July 24th, 2015 the Panda headed north by northwest and landed at the Grandbend Motorplex approximately 100 kilometers from home, spiked a tent and had a cold beverage with some members of the Butt Ugly – MS Bike Ride Team. After a nice dinner we all headed back to camp and tried to get some sleep before the early morning start.
The MS Bike Ride Grandbend To London (and Back) is a long standing bike ride that has seen thousands of riders over the years raise millions of dollars in support of ending Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This unrelenting disease has affected several of my friends over the years and it is staggering how many people are being diagnosed with this disease every day. It is an honour to ride in support of my friends and all those who are battling everyday.
The Grandbend to London MS Bike Ride is a lovely 150 kilometer round trip trek across several counties in Ontario. This year over 50 members of Team Butt Ugly has raised to date over $44,255 dollars! Currently in third place and going after Corporate Team – Libro Freewheelers, to take over the #2 spot. Help The Fight To END MS >>> Click Here >>>>
Early on the Saturday morning the cycling gear came out and once it goes on your committed. We packed some gear and through it on the truck, grabbed some coffee and a bagel and headed for the starting area. This years MS Bike Ride had almost 1600 riders and there was bikes for as far as the eye could see, and there was a lot of clothing that none of us legally should have been allowed to wear.
Team Butt Ugly was in 4th place for fund raising on race day, so we were very close to the front of the pack. At around 7:45 am we were on our way. The best part of being on Team Butt Ugly, is you can find your teammates almost anywhere because of the fake butt we all donned for the ride. I have never received some many comments on my butt in my life, and the even better part is cars take a WIDE berth around you when they see the butt!
Day 1: Riding & Celebrating
The MS Bike Ride was just a little over 80 kilometers on the first day. There was volunteers everywhere and they did an absolutely fantastic job in supporting us riders. We had riders age 8 to 86 on the course, every size and shape, every kind of bike you can imagine, and everybody had a smile on their face. There was some really fast riders which consumed the course in under 2 hours, and then there was the troopers that ride in same nasty heat upwards of 8 to 9 hours, I honestly don’t know how they did it. I was able to finish in around 4 1/2 hours with about 3 1/2 hours of actual riding. Since nothing ever goes as planned for me once I arrived the elevator broke and I got to walk 5 flights of stairs multiple times.
The Kids arrived and we got to hang out at the University and got our picture in the MS Bike Ride – We Did It Tent! After a nap we had some dinner and celebrated all the successes of the MS Bike Ride over the years with all the participants (except the ones that were sleeping) at Thompson Arena. Which just happens to be the arena I worked at as a kid cleaning ice – Yes, The Smart Panda was once a Zamboni driver.
Day 2: Gett’r Done
The sun seemed to raise early through the fog and after a quick breakfast we were packed up and ready to rock and ride back to Grandbend. The MS Bike Butt Ugly Team was in great spirits even with the fog delay. The early ride back was interesting as it felt like we were travelling into an abyss as the fog burned off. Our youngest members were in a hurry to get back so they put the hammer down and traveled back over 70 kilometers in under 3 hours. The last couple of kilometers found several of us singing “just keep spinning, just keep spinning….”
The finish line was filled with hundreds of people cheering and celebrating (maybe because the BBQ was right beside the finish line). It was truly a satisfying accomplishment to cross the finish line with my team with big smiles on our faces.
We are already recruiting for next year, and if you would like to be part of something spectacular! Join the Team, Raise some money, and have an Amazing Ride!
Its still not too late to donate to the 2015 Ride! >>> Click Here >>>>