my right I notice some blue and pink t-shirts shouting and screaming and it was my mum, Lesley and Roy McQuade! Oh my god I nearly fell off the bike. What a surprise, but me being me I was so shocked I did not even stop the bike I  just kept riding (seriously would Lance have stopped?) Which was probably a good thing I might have went back home with them. I was so happy to see them I think I may have peddled a wee bit faster after that… Well that would have been till the wind started blowing in my face and I was cycling up this one hill at 3mph. I could have got off and walked up faster only I could not clip out the bloody peddles.

A couple of rest stops later in a little town called Industry there they were again, can this get any better? Why yes it could I could actually get off at the rest stop and give them all a hug. NOW that was awesome. And just as we were about to leave Beth, my friend who has MS, was right there with her whole family; Billy, Charlotte, Kimberley, Andy and beautiful baby Bethany. You guys rock! I have the best family and friends it was so good to see them all. The ride to the next stop went by in a blur thanks to y’all.

By this point I was still feeling pretty good. We were coming up on a small town called Fayetteville, TX. Everyone who lived in the town was out on the streets, they had bubble machines, flags and bands playing. When you cycled passed they shouted out their thanks and offered you  food and drinks. It was amazing! If you ever get the chance to go out for a drive - go there its beautiful.  All along the route on Saturday there were sights to be seen like the guy who had his digger out on the side of the road with the bucket filled with ice and free beers or another guy offering free oranges or beer! That made me laugh who would possibly want an orange, really? I really wanted a beer but you know me I would not have got back on the bike.  We finally get to the second to last rest stop to the best news ever we only have 8 more miles of winds and the last 7 miles the wind will be at out back. With that being said we quickly did what we had to do I’ll leave the gross stuff out but will let my girls out there know the Hoo-Ha cream worked a treat and I may be able to find a few other uses for it off the bike (another blog another time). Right, back on the bikes and right enough the wind was bad. Smug Git did let me draft from him so that made it so much better for me then we turned the corner and as promised the wind was at our back and the last 7 miles was literally a breeze. We crossed the finish line at La Grange at around 4:30 there were hundreds of people there cheering us through I was so happy day one DONE!

Now off for a shower, food and an early night then I get to do it all again tomorrow. 

Sunday April 22, 2012, Day two. The lights go on in the tent at 6:00am and somewhere outside I can hear what sounds like a disco and I realize that it’s the organizers getting everyone up and ready for the day.  Well I am freezing and I don’t want to move from my sleeping bag. Everyone in the tent is busy getting organized packing up all their gear, moving their bikes god knows where but bikes are leaving the tents with guys in pj’s.  I just put my head back under the covers and wait till Smug Git says the magic words “breakfast is here”. Well I bounce out of that bag, ok, bounce not so much, hobble I’d say was a better verb. I get to the breakfast burritos and I’m not sure how many I can have but I take two and pretend to the people round me one is for Smug Git. I go back to my bed and Smug Git looks at my burritos and I’m like “Get your own!”. I scoff down my breakfast, I know what’s ahead of me today and I know what kind of food is at the rest stops and there are only so many pretzels and gummy bear’s one woman can eat. Oh and after the burritos I remember I made a PB&J sandwich last night and hid it in my bag to have later but fell asleep. I grab that out and start devouring that as well. I just swallow the last bit and then it hits me I’m going to have to use the big blue port-a-potty. Oh shit! Literally! Ok well I’ll just have to worry about that later.  I finally have to get ready to go.
Day 2 Starting Line - Holy Shit so many riders!

I get all my gear on and we head out to the start line. Now this is my least favorite place I’m so worried about the crowd’s and I kid you not there are thousands of riders. It looks spectacular but once again I’m a wreck.  We are heading up to take our turn to start and it’s time to go….. But I can’t get on the bike, I just can’t do it. Nothing I try works. I’m just about to have a complete melt down and I can’t find Smug Git to shout at him and then out of the crowd comes a ride marshal and he says to me “Ma-am do you need some help?”

