(All photos courtesy of Claudia.)
Claudia and I successfully completed the MS Ride on Saturday. I didn't find out until today just how successful the ride was though -- Claudia raised $32,548!! I couldn't be more proud of her and Knitters Against Multiple Sclerosis.
As the #1 fundraiser from last year, Claudia was the first rider to start.
This meant that the two of us got to "break" the ribbon at the start line (actually someone was ripping apart the plastic strip for us and I was afraid he wouldn't finish in time) while 1700+ riders applauded. Then we got to ride at the front with a police escort for a few miles. Very cool! We got passed by probably about 100 riders over the ensuing miles, many of whom congratulated Claudia. Of course there were a few obligatory comments about how the stoker gets to cruise while the captain does the work -- and having ridden in both positions, I can't stress enough how untrue this is. But everyone's a comedian! :)
We stopped a couple of times for snacks but mostly kept turning the pedals at a pretty steady pace that had us actually passing some riders on the final rolling hills past Myles Standish State Park. By the time we reached the Cape Cod Canal (back-of-the-tandem cam pic below), the clouds and fog that dogged us through most of the ride had cleared. What a beautiful day it was!
At about 77 miles, this was the longest ride I've done since the May 2007 Century of Misery (in which Ed and I rode our bikes 100 miles voluntarily in pouring rain, both of us putting on a needlessly brave front and refusing to suggest to the other that we take the turn-off for the metric century). Claudia and I were both glad to reach the finish and get cleaned up. I was a filthy mess but Claudia is one of those riders who always looks elegant no matter how hard she's working.
All in all, this was a wonderful experience and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it. Thanks to all of you who sponsored me and thanks to Claudia, who was endlessly patient with my often-poor captaining technique, not to mention a great conversationalist on those long rides.