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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

9th Annual MSR BCA Ride: Save the Twins! You Want Me to Do WHAT??

I awoke to a spectacular day! The sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was COLD!!!

Somewhere along the line, I lost the morning. I know the ladies of the Mountain Shadow Riders were up at the crack of dawn setting up and getting ready. I was....still at home. No, I wasn't trying to miss all the pre-ride set up.

I actually tried to leave...about 10 times.

Where is my hat? Found said hat.

Where is my wallet? Found said wallet.

Where are my gloves? And so on and so forth.

Finally, I have my act all together, get the motorcycle started and head down. Brrrr!! It was cold! Even at this late hour, I ride down to the Western Omlet with a half dozen motorcyclists. I wonder if they had as much trouble getting out the door as I did? Probably not!!

I pull into the parking lot and say my greetings and hello. I have to practically strong arm Gordon to get my ride t-shirt. Hahaha! Strong arm Gordon. He's about 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Has the sweetest disposition, but still. He'd squash me like a small bug...if he were so inclined to do so. Thank goodness he is so good natured!

I decide to put my ride shirt on over the many other layers. I'm running around, trying to put on a shirt and talk to my many friends and many strangers. No, I am not paying attention. Twenty minutes or so goes by and our Ms. Chapter Director wanders over and says "momma, your shirt is on backwards".

LOL...another indication of how the day is going.

As I talk my usual trash talk self, Ms. Chapter Director again wanders over (and no, my pants are on correctly) and asks....."Would you mind leading a group"?

I all about choke on my donut. Has she forgotten that I am perpetually lost? Has she forgotten that I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag if my life depended on it? Well, I could, but I'm not admitting to it!

I tell her that I would prefer not to lead a group, but if she can't find anyone else, I'll begrudgingly take the assignment. Two minutes later, she says I'm hired.

Oh boy.

I don't think she looked very hard!

I pull my bike up to the staging area and get in the leader's position. Mind you, I was on the route committee and have driven the route once.

Oh boy.

No one pulls up behind me, so I think I am off the hook. I look down the street and see this b-i-g l-o-n-g l-i-n-e of motorcycles. I have a brief thought that I am glad I'm not leading that group of folks!!

Christine......CCCCHHHHRRRRIIISSSTTTIIINNNEEEE.....I hear my name being called. It's Ms. Chapter Director and she's yelling..."your group awaits you".

Oh boy.

I pull out and around and take a short count of motorcycles. I'd say there were about 25 or so.

And I'm the lost girl.

I get my directions out, fold them up, and clench them between my teeth.

First stop is to the Bon Shopping Center by route through Garden of the Gods.

I take a deep breath, give the thumbs up, look back at everyone and pull out.

I say a short prayer...please don't get lost.

I'm sure Ms. Chapter Director has the same prayer. She better be praying for me!

Tomorrow I'll tell you how to lose all the motorcycles......

Until then....

Keep the Shiny Side Up!!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Monday, December 14, 2009

9th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Ride: Save the Twins!

The Colorado Springs Chapter of the Women on Wheels (r) puts on the Annual Breast Cancer Awareness ride on the first Saturday of October.

For those of you that have never participated in planning an event--it is a lot of hard work!! Our ride is a 'test your memory' ride. At the stops, there are questions that are asked on that leg of the stop. It's pretty difficult!!! After all, how many red lights are on the traffic signal at Peterson and Stetson Hills?? Geez!!

The chapter typically starts talking about the run in March or so. We start forming committees--advertising/pr, donations, route committee, safety, stops, and the list goes on. I typically help on the route committee and help determine the stops.

This year was no exception. The route committee usually gets together to rough out the ride. We have some parameters: number of stops (usually 4), distance (about 100 miles). We have to be careful of the traffic. The first Saturday of the month usually has an Air Force football game and TRAFFIC!! And we try to avoid the mountain area and going too far north. October in Colorado can mean cold temps and SNOW.

Our first meeting roughs out the ride and we talk about the stops. What places will accomodate 250+ motorcycles? Not that they all come in at once, but rather in groups. Not too much traffic as well as convenient parking. Not too many unprotected left turns due to turning against oncoming traffic. Avoiding hot spots. One year our route went though Old Colorady City--in the middle of some parade!!