Me “yes please”

He stops the ride and helps me on my bike and gives me a wee push off.  My Hero! And then I’m crying… Oh so this is how today is going to go I just know it.

There are thousands of riders so it was hard for me for the first five miles till we spread out a bit then I was able to do my own thing. We get to the second rest stop and there is this DJ and she is getting all the riders up to dance and give me a good song and I’ll dance anywhere. So a toilet break, something to eat and a line dance was all I needed to get me back on my way.  The only way I can get through this today is by resetting my bike computer to zero so I know how far it is to the next break and up to now it’s working well.  I always knew the second day would be the hardest day. It has all the hills and for me knowing I had to do it all again was a huge challenge but no matter what, I was going to do this. We got to the lunch break and all that breakfast had finally caught up with me but the lines for the toilets were crazy but what can you do? You just have to squeeze your butt cheeks together and wait in line with everyone else but ohhh the relief when I was done… Why, I think I can finish the ride now…

At lunch I met this fabulous older lady and while we chatted over lunch she told me how this ride would empower us women and that if we could do this we could do anything and that it would change our lives, and you know what I know she’s right I just wish I had got her name. Thanks lovely lady.

I think at this point we only have about 30 miles left but I am starting to struggle big time. Our next stop is about 12 miles away and I’m sure I will need a stop in between. We set off and as expected around 7 miles we break for about 10 minutes then on to the second last rest stop. Oh there was a woman there with a hose pipe and she was sprinkling riders with cold water as they walked passed. It was heaven, helmet off and face right in it. Oh my god how much did I need that? We are just getting ready to leave when this ass tells us just 8 miles to go oh and by the way it’s the toughest 8 miles of the ride I wanted to go over and punch his face in if I could actually have walked and threw a good punch I might have tried.  I told Smug Git I might have to do it in 2 mile increments and he said “Listen honey you do it whatever way you can” God I love that man! Ok here goes last 8 miles. In the distance all I can see are the ups and down of hills. We start on and I work as hard as I can. We stop after about 3 miles to change into our YizziY t-shirts. I am so exhausted I don’t even care about where I take of the old biking jersey I just pull it off and put on the new one then Smug Git tells me to hurry or something and I lose the plot with him and I’m calling him patronizing and other nice wife stuff then I look at him and he’s holding my bike, helmet and old sweaty t-shirt… Well, I’m sorry but I was mad. Ok this is it! Get me to the finish line I’ve had enough I’m done. I get back on and peddle my heart out then I can hear the music blaring. I turn the corner and I can hear the crowds cheering and I look up and I can see the words FINISH LINE I look to my left and the first face I see is Callum (Greek Adonis) then Gus (perfect son), my Mum, Amanda and Lesley are all there and a little ways up Alison and Iain.  I just did it I can’t quite believe it myself but I DID IT!

Woo-Hoo The End!

Not so Serious bit. Smug Git and his Sad Facts

First things first. You can't imagine how proud I am of Izzi, but before I talk about her achievements I would like to thank all the friends and family who supported us through this, especially those who came to Austin to cheer us through the finish line. I'd also like to call out Callum and Gus who are still suffering from Saturday morning abandonment issues!

So as I said you have no idea how proud I am of Izzi. Seeing her cross the finish line is something that I will remember for ever. Being with her through this is something that money could not buy, we spent some great mornings together, as Izzi has said before Texas is a beautiful place and there are very few things better than cycling through the hill country together... As you can imagine there were some challenging times as well, but working through those has brought us closer together and given us much to laugh about later (much, much later!)

When she first said that she was going to sign up for this, i must admit that I just ignored it. Another spur of the moment flippant comment which I thought would be forgotten by morning. One week later Izzi was watching over me as I signed up on the website. At that point I knew this was going to be an 'interesting' 6 months or so. As regular followers know I bought Izzi her first bike for her 30thbirthday, while it was used occasionally it spent more time gathering dust than it did out on the road. I tried to work out how many miles or how much time she had spent on a bike before we started this madness and honestly i don't think she had ridden more than 20 or 30 miles. So discounting that Izzi was a total novice coming into this.

