MS150-CITRUS TOUR 2009 May 16, 17 2009

April 17, 2009-the madness returns... may 16 & 17, 2009.
Dear Robyn,

Thank you for registering for the 2009 bike MS Ride!

Our 10,000 clients and their loved ones are counting on you to ride, provide, create awareness, and inspire. The dollars you raise will help fund research, as well as programs and services, for people living with MS.

One of the most dramatic ways increase the effectiveness of your fundraising is to start or join a team for the bikeMS Ride. Training for the event and collecting donations is always easier (and more fun!) when you have team members to help.

Contact Ryan Bumgardner at today to change your registration to that of a team captain or team member - and together we can all ride closer to a cure for multiple sclerosis!

Unite in the fight against MS and pedal on with the knowledge that your efforts mean the world to those living with MS. Whether pedaling your bike, raising funds, or volunteering, the bikeMS Ride is truly...HUMAN POWERED!

April 23, 2009

am i training? am i training hard? AM I FALLING????

yes yes NO

sunday: 31 miles on the van fleet trail
monday: 29 miles out at the airport. no one i recognized showed for the group ride.
tonight: 29 miles out at the airport. on the 2nd loop, played 'catch the wheel' with a guy i thought was a member of my ride group, but turned out to be a triathlete in training. we took turns passing each other, then did the 3rd loop together, talking bikes, racing, trails, injuries and all the other sort of stuff that bores those not afflicted with the addiction.

got home after open mic [where i trolled for dollars. chaz asked: why do you ride? i answered. see MSblog]
found out i am perilously close to hitting my mark.
if i go over, i will set a new goal. what shall i do to torture myself if that is hit? ride a century? 100 miles, FYI.


you vote with dollars.

we raise $250, i dye my hair purple. permanent dye, will last 6 weeks, until it is time to start training for the MS150 cycle to the shore.

we raise, oh i dunno, significantly more, i ride a century.

i must be crazy.

photos from my mon/wed ride group.

April 23, 2009-More eloquent than i'll ever be

i ride a road bike, but at heart i'm cyclocross. i love rain, mud, getting dirty, falling down.
i do NOT like getting hurt, so i ride my slick little synapse six13 and ride safe.

so i read DirtRag. yeah, i read ROAD [heck i won a cannondale Quick in an essay contest they ran] and Bicycling, FatCyclist, Team Armada, the Chain Gang, Jackie's Racing Blog, too, but i drool over DirtRag.

then i read the "Last Chance for Gas" in issue 140 of DirtRag

"Wheelchair vs Singletrack mind-Chair Loses!" by Jody Beard who has MS, but rides in the MS150 where she lives.

That's why.

if there was link, i'd post if. if you'd like a copy, email me your address and i'll send out a photocopy, snail mail.

April 25, 2009

hello everyone

this week: biked sunday monday wed, friday: friday's ride, 29 miles up and down and up and down the hills of clermont. spared myself sugarloaf but did the smaller hills around it. will force myself to do sugarloaf during the week. remind myself that as painful as it is climbing the beast at 8 mph, the thrill of going down at 35-39 mph justifies it-especially if i don't wipe out!

i've attached the article i mentioned a few days ago, scanned it in.

who says i don't order people around? kinder gentler robyn is just a vicious rumor.
i am, to quote the urban assault boys, A BEAST. an old grizzled beast, but still a beast.

now then. i've had one or two friends ask what they have to do to donate. these are the steps:

click on the link below,

my participant center will open. on the right hand side is a thermometer with a grey banner at the top.
click on the "Donate to Robyn" at the top of that box.
on the donation page, enter the amount you'd like to donate.
if you work for a company that matches [do they still exist?] enter the name in the employer box.
finish the credit card/bank account info.


only another $56 to purple hair...


By Jody Beard

Illustration by Scott Hendenson

Wheelchair vs. Singletrack Mind -"Chair loses!"

Post-race blues. Just not feeling right. Coming down from the emotional/adrenaline high of Sunday. The whole experience blissful and cathartic to say the least.

