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August 1999 EXTRA!

Team UCAR bicycles
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 area hotels.

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 Uno.

All in all, riders reported a good time with many memories to take home, including:

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.

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.


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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu

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