It was a beautiful evening in October when we took the Shiny New Bike out and Izzi wobbled round the Hassler parking lot and we found that the parking lot was .2 of a mile round. 5 loops later and Izzi had ridden her first mile! Over the next few days and weeks Izzi would loop that parking lot 70 or so times before she gained enough confidence to go out in the neighborhood with the Don and I and she clocked up her first real ride; Just over 10 miles in a little over an hour. Steve passed on his wisdom by telling her that "It's all about the tits". Tits of course stands for Time In The Saddle (y'all can drag your minds out of the gutter now).

25 weeks later Izzi completed the MS150 and I am so proud of her. It was not an easy first day and being a novice makes those second day hills very very challenging. Honey – Well done! Seriously you are amazing!

Ok enough mush - So what about these stats I hear you ask! Well here we go...

Our MS150 ride was 141 miles which we completed with a ride time of 12hours. We averaged 11.5 mph, climbed 4379 feet and burned 6000calories (ish). A pretty damn respectable ride!

But how far did Izzi cycle since October?

She cycled over 1100 miles which works out to be Houston to Austin over 7 times, Houston to Denver once or for our British readers Land's End to John O'Groats 1.25 times or Glasgow to Balatonfured, Hungary (you gotta love Google :) and no I don't know where it is just look it up people)

Izzi, as you know, disliked hills however she did manage to climb over14,000 ft. Which works out to be almost 5 "Munroe's", or higher than Pike's Peak. I think you earned that pack of Tudor crisps honey!

Ok and what about the tits? well she managed 100 hours or just over 5 days in the saddle which brings tears to the eyes just thinking about it.

Oh and for all you calorie counters out there (and this is a real rough calculation) Izzi burned approximately 35,000 calories or about132 Milky Way bars (Mars bars for our UK friends)

Normal service will now resume and hopefully Izzi won't have lost too many readers after this drivel.

Yours, Smugly,

Friday, April 20, 2012

Serious bit

Well, it’s Friday night and to say I’m excited would be an understatement! I’m beside myself! It has all come down to this. Whenever anyone has asked me today how I’m feeling I’ve said the same thing. “I’ve done all the training that I can and if I’m not ready now I never will be” so that being said fingers crossed and I’ll see what happens tomorrow.

I guess I can’t say much tonight so I’m going to save it all for next week but what I have done is ask Beth and Graham the two people Smug Git, Steve (the Don) and I are riding for to send me some information on how MS has affected their lives and you can see how far all your wonderful donations will go.
This is what Beth sent me.

Many thanks to Izzi, Iain and the thousands of cyclists taking part in the BP MS 150 next April.

I am touched by Izzi’s offer to do this long and grueling bike ride on my behalf. (I expect to be buying her ‘a drink’ for the rest of our lives!) For all of you who know Izzi, (or have been following her recent blog) you’ll understand what a great challenge this is for her.

I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August 2004, whilst still living in Scotland. Scotland has one of the highest rates of MS ‘sufferers’ in the world.
I had been working full time as a Learning Support Assistant in my local secondary school when I was diagnosed. My original symptoms were drop-foot and numbness on the left side of my face and in my left hand.

For the medical professionals to diagnosis the condition of Multiple Sclerosis one has to have a MRI of the brain together with a Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap) and a ‘sit down’ with a Neurologist.

It is believed that my form of MS is Relapsing/Remitting MS.

Having moved to the US within a year of my diagnosis, I started interferon treatment in December 2006. This involves 3 injections a week as well as tablet form medication to help with my fatigue, bladder/bowel control and, at times, depression. Despite suffering from heat sensitivity, I love living in Texas and waking up to the sunshine almost every morning……..a very rare happening in Scotland!