So I'm going through the motions. Doing the deal at work. Dialing numbers and asking for money. I'm talking at this lady named Brenda. I barf the script on her and ask if she would like to match her last gift of $5. She says this: "I have MS and I'm having vertigo right now and my right arm is numb, but as soon as I'm feeling better I will send that in. In an instant I saw my future. My first impulse was to say, "Yeah, me too," but I couldn't make myself say it. There is part of me that is instantly repulsed when I hear people say they have it. Most days I can carry on and not focus on it too much. The way it affects me isn't so visible to the untrained eye. But today, if you looked close you could see that I choked back the tears for the rest of the shift, not able to shake the image that Brenda's words evoked in my mind.

This is exactly why my bike is so important to me. I was so depressed when I got home from work that I couldn't t see anything good in the future. Nursing homes. Alone. Seriously, who would consider a relationship with someone who has this time bomb ticking inside of them? More like land mines releasing at random, wherever they choose, affecting whatever they want. I try to take the best possible care of myself. I have no vices anymore. So this is where the bike comes into play...

I know as soon as this ride is done and I've left these lies or, the trail, life will be good again. I clip into those pedals and after a few miles I'm no longer diseased of mind and body, I drop that wheelchair after the first mile, covered in dust fc can't keep up with me. The fingers of fear lose their hold as the wind rips it from my back. The sun burns it up and my sweat repels it. The whistling from cutting through the air mutes Brenda's voice and all I can hear is my tread on the trail With each turn of the crank it gets weaker as I get stronger. I'm pulling away from it now. Beating it to the finish. I air strong; I am able, and maybe even beautiful.

There are people who love me, who at times have tried to sway me on the biking thing. Afraid I'll get hurt or, I'm sick so I shouldn't. To them I say this: Take away my bike and you take away my life. It is my friend, my doctor, my therapist and my professor. It is my act of worship. It is what keeps me here. CD

April 27, 2009

my co-author, gene, says people need to have their masochistic needs met, that they can do this by being involved in BDSM, otherwise indulging in submissive behavior or by getting stuck in self-destructive life cycles.

anyone who has stayed in a bad marriage for too long because they didn't see a reason to leave understands this. the battering, psychological or physical, fulfils certain needs, if only that it's such a relief when it stops.

"doctor, my head hurts when i bang it against the wall."
"so stop already."
"oh doctor, you're a genius."

where, pray tell, am i going with this?

still dealing with fallout from my own escape [see early entries to my blog if you're interested in the screwed up state of my former life] i have to satisfy my masochistic needs in other ways.

and i do it for a cause, i force myself to suffer because i raise money for MS.

how much suffering? well, if training 8-10 hours a week and clocking 150 or more miles the weekend of the MS150 isn't enough, i am opening myself to public amusement.

i raise enough money, i'll dye my hair purple.

wanna help?

go to the site, click on the banner at the top of the thermometer. i WILL post a photo here if i end up with purple hair.

and read the posts there, why i do it. i'm 2 degrees of separation from 3 persons with MS. scares the life out of me. doesn't follow any patterns, no genetic markers, it strikes.

oh great, there go the waterworks.

May 1, 2009

wed night rode ONLY 26 miles. go to the ride late, sending emergency faxes, and then THE WIND!

so once it got dark, i said, enough, i'll make it up tomorrow.

which i did. 50 miles on thurs, mostly flat terrain, minimal wind. it was like riding on a stationary bike, that easy and smooth. got to test out my new cycling shorts, too, see if they'll be comfortable for the Ride. i am overrun with cycling clothes at the moment, as the recipient of a full cannondale kit. no sign of the Quick yet, but i've been told by a few bike shops that it's been on back order.
[stares out window] could be me in jody's article. could be you.
forget about 'use it or lose it' let's move it while we can, grateful that we can.

and yes i hit my goal. i'll post a photo this weekend, the last you'll see of me [for a while anyway] with auburn hair.
stay tuned next week at the same time, same MS station for PURPLE HAIR, THE RIDE OF A LIFETIME.
you can still help a wonderful cause that is closer than you think. ask around. i can guarantee less than 6 degrees of separation

