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Graceland (Memphis) to Tunica (MS) MS150 Report(35 posts)

Graceland (Memphis) to Tunica (MS) MS150 ReportJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 6:02 AM
my third year doing this ride.

day 1: windy, overcast to some blue skies, 80*F or thereabout. 7:30 AM (central) rollout for 81 miles from Elvis Presley's Graceland (a parking lot adjacent) to Tunica, Mississippi, where we'd stay in a casino hotel and rollout for 70 miles the next morning (at 7:30 AM).

the figure i heard for participation was ~560, which i believe was a record.

some of the regular gang had ridden a double century, 130, or 100-miler two weeks ago, and a century last weekend, either in training or in support of our local club's annual century, so this was the third weekend of "long" rides.

day 1 started fairly fast in pacelines through the lumpy hills of southwest tennessee and north mississippi. i met Dave Hickey in the parking lot, and caught up with him later when working to catch up with my riding buds, but we seemed to miss each other coming & going the rest of the weekend. that Look's a beauty, though.

day 1 we were the second pack to finish. i had about 22 mph for the first 80 miles (working more than not, but enjoying some draft, and spending a little time off the bike at stops). we went out for a complementary 20 more miles, where my average came down a bit from stop lights near the casinos, traffic, and dodging other riders. day 1, 100.49 miles, 4:54, 20.5 mph avg, with about an hour off the bike.

on day 1 the lead pack finished with an average speed of 23 mph, parked the bikes, and went for a run. better them than me.

that night we consumed massive quantities and enjoyed a free outdoors concert at another casino: Billy Idol. it was entertaining. i was a big fan, growing up. not disappointing.

day 2 we mostly took it easy going back, though i screwed around getting water before the start and missed the start by a few minutes. SpecialTater and i chased them down; it took a little under 30 minues to catch them, by which time we'd gone 10 miles (22.5 mph) and had grown from 2 riders to pulling a train of, well, a few more than 2 riders. :) the pack was traveling at around 20 mph when we got on, and it must've been strung out for 1/4 mile, about 50 riders strong. day 2, 67.10 miles, 3:35, 18.7, with about 35 minutes off the bike. today i'm kinda sore.

this is the #1 best supported ride i've ever done (thus my ongoing participation), though dinner/breakfast still leave alot to improve. they've raised participation (entry) prices and other related fees in the last 2 years, but it's all for a good cause. yes, there were many many many dangerous riders, as every year. one has to be very cautious, even at the end of both days.

pics to follow. Dave, SpecialTater, and MemphisCC, chime in here anytime.

most parked bikes gently on the groundJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 6:05 AM
these pics are all from the start, as the camera's too bulky to carry on the bike (3 yo).
team pictureJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 6:09 AM
FedEx recruited a large "team"; this year, they took a still picture, and were also caught on video frequently throughout the ride, starting here. Dave Hickey is probably in this group someplace, as he drove in from TX to ride with the FedEx "team".

the truck on the right (i think) was used to ferry 1 bag per rider from start to day 1 finish. logistics were impeccable.

note the plane in the background. i think that's the Lisa Marie (not sure). we were across the street from Graceland, home and final resting place of Elvis Pretzel.
hurry up and waitJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 6:11 AM
there were only 3 porta-potties at the start (for ~600 people). the lines were looong. many riders were making "alternate arrangements".

there's another airplane.
'Memphis CC' getting ready to rollJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 6:14 AM
I took most of these pics from a moving bike, so they're nebulous enough to protect anonymity if so desired. here's RBR community member "Memphis CC" getting ready for the ride. he finished day 1 with the front pack. he was riding for the International Paper "team", a new group this year that worked in conjunction with FedEx to organize training rides, and fundraising efforts. that was a pretty sharp jersey (i like green).
'Memphis CC' getting ready to rollMemphis CC
Sep 22, 2003 6:34 AM
Just to clarify--

That's RC (not sure of his screen name) not CC, same last name (not related)

I was nowhere near the first finishers, I believe that RC finished at least 2.5 hours before I did.

Great weekend, lots of social fun, really good ride.

I really liked heading down the hill into the Mississippi Delta much better (41 mph) than going back up in on Sunday morning (closer to 5 or 6 mph)
AHA! i had your screen names confused...JS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 6:47 AM
check the club website later today for some updated FC centry pics. there are some nice ones of you supplied by Dr. S.

