I like pickles. Especially my mom's homegrown homemade. But I never thought I'd like pickles for breakfast.
Last year's MS-150 (Bike MS) was the first time I'd noticed dill pickles being offered at a cycling rest stop. Turned my stomach. It was about 6 a.m., and I'd had a couple of hard-boiled eggs before hitting the road. Pickles did NOT sound like an appetizing way to keep my energy levels high enough to finish 75 miles in a day.
Nevertheless, pickles began showing up as an option at more and more cycling rest stops. I watched riders down what they call "pickle shots" a couple of times and wondered if they were crazy. Or just that hungry.
Riders seemed to really like pickles during a long ride.
So this year, I decided to try a couple of dill pickle slices to see what happens. I didn't try pickles for breakfast on the first morning, but I did eat a few slices at the second rest stop. I experienced no negative pickle side effects the rest of the day, so I ate several pickle slices at the first rest stop of the second day. Yes, that's right. Pickles for breakfast. Just 13 or so miles after my customary pair of hard-boiled eggs.
A little tiny bit of juice remained in the tiny cup after the pickles were down the hatch, so I decided to drink that sample sip and see what happens.
I still cannot believe I am saying this, but I liked it. I like pickle juice! Straight. Nothing to soften the blow.
So I returned to the snack table and requested a pickle shot. The volunteers cheerfully poured me a small pickle juice, maybe two ounces at most. I walked back over to my waiting teammates, who were anxiously awaiting the outcome of this crazy experiment.
In one big gulp, I swallowed the pickle juice.
And I liked it! My name is Snowcatcher, and (pause for drama), I am a pickleholic.
It's not something I'd drink with every meal, but my body must have needed something in that juice, because my stomach happily absorbed it and did not utter a single complaint. Not even a burp. No growls or anything.
The volunteers had told me some people like the antioxidants in pickles. One said pickles are a way of keeping the body's temperature lower in hot weather. The predicted high that day was 91. We members of Team Snowcatcher decided collectively it's the salt making the juice tolerable to our tummies. On a hot day, riding 75 miles is going to burn off a ton of salt in the form of sweat. I don't eat that much salt, not even the pretzels and potato chips sometimes offered at organized rides. My innards probably felt as thought I was feeding them for the first time ever. They thanked me instead of rebelling.
Mrs. Micawber slurps her first-ever pickle shot.
Thanks to all the rain we've had this year, Canada thistle is growing like, well, a weed! Tall, bushy blossoms were towering over the road in many locations along the entire MS-150 route. Now, if I can just make some time to go harvest some of those spiky magenta seed heads in a dye pot before they all go to seed. Saving millions of acres from being overrun by what is considered a noxious weed.
We'll just see how good thistle looks on yarn, and then we'll discuss noxious...
Mrs. Micawber joined us again this year, and this year, Mr. M tagged along to serve as personal SAG (Support and Gear) and even personal massage therapist.
Mrs. M has endured a challenging training season this year, having been hit from behind by a car during a training ride just a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, she met her personal goals, completing all 81 miles on Day 1, which featured some hefty windy and hot climbs, the most miles she's ever done in a day.
Can I hear a big, gigantic, loud three cheers?!?
She was so spent at the end of Day 1, but she surprised us all and got back in the saddle again on Day 2. She even tried pickle juice because I did, and she doesn't like pickles. Ever. She said the juice must have been just what her body needed. She said the juice was delicious. Do we have another pickleholic on our hands?!?
Now I'm going to be a potty mouth for a few paragraphs. I have been working hard for 12 years to raise enough money to be designated as a High Roller so I could claim, among other nice benefits, access to the High Roller-only portable facilities at each rest stop. I earned High Roller status in 2011 for raising in excess of $2,000 but was unable to ride in 2012 due to a training ride accident of my own. I got my first High Roller jersey, but I didn't get to wear it.
In 2012, I was just $5 short of High Roller status when the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society closed out their books for the year early and unannounced. Three more people had planned to donate just a few days later, but it was too late. I missed my goal by a measly $5!!!
I wasn't about to let that happen again last year, so I put out a call for help right before the books were closed out for the year, this time announced, and my loyal readers put me up and over the top. I earned my second High Roller jersey, was able to participate in this year's High Roller training ride, and this year, I got to ride the actual event as a High Roller.
HEAR ME ROAR!!!
Wearing the jersey this year was a feeling I can't even begin to describe because it was such a long time coming. At the second rest stop on Day 1, I realized I didn't have to try to wait until the end of the ride to take care of business. I didn't have to wait in a long, long, long line to take care of business.
I got to use the High Roller potty for the very first time! And boy, was this battle ever worth it!
As we were leaving the Colorado State University campus early on Day 2, I noticed something that might be of particular interest to Marigold, the GoatMother and the Goatfather. I don't remember these symbols being so appropriately adorned in the past.
Cloverton the deaf dog has been participating in this very same ride for the past three years, but I never got the chance to make acquaintance until this year. I stooped down low to get a shot of Cloverton's beautiful blue eyes...
...and Cloverton took full advantage of the head-scratching opportunity!
Cloverton got a better photo with a smartphone than I got passing my Nikon to another rider! See proof here.
This year's MS-150 was my two longest rides of the year so far. This also was the first time I've pedaled 150 miles in two days since last year's MS-150. As I approached the finish line on Day 2, I glanced at my odometer and saw the total mileage was going to be only 149 miles plus spare change. So I opted for a little detour through a very scenic residential neighborhood with a lake and a nice little climb, followed by a nice little descent. Just what the doctor ordered; my odometer had the display I desired upon completion of my ride!
Best jersey of this ride...
Mr. M snapped a photo of Team Snowcatcher before we reported to the start line on Day 1, but we forgot to get a photo with our gorgeous medals at the end of the ride on Day 2. Oops.
Doesn't stop us from shooting the medals in the comfort of our own home a day later...