There are some great ideas and suggestions. Eventually, a route takes shape and then the work really begins. Mileage and timing. This year the event HAS to end at 4:30 pm. We have to reverse engineer the timing and have everyone in by 3:00. It's critical for us this year since our end stop was at Cowboy's East--and their line dancing lessons start at 5:00.

Over a period of a few months, the route takes place. We map out the detailed route. Set the stops and ask permission of the local businesses if we can designate their establishment as a stop and post questions. Stops have to be spaced evenly apart and be timely and not overly complicated.

The process of riding the route starts. Various route commitee members ride the route. Count mileage and time the stops. We have to leave time for fuel stops and lunch. And still be in by 3:00.

A couple of weeks before the ride, we start collecting the questions. This year, the group set out by cage (that's car) and we officially timed the ride and hashed out the questions. Easy but not too easy. Obvious but not too much. What color was the roof of Platte Floral??

Once all the questions are finalized, they are published and sent off to the registration commitee so the packets can be assembled. You'd think we are finished.

Not so. The morning of the ride, there is a group that sets out to check the route. Making sure that the "what color is the barn on Smith Highway" question is still correct. One year it was a question and come to find out that the owners painted their barn! The nerve of them!! We also have to put up the questions on each of the stops.

The other committees have been busy too. Donations, advertising, printing, PR....all have been busy busy busy. This year the donations committee collected from over 150 sponsors in excess of $5,000 in a "down" economy! We were hoping to come close to last year....could we make another $10,000 donation for Breast Cancer Awareness??

All the work was done...all that was left was to wait for the date. October 3rd. And pray for decent weather......we did what we could.

Now all that was left was the ride.............

Until next time

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Leaving La Junta

I turn the corner and turn my attention to the task at hand. Wondering where the part of the highway that I have to hold my breath so I don't smell the cattle. As we tick up the highway, I look, and look and look...there it is!

I take a deep breath and hold it.

It seems like an eternity, but we get past it. It's a huge cattle pen and it's usually full of cattle...ready, you know. If you don't then Google is your friend!

I take a sneak peek in my rearview and I about fall off my motorcycle!! Goldwing Guy!

Geez, he must have broken all the rules--going around the platoons to pull up behind our group. I'm wondering if he will attempt to get in past the sweep.

Riding in the way back has its challenges. Especially on the highway. By the time a signal gets back to me...a day has practically passed!! Kidding, but in all seriousness, I'm feeling the rubber-band effect. Well, at least I don't have to worry about passing it back...since I AM in the back!!

It takes a lot of pressure off of me since I don't have to worry too much about keeping formation and timing. Now, I'm sure I will get fussed at if I let too much space open up between the rider in front of me, but the most part, it is pretty simple. The distance between La Junta and our next stop, Limon, is about 100 miles. So I kick back and enjoy the ride.

When we pull into Limon, I'm very good on fuel, so I decide to skip the fuel stop and immediately line up. Whooohoooo!! I get to ride behind the wing!!! My good friend Brett is riding wing, so I know it will be a nice little ride to Burlington.

I hear Goldwing Guy got a tongue lashing. And he should have, too. For the most part, rules are common sense and there for a reason. With that many motorcycles, it's just about safety.

We pull out of our fuel stop and head out to Burlington. I wish I could say it was an enjoyable ride, but it wasn't. It would have been except for the 40 mile an hour crosswind! Yikes!! That cold wind blowing up my nose was awful!!! Or the gusts that threw me out of my lane. Or the cold wind blowing up my nose! Gusts that threw me out of my lane.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Ad nauseum.......

Getting to Burlington, I am glad to be off the bike. The VFW post was the dinner stop, and it was nice to have the folks turn out and feed us. I know I was tired. I think we all were.

At this point, I knew I was glad to be going home the next day. I was done.

The next morning, I get up and load the bike up. We have a small group heading out--I take a leisurely breakfast while my friends are saying their goodbyes.

We meet up and pull out to head home. It is still pretty windy, so I'm glad that I'm in the direction of home.

It was a good ride altogether. I never did hear if Goldwing Guy ever got his act together. Hopefully he did and had a great time.

I know that there were a lot of FNGs on the ride--I think the economy was the main reason. Hopefully it won't be the case for 2010. We shall see.

This ride over--and on to the next.

Fast foward to October....and the Mountain Shadow Rider's Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. It's a least for me.

Until then,

Keep the Shiny Side Up!!

~The Rainbow Wahine