August 1999 EXTRA!
the 1999 MS150
This year's edition of the MS150, a fundraiser for the National Multiple
Sclerosis Society, saw a 600-person increase in ridership to total 1,800
riders. Included were members of Team UCAR: Rick Anthes (UCAR), Lynne
Davis (PAGE), Katy Ginger (PAGE) and sister Lizzy Ginger, Andy Heymsfield (MMM),
Missy Petty (RAP), Russ Rew (Unidata), Becky Ruttenberg (RAP), Joe VanAndel
(ATD) and wife Margaret VanAndel, and Stick Ware (GST). Jack Fellows (UCAR) was to be the
team leader but suffered a broken ankle near the end of snowboarding
season. This left Rick, Joe, and Stick as the MS150 vets and the rest as newcomers.
Tired but happy, Andy Heymsfield, Joe VanAndel, Russ Rew, Becky Ruttenberg,
and Katy Ginger await their bikes at Thunder Ridge High School after completing the MS150.
This year's ride took place on 10-11 July, beginning at Thunder Ridge High
School in Highlands Ranch, overnighting at Colorado College in Colorado Springs,
and finishing at Canon City. The basic route covered 75 miles per day, with
an optional 25-mile loop on Day 1 to make a century ride, and three choices
on Day 2: the 50-mile direct ride to Canon City, a "flatter" 25-mile loop
and the tough 25-mile loop over the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River to
total 75 miles. The route options offered something for everyone, accommodating
differing levels of fitness.
Day 1: Saturday 7/10
Day 1 started out easy, leaving town on Santa Fe Drive and soon switching to
back roads. The first hills were also easy, but as the day wore on they got
steeper and more numerous, with a headwind to boot.
Waiting on a train early on Day 1. (Photo by Rick Anthes.)|
A climb over the Palmer
Divide put the riders in Monument for lunch, with the Air Force Academy to
follow. Before the Academy, however, was a rough patch of bike path, whose
avoidance caused Andy to miss the turn-off for the century loop. He climbed
the first hill in the Academy before realizing his error, then turned around
to do the century. He gets the award for most miles biked in a day.
Stick gets the award for most miles driven in a day, having arrived at the starting
line without his bike shoes. After a quick round trip home to fetch them,
Stick started the ride one minute before the route closed, and was able to make it to the century ride turn-off before that option also closed.
Becky knew of the fierce hills in the Air Force Academy, so she proposed a
short cut along Stadium Way. However, when they arrived at the split,
Becky, Katy, and Lizzy decided to go for it and stick to the route. Four
hills later they were rueing their decision, but after a nice coast out of the
Academy they figured that they were done with hills. However, the route
organizers had a few more surprises--a tour through "Tuscany Hills" (which
Russ figured was a gratuitous attempt to show off a ritzy neighborhood),
then a climb over a hogback just east of Garden of the Gods, comparable to
Dinosaur Ridge just east of Red Rocks. This is what the organizers meant
when they advertised "a spectacular view of Garden of the Gods." At least
it was an excuse to get off the bike to take a picture.
Left: Joe VanAndel, Rick Anthes, Russ Rew, and Margaret VanAndel relax on the Colorado College Quad after a hard day's work.
(Photo by Andy Heymsfield.) Right: Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, from the last climb of the day.
(Photo by Rick Anthes.)
One more short climb led to Cascade Avenue and Colorado College, where
riders had lasagna, bread and brownies for dinner, stowed their bikes and
had access to the massage tables. Those who didn't fall into immediate
slumber partook of the beer garden and danced to live music. Hardy souls
stayed on campus in dorm rooms; others made use of the swimming pool at
Day 2: Sunday 7/11
Day 2 started out with short climbs around NORAD and up some ridges, then
a long descent into the Arkansas River Valley and to Florence for lunch.
Road hazards included rumble strips which caught some descending riders
unaware, but Team UCAR made it through without mishap.
At Florence, the
"flatter" 25-mile loop took off (as in "flatter than the Gorge route"), and
a few miles later the Royal Gorge route began. An enterprising soul
could have done both extra loops for another century, but saner riders
(including Team UCAR) did either the Gorge (Andy, Missy, Joe, Russ, Stick
and Rick), the flatter route (Margaret) or went straight into Canon City
(Lizzy, Lynne, Katy and Becky). Gorge riders reported that by virtue of
the road being badly graded, it is steeper in spots than anything in Boulder,
with level spots in between. The average grade over two miles is 10%.
Gorge riders were well rewarded with a view, Oreos, an "I did the Gorge!"
pin, and a thrilling descent into Canon City while watching their compatriots
slog up the other side of the road.
Left: Rick Anthes and Stick Ware at the Royal Gorge bridge.
Right: A spectacular view upstream from the bridge. (Photo on right by Andy Heymsfield.)
Shortly thereafter, riders were cheered across the finish line, where medals,
showers, hamburgers, ice cream, and massage tables greeted them. Then came
a relaxing bus ride back to Thunder Ridge High School, traversing some of the
route ridden earlier. In perhaps the only snafu of the event, the bike trucks
were delayed on the return trip, allowing Team UCAR to get in a few hands of
All in all, riders reported a good time with many memories to take home,
Iron Legs award: To Missy, with a Day 1 time of 7 hrs. 50 mins. for the
century route, and a Day 2 time of 6:15 for the Royal Gorge route.
- Food - Everything tastes good when you're hungry (Missy), although
the mystery breakfast at 5:30 AM on Day 2 was hard to swallow--too dark to
see, too cold to taste (Russ)--and for the fast riders, eating a ham sandwich
for lunch at 8:30 AM was odd (Missy, Andy). But fresh cantaloupe and trail
mix at the aid stations couldn't be beat!
- Aid stations - Spaced at 10-mile intervals on the average, they were
welcome excuses to get off the bike, stretch, and refuel. Stick reported a
"Sister Act" at the century loop aid station featuring volunteers dressed as
nuns, while the last aid stop of the day had a Mardi Gras theme including
beads and wash-off tattoos.
- People on the ride - The start was awe-inspiring, with wheelchair-
bound people with MS thanking the riders for riding for them, and many riders
had names of friends and loved ones with MS pasted to their jerseys. On a
lighter note, Katy and Lizzy enjoyed engaging other riders in water-bottle
- Bikes on the ride - Ranging from a one-speed Schwinn to the latest
technology, the gamut was covered. Riders with triple cranks were thankful
on the hills, but not all double cranks were disadvantaged (Russ, who merely
stood up to pedal.) One rider was on a hand-powered bike, slow but steady.
A tandem rider had a mannequin as his stoker, and a recumbent cyclist had a
- Music - KOOL 105 sent along a music van blaring greatest hits from
the sixties. This caused Becky to constantly morph the music running through
her head into ABBA's "Dancing Queen." Katy and Lizzy sang "Do-Re-Mi" and
"Climb Ev'ry Mountain" while negotiating the Air Force Academy hills.
Fundraiser award: To Margaret, for raising more than $3000 for MS.
--Becky Ruttenberg, RAP
Safely back at UCAR, the group gathers with their medals for completing the
ride and red pins for climbing to the Royal Gorge bridge.
Front row: Missy Petty, Lynne Davis, Becky Ruttenberg.
Back row: Jack Fellows, Andy Heymsfield, Russ Rew, Katy Ginger, Stick Ware, Joe VanAndel, Rick Anthes.
Note: The August issue will be posted by the first week of August 1999.
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall