Monday, June 9, 2008

2008 Bike MS 150

Some of Team BRUCE From left: Jeff Wessel, Jodi Anderson-Jones, Debbie Silbert, Mark Santschi, Phil Rice, Cameron Rice, Pam, Va. Governor Tim Kaine (Pam didn't know who he was!), Jacob Charlwood, Randy Charlwood.

As I reflect back on this year's Bike MS, a flood of
emotions come forth. I'll start off with the note I sent Jeff (the
friend who started this all 16 years ago on a miserable cold, windy
rainy weekend) and go from there.

Hey Jeff,

I do hope you are on the mend my friend! We do indeed need to find
the cure quickly before you fall totally apart! ;o) You're gonna
end up like me in that if we were horses they'd have to shoot us!

I'll ask you to pass along the following to the team as Pam says you
have every ones email which I don't.

I always dread the "day after" as I don't know what to say any more
to thank everyone. What an effort! I've been made aware that a couple
of riders had significant health issues but chose to ride anyway.
There really aren't any words for that kind of dedication!

Honestly, Saturday's ride about did me in and I wasn't even doing
anything except acting as a drag chute. It was the heat more than
anything I think. When Pam woke me Sunday AM I could hardly move
(a lot worse than usual) and it took me what seemed like forever to get
going. By the first rest stop I was thinking there was no possible
way I was going to make it but when I saw the enthusiasm of everyone
else and especially the four young riders that joined us, I made up
my mind I'd ride to the end if you all had to strap me on the
bike. I am glad I stuck it out as crossing that finish line was a
real thrill!

We're truly blessed to have a circle of friends such as this and we
couldn't ask for anything more! From that bad day in March of 1992
when we found out what we were dealing with, we've never felt like
we were in this fight alone. The Lord has met our every need and our
many friends have been there for us without fail! Although it seems
so inadequate, we want to say thank you again for everything!

We love you all!

bruce and pam

We want to thank all the riders again who come out every year and
ride in whatever nature throws at them, the many volunteers who do
whatever chores need to be done, a great compassionate staff who
spend hours in planning and finally the sponsors who donate countless
items and the rider sponsors who give their hard earned money to the
MS cause.

As I mentioned above, Jeff rode in what was then called the Va. Dare Bike
Tour in 1992, a couple months after we got the dismal diagnosis of MS.
The next year, he formed a bike team of two with another friend Ed Koch. They
called themselves "Team BRUCE" (Bikers Ride Until a Cure Exists). Jeff
has been captain ever since and has continued to add riders every year.
Am not sure exactly how many miles he's ridden on behalf of MS
but it exceeds 2000 and he has raised thousands in donations! WOW!
He keeps telling me "we gotta cure you fast or this is gonna kill me"!
In any event, you could never wish for a better friend or finer guy!
As some of you know, Jeff will be deployed overseas later
this year with the Va. National Guard so will miss the 09 ride
and I'm already in depression :-( Am sure he will be with us in spirit!

Then there's Phil who came up with a way for me to ride along over
the beautiful back roads of the Commonwealth. What a thrill! He was
able to obtain virtually everything via donation: the adult trike from
Olde Towne Bicycles in Fredericksburg and the steel with which to
make the drawbar from City Welding Service also in Fredericksburg.
He fabricated the strange looking rig in his auto body shop and, after
a little tweaking, she rides like a Cadillac! You don't have to be
around Phil and his family long to be totally overwhelmed by their love!

And there is the rest of Team BRUCE! Another WOW! I feel like
royalty as they swarm around me often at cruise speed. Jodi Anderson-
Jones and Deb Silbert making me drink that nasty sports drink,
smearing me with slimy sun bloc and dumping on ice water to cool me
down. Nettie McDougal was watching the "back door" for
traffic while Randy and Jacob Charlwood rode ahead to watch the "front door", looking for
cars, pot holes and loose gravel which are all hazards to
cyclists. And how 'bout the "engines"? Phil Rice,
Mark Santschi and Cameron Rice took turns at this very difficult
task! Other riders included Andy "the jet" Rush (this is year 10 for
him!) who can cover 20 miles in the time it takes me to get in and
out of a port-a-pottie, Bob Fogg (an old college roommate), Clay
Calvert, Ed and Glenda Robinson, Mike Foreman plus the four riders
that linked up with us on day two: Leigh Meyer, Terrance DeGray,
Eric DeGray, and Clay Tharrington. I even had a personal SAG wagon
driven by Gary and Brian Norman! How cool is that?!!
Whenever one starts naming names, there is always the danger of
missing someone but I'll do my best not to.
Rest Stop workers included the Brooks family, Bea, Robert, and
Chandra. The Armstrong's, Jack, Daneille and Robert, Jeff
Humphrey, Joanne Piper, Nancy Norman, Kathy Charlwood, Tina
Lewis, Marilyn Fogg, Phil's mom "Nana", Randy and Kay, and Ed Jones
(Jodi's husband) who donates his expertise every year as a bike mechanic. Brent and
Sherrie Hartzell came down to the finish line from Fredericksburg!

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