Released: October 12, 2014
The official fundraising for our annual MS Bike Tour ended November 7th. The tour had a little less than 1300 riders participating in this year's tour, and the entire event collected $ 797,830.00 total. Team Dan-Gulf collected about 55K ending up as the second largest fundraiser and I personally, thanks to your generosity, ended up collecting $ 18,265,00 which was enough to put me in the first place for the individual fundraising, for which I am thankful, but more importantly proud to be in a position to be part of making a difference in the cure for Multiple Sclerosis.
Many of us have or had family members and/or friends suffering or did suffer from this disease including Brian Quartano, one of our team mates, who's daughter Leah has MS. Leah is now making history participating in the new program using a new drug called Lemtrada that was recently approved in the USA. Please see the below link and how fundraising for the cure does make a difference.
A special thanks is also due to our volunteers, including Mersedeh for shopping for and preparing all the food we had in McComb, which was a lot of work, so thank you wife. Also thanks to Eddie for grilling, Liz, Sylvia, Jamie and Vy for transporting luggage, setting up the tent, serving food, and taking pictures, which now can be viewed on the Dan-Gulf website.
Now back to the ride, which was another success for our dream team.
This year we had a total of about 40 riders participating, which was a little less than expected, but some were out due to moving kids to school, others at a beer festival in Colorado, and some on injured reserve list!
The riding weather was perfect both days although we had a strong head wind the first day, but all riders each day managed the full distance in fine style, and we had Dan-Gulf riders first over the line each day, although this is not a race, but a fund raiser, right!
Also an additional thanks to Vy for the special massages given to numerous riders in McComb after a hard day's work in the head wind. That later cost me a lunch a Ruth's Chris and did not include a massage!
Despite the staggered start the first day the Dan-Gulf Armada was quickly out of the start holes, and I ended up riding with all the mountain goats up front, in which group we had a total of 7 Dan-Gulf riders out of a total of 12. Tony and Jorge were like small humming birds on crack with the rest of us following suit. I was hanging on to my dear life and bike to keep up with the light weights in the head wind on the rolling hills, until they dropped my ass 4 miles before the finish line on the last hill, so I came in a minute or two after the front group. Other than being a hard ride for most of us I believe, it was a good uneventful workout with no accidents or flat tires in that group, and shortly thereafter our other riders also started strolling in safely at the finish line to enjoy the food, beer, cigars, massages etc. (Sounds like a party in Bourbon Street).
After a good night's rest we were all ready for the second day, and we were sent off timely from the Percy Quin Park in McComb at 8 am heading for the finish line at SLU.
I always find the second day easier for me, as it is a faster route with slightly less climbing, and we did not have 10-15 mph headwind as we did the first day. Our group made it quickly out of the park, and very soon we had a select group of about a dozen riders including six riders from our team, and we were moving at a good pace, until our escort service, the Louisiana State Troopers on motor bikes told us that we had missed a turn!! So we had to swing around and Tony Speedy Gonzales made a deal with the officer who forgot to turn: we could draft on his motor bike (that's what he does at home too, drafting behind his wife on the scooter) until we got back on the original route after our 6 mile detour! Then we had a guy in our group (Jim) who had a blow out, and we waited for him to get fixed up, but to no avail as he needed a new tire, so we left him to die in the wilderness!!
At this time it turned out that group two (all the B's) actually was in front of us, so they were a little surprised when they all of a sudden got police escort and were told they were now the lead front group with less than 10 miles to the finish line. However that lasted only about 30 seconds as our lead out Puerto Rican pony Tony put the hammer down along with the other Dan-Gulf stallions Todd, Bob, Jorge and Reggie, and we passed up the second group that had ridden 6 miles less at this time with about 31 mph. With a group effort we managed to get our riders to the finish line first, although a NOLA Bull rider (Keith) was trying to sneak in a sprint after he latched on to our front group from group two when we passed that group up, but no cigar! Alex from our office also managed to catch on from group two to our group, but politely stayed in the back at the finish line, otherwise he knew he would get fired. We finished the about 80 miles in 3 hours 25 minutes, so a good work out for our A group!
We had no major complaints about Asger this year except John-Paul (the ex U.S Marine in our office) had to tell him to pick a spot in the cabin and stay there, and apparently he obeyed orders, and passed out on his designated spot without further incidents.
Jorge (our family dentist) and Jorgen from Biehl & Co. exchanged old New Orleans jogging pictures / stories in McComb that were about 35 years old, and they had pictures from these old events stored on their iPhones much to the amusement of Todd and myself, but a good time was had!
This was Lowell's 9th consecutive year of NOT RIDING the MS Tour.
Once again, thanks for being part of our team either as a sponsor, rider or volunteer, which much appreciated.