Released: November 1, 2018
Yet another MS Tour is done. We had 30 riders on the team this year, which was a bit down from previous events. I believe the cancellation of last year’s ride due to weather may have impacted whether people chose to ride or not, but we got it done Dan-Gulf style, and we had a good team.
This year about 500 riders total participated, which was down from over 1000-1200 riders the previous years. Our agent from Santa Marta in Colombia also rode with our team, in arm warmers!!! About 90-95 degr temps!!! Sun protection, I use sun screen!
The first day was from Southern Louisiana University in Hammond to Percy Quin Park in McComb, MS. It was an uphill route for a total distance of about 71 miles and 2000 feet of climbing. It was bloody hot, and our team started as number 5 in staggered start based on fundraising. Liz and Pam from our office volunteered their weekend to help us with the logistics, and they arranged for all our gear (baggage) to be brought up and down, which much easier than the buses provided by the tour organizers.
Our team collected a total of about 25K thus far, and I reached my personal fundraising goal and collected in excess of 10K, for this worthy cause.
After 20 miles we hit the first little hill, and the front group quickly separated down to about 15 riders, and we made it to McComb in about 3 hours, which was pretty good considering the heat. Jeff Robbins from our team at age 61 crossed the line first on day 1 , about 3 hours 2 minutes, Thomas was the first rider to cross the line the 2nd day with Watson and Selby plus two enemies in record time of about 2 hours 55 minutes (24.4 mph average), which is one of the fastest recent southbound times. I finished in the top 10 with 6 other Dan-Gulf riders both days, although this a fundraiser, not a race, right guys! Hah!
Also congrats to some of our new riders Nancy, Chuck, including Melissa Copeland who did her longest ride ever this weekend, and also was introduced to the Dan-Gulf cigar club (She did inhale)!
An elderly lady age 82 finished in about 8 hours as the last rider the first day, and always pretty cool to see the state troopers on motor bikes escort the last rider in with lights and full music. She actually did better than my wife, Mersedeh, who conveniently told me when we got to SLU for the start of day 1 “you are gonna be pissed at me”. I asked her “why?” – and she answered “I forgot my shoes”. Having said that she did make the team picture and she also drove home, got her shoes, rode the second day and only stopped one time, so kudos to the wife for that, especially in this heat.
While we were waiting for the other riders to arrive at McComb, I got a well needed massage, and while on the desk top, I cramped in my right hamstring not once, but five times. The nice young girl from Mississippi said that the puppy that came out was as big as a fist, but she pushed it back where it belonged.
After that a good time was had in our tent at the Percy Quin Park, where one of our riders Jim Kangas aka Dr. Gumbo had his wife and daughter prepare Crawfish Monica along with yummy side orders for the team all day long. It was appreciated by all including riders from other teams.
Other than that business as usual with beer, soft drinks and cigars.
I usually don’t get tired legs from a ride like this, but reckon either the age or the heat got to me or perhaps both, but when I woke up the second day my legs were toast. At any rate to make a boring story short, I got dropped at mile 20 from the front group who ended up pacing off of the state troopers’ motor bikes, while I ended up in a group 2 with 3 team mates and one enemy. For the next 40 miles the enemy was just sitting on as a passenger, so when we had 10 miles left to go, I told him to pull, and instead of pulling in the front he pulled out of the back, and we left him to die in the heat.
The route back to Hammond (southbound leg) is faster than the northbound, and the first riders finished in 2 hours and 55 minutes. Also on this day a Dan-Gulf rider was over the line first, namely Thomas Sugg, who rode strong both days along with all our other riders. For some it was their first tour, so a big congrats to them for their accomplishment.
Let me not forget to thank Liz, Pam, Amy and Rene for hauling our stuff back and forth between Hammond and McComb. That makes it so much easier for all, and last but not least thanks very much to Jim Kangas aka Dr. Gumbo and his wife Angie, daughter Mary for sponsoring the food. Good job Jim and nice gesture.
Also, THANKS to all our sponsors for your support of this annual ride, and being a big part of making this event another great success.
Hope to see you all again next year, and thanks again guys, great job everyone.
Dan-Gulf Shipping, Inc.