May 11, 2009

sunday: how do i celebrate mother's day? a 35 mile ride in the cool of the evening. sounds lovely, right?
going to take the cady way trail to the seminole trail, maybe even fo up past the notorious tunnel underpass that's on the other side of the street from the rest of the trail... yes it's city riding, which means LOTS of intersections, but it's a TRAIL, there are SIGNAL LIGHTS which should equal vehicular safety.
never underestimate the stupidity or arrogance of an orange county, florida driver. NEVER.
stop at an intersection. unclip to reset my shoes. biking partner presses the button to cross the street.
light turns GREEN for us and all the other cyclists and pedestrians and RED for the cars. this is a four lane street with a island between the north and south bound lanes. they go, i'm still messing with my shoes. the little flashing guy starts to countdown, 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, they're at the island, i start to roll,
ZOOM! a minivan barrels through the red light, passing the cars in the adjacent lane who were stopped, missing the front wheel of biking partner who swerved. i had visions of blood, guts, broken bones, smashed bike frame.
minivan keeps right on going, despite curses, honking of other cars, screams of bystanders et al, and stops at the next intersection
i wish i'd ridden up to the van to snap a picture of it's plate, but i was trying not to vomit.
we were obeying all the laws, and my friend could have been killed.
if the family with the stroller had been going east instead of west, they could have been killed too.
you know what's the worst about this? it's not atypical of the local drivers.

monday: blazing hot today, was 91 degrees at 5:30. going out to the airport anyway, i want to do 30 miles after being inside on the computer all day.
i see lightning. and rain. lots of lightning and rain. i'm driving right into it.
i'll ride in rain, i've ridden in downpours, but riding in lightning is just plain dumb.
rain eases off, but it's still overcast. i meet my group, big debate, ride, don't ride. i want to rack more miles, hey guys, i'm going to do a loop, see how it is, if it stays clear or not. one of the guys drives up, says there is hail down at the turnaround, watch the sky AND the road. i'm doing 14, 15, killer headwind. it dies down and suddenly i am SAILING along at 23, 24, 25 mph, just flying, it's a rush, it's smooth, i'm in the zone, up down up down,reach the turnaround, no hil, but DAMN! that wind is head on and there's a rise, back down to 12, come on, get past the intersection, then i can push it back to 17, okay, 18, 19, oh wow, this feels so good, still into the wind, but i am moving, it's why i do this, the power, i can make my body do anything. splat splat splat splat.
what's that noise? what's that clicking feeling in my front? please don't tell me i've got a flat. i've had one flat in all the mileage i'v racked the last 4 years [about 4800 or so FYI ]
I have a flat. and it's raining again. i ride another mile, decide i'll walk the bike the last 2-3 miles back to my car, i don't want to damage the tire and i don't want to change a flat in the rain on the side of the road. i can do it in the comfort of my living room, in dry clothes. riding buddy comes up [only other person in the group who decided to ride, but he's one of my urban assault buddies, long as there's no protruding bones it's all good]
'c'mon rob, you can change that!' 'yeah i could, but i don't feel like doing it in the rain.' 'ill do it, i'm faster than you. [he already has my wheel off the bike and is strippng the tire] you got an extrainner tube in that kit?'
'here. okay you don't need the levers. and here's a CO2 cartridge and the adapter. thank you.' 'oh man. your tube? that's the wrong size. [my bike falls over, the contents of my kit all out-all my painkillers etc] that's gotta be for your mountain bike. wait you have a patch kit? cool.' he checks the inside of the tire wth his fingers, spinning it, looking for fragments of anything. does the same to the inner tube, then holds it to his ear, listening for the whistle of escaping air. debrades the spot where a sliver of metal? caused a leak, stick the patch on, replaces in the tire, inflates with cartridge. 'you should be okay for a few days, but i dunno about this weekend. and your front tire is starting to wear. get that checked. pick up some innner tubes the right size.' 'yes sir. thank you.' 'eh, no computer cables were needed to effect this repair. no biggie.'
got back to my car but it kinda killed my enthusiams for the night. picked up ice cream at baskin robbins
[88 cents for kiddie scoops instead of $1.99] and pigged out with the girls. cake too.

client comes to pick up her files this morning. her brother-in-law is doing a charity ride, nyc to washington DC this weekend. we chat cycling, why is my hair lavender, what charity? i tell her MS, pass her the brochure, that it's my 2nd long ride. her cousin was just diagnosed, mid 30's, 3 kids, 8, 6 and a year. how is she going to hold her baby when the muscle tremors start? what condition will she be in when her oldest graduates high school? her youngest? will the meds help her enough? does she have the slow moving or fast moving MS?

and i get back on the bike while i can.


i'll dmit it. i try to be blithe. i am dead serious about this. wanna be scared? read the prognosis reports.