I think RC posts as "memphis"; i got your handles confused.

not sure what my top speed on day 1 was (going down that hill), but i'm pretty certain i have 50 pounds on you, and was able to get into a pretty good aero tuck. i'm often passed on hills going up, but ya better be careful when it's downhill, or flat and windy, 'cuz they're all fighting to get behind me. :)
SAG & sweep vehiclesJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 6:16 AM
2-dr ford rangers were employed by volunteers from AutoZone (memphis HQ i think) all along the route. we'd rarely ride 10 miles without seeing one going each direction along the route. top-notch rolling support. we got rained on during day 2, and they were frequently seen carrying riders in the truck beds back to Graceland.
SpecialTater! (last pic)JS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 6:18 AM
here's RBR community member SpecialTater, getting ready for his day 1 of his first MS150. Tater rode strong both days, and enjoyed BBQ and suds after the ride.
Loads of funSpecialTater
Sep 22, 2003 7:09 AM
and a great cause. I was really hurting Saturday night so we skipped the "White Wedding" and went to bed early. I averaged 19.7 over 80 on the way down and 18.7 for the ride back. Weird that Thursday I died averaging 18.7 over 26 and felt really good for 70 on Sunday.

Other notes:
Riding 40 miles in the rain was new to me and not as bad as I expected.
I'm impressed by the "newbies" on the $100 mountain bikes that had the will to finish this thing. I can't imagine......
Only one or two "issues" with people not getting out of our way (riding 2 abreast and not yielding).
Everyone was better behaved than I expected and the organizers made a point to tell everyone about staying single file, don't litter, etc and it seemed to make a difference.

All the volunteers are to be commended. These people (50-100 I would guess) seemed extremely enthusiastic about supporting MS and us. We at least had the fun of doing something we love... I felt a little selfish seeing their enthusiasm and hard work all day and all night and all day again. Riding in a SAG truck at 10mph, sitting at a SAG tent in the rain all day and dealing with ego/testosterone driven cyclists ;) is not how I would choose to spend a weekend.

Thanks, J, for pulling us in Sunday. Had a great time.

More ride pictures should be available in the next week or so from the photographer.
re: thursday vs. saturday/sundayJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 7:21 AM
remember that thurday night our route is hilly, and the pace is usually set by someone else, usually with the intent to break everyone else's legs.

saturday it was hilly at first and flatter at the end, then the reverse on sunday. long flat windy straight roads are ideal for folks like M, E, and me, and promote big groups and paclines driven by "flatland specialists". this gives an opportunity to sit in on a 20mph group while maintaining a 16mph effort, saving the legs for later.

I suspect the first 10 miles boosted your average a bit, also; i was impressed at your ability to maintain that speed, dodging comfort bikes, in a crosswind.

keep up the good work!
re: thursday vs. saturday/sundaySpecialTater
Sep 22, 2003 7:38 AM
I suspect the first 10 miles boosted your average a bit, also; i was impressed at your ability to maintain that speed, dodging comfort bikes, in a crosswind

If you had looked back, you would know why. I was in a serious tuck almost completely out of the wind about 2" off your rear wheel.

I agree with everything else you said, but Thurs was an especially bad day for me. I'm still trying to figure out if it was something I ate or what... It wasn't just my average speed, it was how badly I felt during and after the ride.
;-) nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 7:41 AM
Did you get the picsSpecialTater
Sep 22, 2003 7:46 AM
I sent last night? Email me at work if you have any questions.
yup, thanks! nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 10:16 AM
Sep 22, 2003 7:49 AM
A personal thank you to all of the volunteers and riders in this years MS150. The suport was awesome and the event seemed to go without a hitch(except for getting an elevator down Sun. morning!).I heard "woohoos" in my sleep last night(those who rode know what I'm talking about!).This was my first year to ride and I'm looking forward to next year already.Thanks again to all organizers,SAG volunteers and riders who took part in raising money for a great cause.
re: Woohoo!!!!JS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 8:30 AM
woohoo and air horns were my only serious complaints this year. the yelling thing was ok on day 1 but got old on day 2, and the airhorns were never ok.

glad you had a nice ride. did we ride together?
re: Woohoo!!!!eggshell
Sep 22, 2003 12:39 PM
we may have at some point. I was a first timer with team FedEx.Didn't know many of the riders on our team since I don't work there. I was on a litespeed and my riding buddy on a Douglas Ti.I'm looking for riding group. Do you ride with the Hightailers? Ditto the airhorns. I could have done without those!
yupJS Haiku Shop
Sep 23, 2003 6:26 AM
yes i lead 3x mhbc rides per week, and was riding with the gang on the ms150. if you were at the front of the second pack on day 1 or 2, we were riding together. black monococque CF bike with black open pros (no decals on frame or wheels), aero bars, white helmet. don't remember your bikes, but i typically don't pay much attention to bikes unless there's something unusual or they're a rare breed.

you would have recognized our group; i'm the shortest one at 6-foot, the others are quite a bit taller. i rode both days with a pretty tall guy on a blue trek y-foil.
My headache just returnedSpecialTater
Sep 22, 2003 9:31 AM
thanks for THAT memory that was repressed by sushi and japanese beer last night...

