I have been waiting to participate in this event since mid-2008. I actually had recruited one person to be one my team and we were all set until the day before the inaugural 24 Hours of Booty in Columbia, MD – Hurricane Hanna canceled all the plans. Fast forward 12 months and voila; Mother Nature still had surprises in store for the 350+ riders registered to ride – but the event went on! This year I had corralled 13 riders and we collectively raised over $7,865.13 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, and Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Excitement mounted Friday as riders descended upon the 24 HOB staff at Race Pace Columbia to pick-up their “race” packets and various fundraising goal awards. All levels below $1K got various cool 24 HOB swag, but the prizes quickly ramped up as the dollar amounts increased. Each level starting at $1K and ending at $3K had special 24 HOB themed jerseys: for $1K raised by 11 September the prize was the Sprinters jersey – the maillot vert (green jersey), for $2K it was the King of the Mountains jersey - the maillot à pois rouges (polka dot jersey) and for those raising $3K or more, they got the coveted maillot jaune (yellow jersey). Remember this is the official 24 hour cycling event of the Lance Armstrong Foundation so jersey’s figure prominently here. The overall highest fundraiser received a 2009 Trek Madone as well!!
Saturday morning I loaded up the minivan with enough gear to get us to California and back, packing light is not my forte. As the clouds started rolling in, the 24 HOB folks issued an email alert stating that the campsite would be open, NOW (10:00 AM) versus 1:00 PM as we had all been strictly warned. So much for my Type A planning here. Luckily we were sharing our campsite with Kim Sheridan and her LAX Girls Got Wheels Team. She hustled out there and found us a perfect spot near the starting line.
Slowly the teams all started trickling in but both the LAX Girls and the Middle Aged Marauders were all ready set-up and decorated. You could tell how embarrassed the other teams were setting up near this amazing display of tasteful Tikiness. Both our camps ended up winning the Campsite Blue Ribbon Award – Tiki is all the rage! Apparently they are as proud of our Kona bound MMTC folks as we are!!
At 4:00 PM, as the rain was rolling in, all the teams assembled on the Booty Loop for the official start. The first lap belonged to cancer survivors and the jersey winners. Quite a sight to see so many riders that were also survivors – this is indeed what it is all about! Read the Howard County Times article about one of our team members who is a survivor: http://explorehoward.com/community/65595/survivor-fights-cancer-seat-his-pants/
The rain just kept rolling in without any signs of letting up. As night began to descend, more and more folks left the course except for some hardcore riders – 1st among those hardcore riders were Kim’s girls. You could not miss them in their orange t-shirts, there was some serious spirit out there and we all cheered each other on. David Anderson took a quick break while the remaining team did several more laps. By 10:00 PM we had logged 50 wet miles and went to the support tent for refueling. Several had only planned on riding a few hours and dutifully did their shifts and then headed home. As David returned we bid him a good night and headed home for a warm shower and quick nap.
We returned before dawn having missed the slam that Mother Nature threw down on the handful of riders overnight. By 6:30 AM we were back on the loop and the rain had thankfully turned to a drizzle, by 8:30 AM we actually were able to all change into dry biking gear and ride in the sunshine!
The miles kept ticking up and soon the 100 mile mark was in range, I was ready for a stop for refueling and stretching. Of course as I make my way up the final approach – the hill on Gateway – I see my beaming 11 year old son (on his bike), yup, you guessed it, he wanted to do a “bunch” of loops with Dad. No break for me - can’t pass up these special moments while I have them. Thankfully after about 5 miles he let his old man have a break.
The team all stopped for a quick lunch together, except for one rider who stayed on the course to represent! After lunch we all agreed to ride through to the end as a team to finish strong. It was an amazing site I am sure to see us all coming in together in our Cristata/MMTC/24 HOB custom jerseys.
When all was said and done I had ridden a water logged 131.59 miles. A distance record for me! Physically, I owe this all to my friend and physical therapist Deb Taylor – I could not have hit that many miles without your great care!! Mentally, I could not have done this without the amazing support of many MMTC members – especially Loretta who stood out there in the rain on Saturday cheering Kim, me, and our teams on each loop. She also came back out, after I snuck home, with hot chocolate (with marshmallows) and double stuff Oreos – serves me right. To Chip for organizing the Sunday morning run, to Dawn for staying on the course to cheer us up that damn hill each loop, and of course to my family for letting me disappear yet again for another event and being there to cheer me on with cowbells no less!
So for the fish part – apparently Omega III Fish Oil pills stuffed into your rain jacket during the perfect storm, um, well disintegrate and leave you smelling like the fish monger. 5 washings and still everything smells gross.
Thank you to all the donors for your amazing contributions!!
Yours in cheery sore booty!!
Bryan M. McMillan