May 16, 2009


up and down and up and dpwn and upand down...

repeat for 100 miles, give or take a few...

ROLLOUT: 7:15 am, i leave after the large teams leave.

go 2 miles.

split for the 50 mile option. i go right, to the 75/100 mile option
not many people taking the 75/100 route. do they know something i don't know?
yes, i drove it yesterday. i KNOW it has almost as many hills as clermont and the roads are rough, full of potholes but still...
i go another mile. coasting downhill, sharp right turn at the bottom of the hill AND THERE'S A SPEEDBUMP AT THE TURN
i coast around it, go another half mile.
splat splat splat splat
i had my tire checked, the inner tube replaces and aired. it CAN'T be flat again.
splat splat splat splat
i pull over, unclip. my front tire is FINE. my rear tire, gear cartridge and all is flat as a pancake.
great. 3-1/2 miles and i have a flat. this does not bode well.
remove wheel, start to lever off the tire. guy pulls over, you need got an inner tube? you need a pump?
yes, thank you [i have a CO2 cartridge but real air lasts]
my inner tube is folded on itself, no idea how that is possible.
changed, back on the road. get to the 13 mile point, the split for the 75 and 100 mile routes
new friend: hey you wanna do the century option, i've never done one?
me: me neither. let's do it.
so we do. and then we rejoin the 75 and 50 mile riders and hit the hill.
up and down and up and down and up and down.
and we did it. despite the flat, despite the horrendous wind, despite the hills, despite the 4 car accident on 535.
despite the intense sun from noon until i finished at 2:40 [i am SO burnt]
elles met me at the finish with a beautiful sign: my mommy is the one with the purple hair [will post later]
em looked bored.
lizz came to the dinner with me. at the ceremony: so that's why you do this mommy?
yeah sweetie. i started out wanting to prove something about me, that i could do this. and now? it morphed. now its become a personal vendetta. a mission. you know, you don't have to ride to volunteer lizz.

i'm off to apply lotion and sleep.
i get to do it again tomorrow.

i'm so lucky.

May 17, 2009

dear readers,

i'm recovered. i think. sitting here, stomach not spasming, no more muscle tremors, rib belt warpped around my midriff, no more symptoms of dehydration or erratic blood pressure, yeah, recovered.

it's time, overtime, to relate the tales of the second day of the Citrus MS150.

i woke up, early sunday morning, off to the caribe royale. there's a part of me that regrets not springing for the $150 [special rate plus obscene hotel taxes which i should be grateful tourists pay to support out local economy] for the room as the hotel has top notch amenities, including a meandering pool with a waterfall. elles would have loved it and it would have saved me a whole 10 minute drive! huh. no, no justification possible.

