Steve Valero's summary of the Beyond the Beltway charity ride for Multiple Sclerosis:
Being my first ride of requiring a lunch break distance, I knew from the start that this event would be a challenge. The months of training and research did prepare me fairly well for what was Saturday would involve, or at least that is what I assumed.
The morning started very early as neither Marina or I could even sleep until our alarm went off at 6 am. We ate a quick breakfast, put our Team Trust jerseys on and headed for the Start/Finish line.
There where rest stops setup about every 10 miles...which was about half the distance of our Saturday morning rides. We mounted up and rolled out right around 7:45. The first few miles of any ride are typically a warm up, gets the blood flowing and the muscles ready for some work. This ride was not typically because the first half a mile was an increasing incline from the Medowkirk Retreat up Lime Kiln Rd in Middleburg . This was not too bad as a start as the first down hill was quite fun, it allowed us to separate from the pack a little.
It seemed that for every mild incline there where two more significant hills on the other side of the crest. This viscous cycle went on the entire day. The average pace we tend to follow on the trails is about 14.5-15.5 mph average. Through the first half of this ride our average was barely over 10 mph. That included several minutes where my bicycles top speed was tested. As an interesting aside as it is currently equipped 35mph is the absolute top speed I was able to achieve.
At about 9:30 the sun managed to burn through the fog. The temperature and humidity rapidly climbed 18% in the next 45 minutes. There effects of the hills and climate were taking their toll on many of the riders by the first stop, which was closer to 15 miles from the start that 10. That does not sound like a very big difference and Friday I would have said that does not sound too intimidating. Sunday night however I am singing a different tune.
This is us at a "snack" break after completing a serious set of hills. For those who are not familiar with this type of event, the word snack is very misleading. At this point there are about 22 miles until we hit our lunch stop.
The next few miles went by much the same as the ones preceding them. The scenery is by far the most pleasant I have ridden through. It is a ride like this that makes all the training and work worth the effort.
We made it to lunch at the Marshall Town Library at around 12:30. The Corner Bakery from Tysons Corner supplied fresh sandwiches for lunch...although eating after hours of continuous cycling required conscious effort. That was a one of several new experiences.
The afternoon continued with yet more cycling. Several more hours of cycling. The next image is from my cycle computer. The settings has been reset at 8.2 miles by accident. The temperature on the handlebars was 104F for the better part of 2 pm, making progress much slower. The average time people where experiencing was noticeably less than the average as noted by many of the other cyclists we were chatting with at the rest stops.
The ride was halted at about 4:45 pm when the course was closed due to hail and lightning. We were seven miles from the finish line and to stay on the safe side we hitched a ride back on a passing shuttle.
So, technically we did not complete the course, but that was one of the most amazing experiences of my adult life and I cannot wait to try again.
I am so grateful to everyone who dug deep to help support this cause that is very near and dear to me. I would like to thank Connie Harris for all of the support and time invested. Thanks to Mr. Hellmuth for matching all employee contributions. With all of your help Team Trust exceeded its goal and contributed to the almost $500,000 raised for the MS research and education!
I would like to thank each and everyone one who helped here, if you stop by the Infiniti dealer please come by the shop I would like to shake your hand and thank you in person. This has been the most humbling and encouraging things I have ever been a part of, you guys are awesome.
Thank you all so very much.
The Passport Auto Group is, again, a Toys for Tots drop off location
Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came from Bill's wife, Diane.
In the fall of 1947, Diane handcrafted a Raggedy Ann doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization, which would give it to a needy child at Christmas. When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one. He did.
The 1947 campaign was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign. That year, Marine Corps Reserve units across the nation conducted Toys for Tots campaigns in each community in which a Marine Reserve Center was located. Marines have conducted successful nationwide campaigns at Christmas each year since 1948.
Over the 56 years of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Marines have distributed more than 313 million toys to 151 million children. This charitable endeavor has made the U.S. Marines the unchallenged leaders in looking after needy children at Christmas. Over its 13 year life, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation has supplemented the collections of local campaigns with more than 47.3 million toys valued at $243 million, plus has provided promotion and support materials valued at $2.5 million.
Please join The Passport Auto Group in supporting this worthy charity.