MS presents itself in many different ways and it would seem, no two patients are the same! This is what makes treatment for the disease so difficult. I consider myself to be one of the fortunate ones as I am able to lead a fairly ‘normal’ life. Although I was once pretty athletic and took part in most sporting activities, I am now unable to do so. I am unable to run but can walk pretty quickly, if needed. My balance isn’t the best but as long as I ‘know my limits’ I can get about fairly easily. I am still able to support my Scottish and English football teams, (Glasgow) Rangers and Arsenal!

It is believed that there are 5 stages of Multiple Sclerosis:

Benign MS
Approximately, 20% of MS ‘sufferers’ have Benign MS. After one or two attacks with complete recovery and without any disability, this form or stage of MS does not worsen with time and there is no permanent disability or disease progression.

Relapsing/Remitting MS
Approximately, 25% of MS ‘sufferers’ have Relapsing/Remitting MS. In this form or stage of MS there are sporadic attacks (exacerbations, relapses), during which new symptoms appear and/or existing ones become more severe. They can last for varying periods (days or months) and are followed by partial or total recovery and remission.

Secondary/Progressive MS
Approximately, 40% of MS ‘sufferers’ have Secondary/Progressive MS. Individuals who initially had Relapsing MS (clear-cut attacks and remissions), over time (10 - 15 yrs) the disease pattern changes, evolving into the Progressive stage. Recovery from attacks become less and less complete, deficits increase and disability grows.

Primary/Progressive MS
Approximately, 12% of MS ‘sufferers’ have Primary/Progressive MS. This form of MS is characterized by a slow steady onset, usually beginning with walking difficulties; steadily worsening motor dysfunctions and increased disability, but with a total lack of distinct inflammatory attacks.

Progressive/Relapsing MS
Approximately, 3% of MS ‘sufferers’ have Progressive/Relapsing MS. This subtype of Progressive MS is more complex; although its overall course mirrors P/P MS in terms of disability, it differs. It includes periods of acute exacerbations that look like Relapsing MS either early on or after many years have elapsed, but lost functions never return.

Progressive/Relapsing is the most dreaded MS form; it was known as Marburg MS and demonstrates the need for protracted steroid therapy, with a high mortality rate.

Thank you!

Here is an email we received from Grahams mum.

Dear Izzi and Iain,

I am writing to thank you very much indeed for once again supporting Graham in the MS Sponsored Cycle. Alison tells us that this year Iain is wearing a bandanna for Graham and it means so much to us all to have your support in America.

Graham was diagnosed with MS on 1 October 1998 and is now totally physically incapacitated. He has carers in 5 times a day and they are so good with him. He still has a very sharp mind and wicked sense of humour and remains remarkably cheerful which helps us all to cope.

We are so grateful to you and wish you both a successful, accident-free run. We shall be thinking of you. Have fun.

With love and thanks from Catherine and Adam xx

All that is left for me to say after that is night, night and tomorrow I will literally be riding my butt off (I hope). However knowing me I’ll be the only one who can ride 150 and gain 4 pounds.

And it’s still not too late if you want to donate.

Here is my link

Thanks for reading see y’all next week when you get to read all about it, can’t wait!… love Iz

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The beer that broke the camel's back

I know my recent blogs have not been laugh a minute what with all the intense dieting, grueling miles and hills I’ve had to endure and not to mention the copious amounts of tears and vomit but I’m happy to say most of you have hung in there with me (I hope). Given that y’all are still here I thought I would share a couple of funny things that happened this week.

As you know if you read my blog last week my parents arrived here on holiday now I could fill a blog just about them but given that I only have 2 or 3 MS150 blogs left I think I will save that wee chestnut till after the ride. Plus they can read it from a safe distance away from me, 4000 miles being a safe enough distance away! But to get you in the mood here is a wee taster of a blog to come to a computer screen near you.

Monday was my 48th birthday so I thought I would invite a couple of our Scottish friends over (to make my mum and dad feel at home) for a wee bite to eat. I got up really early to start preparing food AND to make my own birthday cake. I have made so many cakes this year and up to now have not eaten any so I was going to make my own and enjoy it! About 2 o’clock Amanda and her husband Alan arrive and Amanda gives my mother a gift, wait is it not my birthday?