breakfast in the banquet room is surprising. there are packaged muffins, bagels, crackers [???] coffee, tea. no juice, here in orange county, where i pick bushels of oranges almost any day of the week just by stopping on the west orange trail or down along 27?
we go out back, form groups. there are three trucks on the right hand side with air pumps. long lines of riders, waiting to air up. i move over to the middle, getting that tingle as i await rollout. the whistle blows, click click, the distinctive sound of cyclists snapping into their pedals, i breathe a little deeper, one foot in, other pushing off, and i'm out, onto the street, making a left onto 535 south, traffic stopped at 536. the tourists must be wondering at this odd procession that seems to go on forever. is this a typical sunday in orlando? a sunrise parade for their benefit, not dissimilar to the parasol drill at disney's grand floridian or the tape cutting ceremony at the magic kingdom? one of the sheriffs announces, this is the Citrus MS150, folk. local fundraiser for multiple sclerosis. few more minutes. just be patient and we'll all be moving again.
exactly. we'll all be moving.
i'm in a group of riders doing 16 mph. but it's flat here, windless, and i'm charged so i start moving up. going over to the left, we have the whole right lane so there is lots of room to pass a double paceline here. i move up to a heart of florida group, an aetna group, a price waterhouse group, moving up steadily for the first 5 miles or so until i settle in with forever florida group [i like their jerseys. they have cypress cove as one of their sponsors. most of the riders have no clue what cypress cove is. cypress cove serves the best tuna salad in the orlando area!] which is moving along at 18-22 mph, sometimes clocking up to 24. even, steady. i skip the first rest stop, i've only gone 10 miles, don't want to break my rythm. the second stop is at 22 miles out, that'll work.
i pull over into the 2nd stop, stretch my legs. my thighs are tight from yesterday's century. i've ridden almost that far before, but never that far with hills and wind. my hydration pack is filled with electrolyte fluids, much more dilute than the specs on the package, as i can't stand flavored drinks. this will cut down on the taste and the 'fuzziness' in my mouth from the sorbitol.
i pull out my phone and realize i've gone 22 miles in 1 hour and 3 minutes. that's fast. i've stopped for lights, crossed railroad tracks, changed lanes, and still covered 22 miles?
pride goes before a fall.
i reclip and ride off into the bright sun. it's only 8:30 but the day promises to be another scorcher. the route has no tree shaded paths or cool ocean breezes, just gravel, heat shimmer and hills. i continue sipping from my pack, have to keep myself hydrated, prevent muscle cramps, blood sugar/pressure fluctuations, but the taste is getting stronger, stimulating my gag reflex.
as i pass the next stop, the 33 mile point, where the lunch stop was yesterday, it occurs to me i might be in trouble. the first few hills, i'd gone up at 14, 16 mph, flying past other riders. i have a personal vendetta against hills, bridges. if i can't beat them flat with a marble rolling pin, i'll beat them into submission on my bike. i STILL may not have style, grace, speed, but i DO still have stubborn. but now, the hills were getting higher. i was losing fluids faster than i could replace them.
i reached the top of the hill at the 40 mile point and pulled over to drink. took a swallow of liquid and threw it up. tried the cappuchino blend in my water bottle, a really yummy fluid that is oh-so-good-for-you. that ends up on the ground too.
great. i'm displaying classic signs of sun prostration. dry skin, inability to ingest fluids, dry eye, nausea, dizziness.
i look out from the summit, bok tower in the distance, floating on moat of clouds.
i know that at the base of this hill is the turnoff point, where i can take the 50 mile route or the 75 mile route. if i take the 50 mile route, i'll be at bok tower in 40 minutes or so. if i take the 75, i'll be out here for another 2-1/2 hours.
i look down. riders have been passing me, calling out, are you okay, do you help, do you need the SAG [support and gear-they have fixit stuff or can transport you if you're sick or crash] vehicle? i've waived them on, leaning on a signpost, fighting the nausea.
almost every rider is taking the 50. which means that the 75 will be a very lonely course IF anything happens.
40 minutes versus 2-1/2 hours. i don't think i can last 2-1/2 hours, without a group for moral support, without even a ride companion, fighting panic. [it's amazing how having someone to ride with helps. just having someone to talk to now and then, knowing you're not the only one in the world out there in the wasteland] hills. heat. no fluids. rough road, potholes, sand.
i close my eyes. i can be stubborn or i can be smart.
for once in my life, i opt for smart.
i mount my bike and turn left, for the 50.
i want to live to ride another day, another ride, another MS150. [oct 3,4, LPGA MS150,]
i pull into bok tower, get my medallion, a bottle of water and roll over to the grass. i drink 3 bottles of water and 4 glasses of dilute gatorade. in the restroom, i pull off my jersey and look in the mirror. my skin is white with salt. i wash it off, pour cups of water over my head. i am so parched. i sit on the grass, near the coolers, drinking gatorade.
is it 12? 1? i have no idea what time it is, the last 10 miles were so painful, battling nausea, climbing hills with my bike geared down to a walk, actually walking up the last one.
it's 10:30.
it's 10:30??? i'm at bok tower and it was only 10:30? WHAT? i was that sick, in that much pain and i STILL managed to do the last 17 miles in an hour and a quarter??? i did the 50 miles in just under 3 hours? but but but
maybe i could have done the 75... no. not going to overthink this. i'm going home to sleep, which i did for the rest of the day.

From: robyn []
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 10:34 AM
Subject: Citrus MS150

to the management,

i used to be a seasonal resident at sunnyrest lodge, in pennsylvania.
i just rode in the Citrus MS150, and it gave me a thrill to see your name as one of the sponsors of team florida forever.

you guys are terrific.

robyn weinbaum

From: Ted Hadley (
Sent: Thu 5/21/09 1:41 PM

Thank you. We are happy to be sponsors.

Best regards,

Ted Hadley
Cypress Cove Resort

Florida's Most Beautiful Clothes Free Resort

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