Reprinted with permission, The Daily News, Longview, WA August 1, 2008
Photo courtesy of Bill Dunlap
Pictured, left to right: Bill Dunlap, Bob Nelson, Claudia Yoder, Jeremy Wenzel, Scott Price, and Kristy Fitzjarrald-Deuchars
Woodlanders Bill and Barbara Dunlap and my husband Bob Nelson, along with Vancouver resident Claudia Yoder, manager of Big Deals in Woodland, were among 430 bike riders raising funds to fight multiple sclerosis July 19 and 20 in Sweet Home, Oregon.
Epic Imaging, the largest outpatient imaging facility in the Portland metro area, was lead sponsor for Bike MS 2008: Covering Bridges. Rides included a 10-mile family ride, or choices of 59, 76- or 100-mile rides on Saturday and 55 or 19 miles on Sunday.
Last February, when the days were dreary and Bob’s exercise had dwindled to changing the channel on the TV, Bill Dunlap called and asked if he would like to be a member of Epic’s team in a bike ride to be held in July. The idea of some fresh air and exercise sounded good to Bob, who had participated in a Livestrong ride in 2007. He recruited Yoder, who had previously participated in a Livestrong ride and Cycle Oregon.
The three started training in Woodland, and occasionally in Vancouver, while their other teammates trained in Oregon. Throughout his training, Bob kept changing bike seats, hoping to find one that felt as good as the couch he had left. In the end none could provide that same comfort, and he went back to the one he started with.
Early in their training, the Dunlaps reserved some of the few available motel rooms for the team. There was also camping at the high school, with showers and rest rooms available for use. Event wristbands got riders in to breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, dinner on Saturday, and a barbecue on Sunday.
The four team members arrived at Sweet Home on Friday, July 18, and met up with the rest of their teammates. Bill had decided to ride 76 miles. My husband and Claudia Yoder chose the 59-mile ride. For Bob, that was about fifteen miles more than his longest ride in training. Barbara Dunlap chose the 10-mile family ride, but exceeded her own expectations and rode 20 miles.
Bob had worried about the weather, hoping the day wouldn’t be too hot. He was happy to start the ride on a comfortable, overcast morning. The ride started at Sankey Park near the historic Weddle Covered Bridge, and other covered bridges along the route provided pleasant scenery and relaxing rest stops. He was surprised by Sweet Home’s rolling, and sometimes steep, hills, which started appearing early in the ride.
Six and a half hours and one flat tire later, his legs spent but his spirits soaring, Bob completed the ride and gathered with his teammates. The original bike seat must have been a good choice, because he said his bottom didn’t feel too bad after riding sixty miles. Some of his teammates couldn’t say the same. I convinced him that he should take precautionary measures so that he could sit on the bike seat again the next day, so he treated each of his teammates to a bag of frozen peas to sit on to ease the pain.
The next morning, he chose the 19-mile ride, and ended the weekend proud to have been part of Epic Imaging’s journey to help defeat MS.
Visit Pat Nelson’s website at http://www.storystorm.wordpress.com.