My mother opens the gift and lets out this little scream.

Mother “Oh my god! This is the BEST gift I have ever got!

I look over.

Me “What?”

Mother “Oh this is the best gift I ever got!”

Me “Seriously, that’s the BEST gift you ever got?”

Mother just laughs

Me “No seriously BEST gift ever?”

Mother laughs again

Me “Wait, we flew you and my dad over here and that’s the BEST gift ever”

Mother “What? It’s a John Wayne mug?”

Me “eh… can somebody pour me a large drink!”

And that ladies and gentlemen is just a taster there’s plenty more where that came from.

So far this week I have done a little bit of riding and a big bit of eating. I’m putting it down to emotional eating and believe me I’m an emotional wreck but again that’s for another blog. I’ve been trying to catch up on some well needed sleep but try as I might I cannot sleep in late in the morning which brings me nicely on to the second funny thing that happened this week.

The damaged cat – I know y’all have seen the Facebook picture about the dog’s great life and the poor, poor cat who is being held in captivity well the damaged cat (who obviously has Stockholm syndrome because he is allowed out but keeps returning to captivity every morning) is meowing to get in at 6:00am the other morning, I open the door but he’s nowhere to be seen but I can hear him. I look around and he’s there lying on the other side of the gate, obviously can’t be arsed to jump over the gate and just meowing till I open it. When I open it he just looks at me and walks straight past me to the laundry room where his food is and starts eating. A wee while later he starts meowing again, so again I get up to let him out but instead of walking to the back door he goes towards the laundry room. I’m thinking that’s funny maybe there’s no water and he need a drink. I get to the laundry room and he’s just standing there looking at a big pile of cat vomit like ok lady clean that up! I can just hear him thinking (lady look I’d do this myself but I have no opposable thumbs) so I clean up the vomit and then he just heads to the back door where I can resume my duties as cat captor although I wonder who owns who?

I hope that has put a smile on your faces and made this blog a bit funnier than my recent ones. Now back to the serious bike riding stuff. After my great bike ride last week I was thinking that would be my last long ride before the big day however there is one ride left in the training series but it is back where I had my horrible ride I now feel like it’s my nemesis and as the week has gone on while I really don’t want to ride it, I feel like if I don’t I will have not completed the whole training and what if I could not complete the MS150? Would I always think… if only I had done that last ride? I don’t think I could cope with that so with all that in mind I’m going to do the penultimate ride tomorrow morning. 43 miles with apparently 3 big hills, the weather forecast is for a lovely but windy day and I’ll fill you all in on how it went on Sunday.

Well folks it is Sunday morning and the last of the training rides is done! It was a bloody hard ride and I’ll give you “just 3 hills”! Well I guess there were 3 hard hill but lots of wee rolling hills and the wind was not good. I’ve ridden in the wind before but this was not head on it was blowing at the sides and at about 20 miles an hour so depending on what part of the ride you were on it was hitting you at every angle. After the second and final rest stop of the day I could see the final hill coming in the distance and I knew this was going to be a tough one but just as I start to climb this truck just ahead of me coming in the other direction drops a cooler and everything falls out ice, sodas and BEER! What the hell! That was just enough to throw me off my stride (obviously the thought of all those beers going to waste) and then I could not recover and I had to get off the bike and walk up the rest of the hill but not before I have a wee bit of an argument with one of the ride marshals. Well actually it wasn’t an argument as much as a me shouting at her for stating the obvious. Ok let me explain, after the beer rolled past me and I was horrified I was sort of wobbling all over the road and I veered close to the center yellow line. She starts to yell at me to get back from the yellow line and I start screaming back at her that I was not doing it on purpose (did she not see the beer?). Then when I get off the bike she yells at me again to stay to the far right! Duh! That’s what I was doing, oh she was so lucky I could not get up that hill! Stupid tart! Anyway I get to the top of the hill, get back on the bike and head to the finish. That was one tough ride so glad it’s done now. There is nothing left for me to do but doubt myself for the next week and feel sick every time I think of the ride but apart from that I think I’m good to go….