I could hear her on the 28th floor Sat afternoon (while J and JK were doing the additional 20 miles). Speaking of 28 floors, I had to walk down 28 flights to make the ride time that morning. That part sucked.
A couple more pics.....Dave Hickey
Sep 22, 2003 9:58 AM
As J said, It was a very well supported ride. I wish I had more time to spend with JS but he's just too damn fast!!:-)
It was worth the trip to Memphis....
Team FedEx.Dave Hickey
Sep 22, 2003 10:05 AM
Beautiful Mississippi roads...Dave Hickey
Sep 22, 2003 10:07 AM
The old guy that couldn't keep up with JS.Dave Hickey
Sep 22, 2003 10:09 AM
Pic of me before the day 2 start....
Oh yeah!, I know you now!Memphis CC
Sep 22, 2003 10:25 AM
Hi Dave--

I had the pleasure of riding pace line with you for quite a while in the rain on Sunday, you and I pulled each other up a few hills.
What color jersey/bike?Dave Hickey
Sep 22, 2003 10:33 AM
Sunday flew by. I really didn't mind the rain....
white jersey, red lettering, red Scattante bike (nm)Memphis CC
Sep 22, 2003 10:35 AM
Absolutely... Thanks for the pulls..Dave Hickey
Sep 22, 2003 10:47 AM
I wish we could have figured it out at the time. It really was a good time..
payback rideJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 10:13 AM
this year and the end of last year, most of the crew submitted to my incessant pestering to ride longer and longer distances, poor weather, racing, travel, running, you know the score. this is the "big one" for many of these folks.

others like "A" use this ride (admirably) to pull along their friends who train all year solely for the 150, or (a higher calling) to work domestique for riders with MS (as i believe "A" actually did this year).

it was my job (perhaps self-appointed) going into this one to provide the flatland express to those who i've fooled into double centuries, climbing hundreds, 'cross racing, puke-fest climbs four hours from home, and generally any other rides done in poor taste and at a high level of suffering, at my urging.

in the near future it's my turn to drive to texas and bring the fixie and we'll cover some serious ground. wonder what HTHH would be like in 42x14 (?)...
You have an open invite my friend.....Dave Hickey
Sep 22, 2003 10:18 AM
HHH or the RFR would be great on a fixie. Anytime you want to come.....
I'm a fed ex employeerubendc19
Sep 22, 2003 11:14 AM
is that team only in tennesse area, I live in NJ but I don't see anything about up here? Anyone with info!
start hereJS Haiku Shop
Sep 22, 2003 11:47 AM

as far as i know it's local.
Yeah your right....... that sux..........rubendc19
Sep 22, 2003 2:39 PM
just a blastmemphis cutter
Sep 22, 2003 10:01 PM
I'm Rick Carpenter, formally "memphis", now "memphis cutter" (see "Breaking Away") Hey, I'm originally from South Central Indiana and I ride a bike. Close enough.

Riding all summer with J and the gang set the stage for making this ride a blast, for me and several other relatively new roadies.

At the beginning of the year, to do the MS150 fairly fast and comforatably was a stretch goal for me.

I ended up selfishly just going for speed on day one and achieved a 3 hr. 53 min. ride time (21 mph), 4 hr. 7 min. total time, for the 81.5 miles. This old cutter was thrilled with that. I drafted behind various friendly fast dudes at least two thirds of the ride. Got dropped for awhile but then the fast dudes had a couple of flats so I got to ride with them again for the last 20 miles of the ride.

There was a lot of wonderful camaraderie amongst the riders that was bolstered by the annoyingly persistent yet contagious positivivity flowing from the volunteers.

Also, in appearance and riding style, Dave Hickey was one smooth dude to ride along with.

CC Memphis, Dr S, Andy and many of my other friends appeared to have great rides as well.

Back at 'cha. Real nice meeting you......nmDave Hickey
Sep 23, 2003 3:29 AM