Serious Bit

It’s not really serious just filling you all in on the leg well actually the hip I’m still in pain but the good news it’s not arthritis bad news still don’t know what it is I’m scheduled for a MRI on Monday afternoon so I will keep you posted on any news.
And it’s still not too late if you want to donate.

Here is my link

Thanks for reading see y’all next week… love Iz

Oh just to let y’all know I might be a wee bit busy next week but I’ll post something then be ready for a biggy the following week!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Inner Geek

Ok 13 days to go and I have to tell you every time I think about the ride I feel a tad sick and I don’t expect that feeling to go away any time soon. As you know I’ve been off work this week and my mum and dad have come over for a holiday from Scotland so let’s just say the diet has gone to hell in a hand basket. Try as I might the allure of chocolate from Scotland keeps pulling me towards the cooler that arrived with them full to the gunnels of all our favorite sweets. I hasten to add it is no longer full to the gunnels and my bathroom scales have started to move in the wrong direction. I’m actually thinking of having a marathon binging session just so it’s all eaten and gone! Seriously I can’t stop! Every time I walk past that damn cooler I have to look in and open another bar or packet of something.

I have however managed to go out on my bike every day and I’ve been doing around 15 miles and I’ve started the couch to 5K training program so in my mind I can justify at least some of the candy. I have to tell you the couch to 5K is way harder than I thought it was going to be and after the first day my legs are killing me. I stupidly thought I was kind of fit! Well that was a lesson well learnt but as in biking I think every time I go out it should get a little easier (well I hope). I was thinking running is the way to go after the MS150 to keep up the weight loss. Maybe I’ll have to blog about my running or jogging escapades next, only I don’t know how funny that will be running is not exactly a laugh a minute. Mind you I never expected biking to be and we all know how funny that ended up.

This week I have tried to eat better… I mean besides the chocolate… and I have tried this drink called Nuun to restore the electrolytes because Smug Git thinks that that’s what made me sick last week, I was not replacing the electrolytes during the ride so what I will do on this week’s ride is drink water as usual and when I get to the rest stops drink the nasty Nuun and let me tell you it tastes nasty but if it does its job right I’ll just have to grin and bear it.

Friday – I’m not riding today, I’m going out for some pasta and I’ll eat half for lunch and the other half for my dinner. I’m determined to get it right this week the ride is too close to mess anything up. Tomorrows ride is in Katy and it’s a 7:30 start. I’m planning on riding 50 miles so it’s early to bed and let’s see what drama tomorrow brings. You know the best laid plans etc… I did what I said I would, ate half the pasta for lunch and the other half for dinner only something did not go down right and I spent the rest of the evening in the loo so I sent myself to bed at 7:30 feeling awful again. I’m not sure if the pasta did not agree with me or if I’m real nervous about the prospects of another bad ride but I’ll see how I feel in the morning.

Saturday morning and I feel great! Tummy is still a wee bit dodgy but all in all I think I can manage to eat my bacon and fried egg roll or as it’s known in our house “The Breakfast of Champions” (I didn’t have this last week and I’m sure that’s why it all went wrong) I also made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for during the ride so I pack them up and put them in my back pocket for a little snack later yum! And so we set off to Katy.

There were lots of riders out today the weather was fantastic and I met up with a good friend of mine Helena. You might remember I rode with Helena once before when I left her behind because she had a flat tire (that’s the kind of good friend I am). Well today we are going to ride together so Smug Git got the chance to go ride at his own speed with Steve (the Don) oh I have never seen him so happy I had no sooner said “sure honey you can go ride with Steve today” and whoosh….he was off. Well ok then I’ll see you at the end.

Helena and I set off at a nice pace but I had learnt something new this week here is where I turn into a bit of a bike geek but bear with me I promise I’ll not stay geekish for long. This week I learned about cadence (and I spelt it right first time!) cadence is the number of times your peddles go round in a minute and mine go round between 75 and 79 the idea is to maintain this all the time you ride using your gears to help, ok geek bit over. I have been doing this all week when I’ve been riding so today was a great day to practice because Katy is real flat, and as I said we set off at a nice pace but I was not really working to keep up the cadence. We got to the first rest stop and I had my first PB&J sandwich and some yucky electrolyte drink and was raring to go. We set off and I was going to go for it! I can actually say I got into the zone and it was amazing! It was flat with no wind and I felt great and I got to the next rest stop in no time. Helena was just a little way behind but we met up again and set off together. I felt great and just got in the groove again but at this point the wind had picked up. Here is where it got harder to keep up the same pace but with a few gear changes I did not too bad. I got to the last rest stop with some energy to spare but Helena was nowhere to be seen. I did meet up with Smug Git there and being the great guy he is (oops! I just threw up a wee bit) just kidding! Sorry where was I? oh that’s right - being the great guy that he is he waited with me to ride into the end but there was no Helena. I have to say I was a bit worried about her but figured she had either missed the rest stop or SAGed into the end. We headed off to the finish and about 4 miles up the road there was Miss Helena cycling along! She had completely missed the rest stop - poor Helena, I know I could never do that I’d just cry like a baby all the way to the end! She would have to ride close on 25 miles without a break. She must have been shattered but again being the kind of friend I am I just rode right passed her (you know it’s not a race right?) but she made it to the end ok thankfully. I doubt she will ever want to ride with me again and who would blame her?

At the end of the ride today I felt great I could have at the very least did another 10 miles so I’m feeling a wee bit happier about the MS150 still nervous bit a little happier.

Serious bit…

I think I will just take this time to thank all of you who have donated to this very worthwhile cause I have raised just over $1500 dollars and I’m just 13 days away from the ride itself and I could not do this without y’all I have such great family and friends. It’s still not too late if you would like to donate even a small amount to help in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.

Here is my link

Thanks for reading see y’all next week… love Iz

Sunday, April 1, 2012

For Sale: 1 Shiny New Bike

20 days to go! 1st of April today I can’t quite believe it. During the week I got word back from the doctors about my x-ray it came back with arthritis so now I have go see orthopedic guy so at least I know what is going on there and hopefully I’ll be able to get it sorted and shut the hell up about it I’m starting to annoy even myself with it.

On Thursday evening I had a wee bit of a sore throat going on but I had to just make it through school on Friday and then it was two weeks off for the Easter holiday!! Yeeha! After work Lesley, Beth and I decided to go out for one glass of wine. I thought it would help my sore throat so really it was medicinal (mistake number 1) we went to our now regular Friday haunt Brix wine bar nice place and we could sit outside and the wine is only $5 a glass for happy hour (the rest of the time it’s overpriced but happy hour is great) well you won’t be surprised when I tell you we did not just have one but you will be surprised when I tell you we did just have two. Sorry correction - I just had two I’m not even going to bother telling y’all about Lesley and Beth. Well let’s just say they left Brix and had fun! Wait what the hell just happened there? When did I become the sensible one? I went home and made myself some dinner a tiny we smart one from weight watchers (mistake number 2.)

Now I know y’all are wondering about all these mistakes just hang in there with me it will all become very clear soon enough.

After my two glasses of wine and my minuscule dinner I was still not feeling 100%, Smug Git had been away all week and had just arrived back, when I decided I should have an early night. I knew tomorrows ride would be a hard one because the weather forecast was for hot, humid but cloudy weather so off I went for an unusually early Friday night bed.

4:30am Saturday the alarm went off. Today’s ride was in Columbus, Texas about an hour and a half drive away. Gus (the perfect son) and Beth were both coming along to volunteer. Gus was, well, let’s just say a tad grumpy when he saw the time. I think he had just about 3 hours sleep by this point, he got dressed went to the car and did not say another word till about 7:30. Beth on the other hand was bright and breezy and raring to go, well at least one of us was!

I was not feeling great at all, throat still sore and I had a headache but I know once I have breakfast and set off I would be good and it would be so nice to see Gus and Beth at rest stop 2. I did not have my usual breakfast of bacon, eggs on a toasted roll given that it was still the middle of the night when we got up so I would just have to make do with a bagel and cream cheese when we got there, not the best breakfast in the world but it would just have to do.

About 8:15 the ride started and we were at the very back of the ride today but that was ok since I hate the bunched up bit at the start. My stomach is always in knots at this part but once we set off I’m good to go. As you all know or at least I think I’ve mentioned a few times the first 10 miles are kinda hard for me. I struggle to get into a good pace but usually around the ten mile mark I hit my rhythm. But not today I just can’t get it together plus there are more rolling hills but to be honest not half as bad as Chappell Hill last week but to me I feel like I’m cycling up Mount Everest. I can see them in the distance and I can see they are not too bad and I can get up them half way because of the downhill before but it takes every ounce of energy I have to get over them. I’m not quite sure how, but I make it to the first rest stop and try to eat, one good thing is I’ve drank lots of water so I’m at least not dehydrated. I look around and to my surprise lots of others are looking as bad if not worse than me I hear one guy tell his wife that he’s done, he’s going to the next rest stop and SAGing it. I am NOT going to take SAG!

We head off again and I feel a wee bit better after some food. Well if you call half a banana and some craisins food. (Another mistake!) It does not take long before I start to feel like shite again and about 500 yards from the second rest stop, half way up the hill I change gears to help me but I totally get the wrong gear and my peddles won’t turn and I just know I’m about to fall off so with a wee bit of quick thinking I head for the grass verge and jut fall over! As Smug Git says later “oh I particularly like the way you fell in the fetal position” ha bloody ha. Luckily no damage done to me or the bike but I was a bit winded and would not let SG touch me I told him to just get the bike off me and I lay on the grass for about 10 minutes. I got back on, made it to the rest stop to Gus running over to me with a big hug (god I love that boy) then of course that made me cry. It was so good to see Beth she got me a seat and brought me some food over. She really took good care of me – THANKS Beth!!! Just before we left the rest stop SG asked if I wanted to just stop there and call it a day? Oh I so wanted to but being the stubborn me I said no (last and I’m guessing biggest mistake).

Now we have 17 or 18 mile left to go to complete the 50. I have no clue where I’m going to find the energy so I decide that I’ll ride to mile 40 and make my own rest stop. Find a nice shady tree and take a break and that is exactly what we do and as we’re getting close to 40 I notice that I’m for sure not the only one that’s having a hard time. Riders I’ve seen on other rides are all having breaks. It was so hot and humid with almost no wind at some points everyone seemed to be suffering. I have never seen so many riders take SAG - every SAG wagon had riders in them. We had a rest and set off again but I know I will have to stop again and then it will be on to the end to meet up with Gus and Beth. I’ve never been so glad to get to the end of a bike ride. When we got to the park Gus came running over, took my bike and gave me another huge hug and a kiss, hug from Beth and big hug from Smug Git who told me how proud he was of me. Aww shucks so much love…….

OK I need to go home I am exhausted we get in the car and go about 5 miles.
Me “I need a plastic bag I’m going to throw up”

Everyone is scrambling to find one Gus finds it and hands it to me. Then all hell breaks loose! Everything for me goes white (I mean follow the light white) I can’t see a thing. I vomit into the bag and that is the last thing I remember until I hear Beth telling SG to pull over. I come round and there is vomit everywhere. Then to make matters worse I have to get out the car at the side of the road and strip off. Poor Gus, I think he may be scarred for life we did tell him to shut his eyes and believe me he did. As soon as I threw up I felt immediately better and to make me even better two beers and some chicken tenders and fries! Yum!

I’m thinking possibly one of the more memorable rides. Not at all sure how I’m going to do the actual MS150 now! Anyone want to buy a shiny new bike?

Serious bit…

If you have not sponsored me yet I nearly DIED! I saw the bright light!! Give me some money!!!

Thanks for reading it means the word to me that you all care.

Here is my link

See y’all next week… love Iz