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Saturday, September 8, 2001 - Sunday, September 9, 2001 -- Lewisburg, WV
WV Country Roads MS 150 Bike Tour (iPO Event Id#: 3036)
Photos and story by Brad Yurish and Karen Diehl

[Details] [Coverage] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3]

The sun sets on a day of riding in West Virginia
On the morning of Saturday, September 8, 2001, nearly 200 cyclists gathered at the Osteopathic School in Lewisburg, WV for the annual MS Country Roads 150 Ride. Greeted by race coordinators who handed out maps and numbers, cyclists were treated to a light breakfast and various freebies such as water bottles and chap-stick. Cyclists stacked their bags for the overnight at Snowshoe (transported there by the National Guard) and readied themselves for the first leg of their journey--75 miles for the road riders, taking them to Cass, and 60 miles for the trail riders, taking them to Marlinton.

A mass start at 8:00 a.m. found road and trail riders together for the first few miles, and the two groups eventually split and went along on their own journey. The road riders went their first eight miles on windy, bumpy roads, stopping at the first aid station at a local church, and then coasted down the long hill to Anthony.

Road Ride
You had the choice of heading up the road...
The morning was slightly cool, with fog so heavy it clung to your arm hairs and gathered on your helmet to drop all at once onto your nose. Early aid stations were welcomed as much for a paper towel to blow your nose as for the food and drink they provided! Road and Trail riders once again met up at Anthony (a.k.a. the New Orleans fortune tellers!). It was here, apparently, that a new participant entered the race--a stray dog which proceeded to follow bikers for most of the rest of the day- at least the next 35 miles!

From Anthony, road riders encountered their first climb, up and over Gunpowder Ridge, where the view was obscured by the fog (but a definite treat the next day). They were then treated to riding in the Monongahela National Forest on roads that wound through the forest and ran beside the Anthony Creek and Blue Bend scenic area, giving them a taste of what the trail riders saw much of the day. Riders followed Anthony Creek on Rt. 92 for many miles, almost to its headwaters.

Lunch was provided in the scenic Rimel Picnic Area at mile 41, and consisted of cold cuts, pasta salad, apple sauce, and chips. Much of the riding before lunch and after lunch (Rt. 92) was in the "Mon" and is no doubt some of the most scenic riding the state has to offer. With a beautifully clear day (after the fog!) one could see miles and miles of forested hills. Here, the stray dog was fed a peanut butter sandwich, drank some water, and continued on his way. We last spotted him when we passed him, still running toward Cass, just after lunch!

Trail Ride
...or hammering down the trail
Road riders ended their first day at the Cass firehouse and were transported by bus and private vehicles up to Snowshoe. Some brave riders, like the team of doctors from Charleston, continued on their way and rode all the way up to Snowshoe! Once there, riders checked into their room, browsed the $5 jerseys for sale by Good Stuff and wandered around the beautiful Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Many sore riders were treated to a massage on the back deck next to the Shavers Center with an incredible view of the mountains in the background. A much needed spaghetti dinner was then set up in the Shavers Center. Awards were presented for a few categories: number of flat tires (winner had 4), "best" road rash, team riders, and of course, money raised for MS. There was also a raffle for various prizes, leading up to a bike donated by Ridge Rider of Charleston.

After dinner, Ron Sowell, Director of the Mountain Stage Band, treated cyclists and volunteers to foot-stomping, hand-clapping tunes well into the night. Taking advantage of the mountainous scenery, a fire was built below the Shavers Center where cyclists could go and roast marshmallows and make Smores. They were told, if they were lucky, they might be treated to a visit from the local black bear, who the week before had made off with a bag of marshmallows! Fully fed and entertained, most riders retired early in anticipation of the next day's ride.

Sunday's ride started off again in the pea soup fog at Cass. The ride back took a few different roads, which served to keep the beautiful scenery coming at the riders all day. Just as riders would come to the top of a hill, incredible mountain scenery would come into view and all the pain in the legs (and rear-ends, too) would go away.

View of WV
Either way the scenery was fantastic
Cyclists were treated to another beautiful day on Sunday, the warm sunny weather helped make the barbeque all the more wonderful as riders arrived back in Lewisburg. Everyone received a warm welcome from the crowd, as cheers and the ringing of bells showed they knew that each cyclist had just ridden many, many miles for a great cause. The barbeque was nothing less than gourmet, with great chicken, a wonderful pasta salad, and grilled vegetables (Note: authors would love to have this recipe!). Everyone went home knowing that they had really accomplished something, both in cycling 150 miles, and in helping those with MS live better lives.

With the help of 191 cyclists, over $100,000 was raised, 89% of which goes toward local programs and national research to benefit the more than 2,400 people affected by MS in the West Virginia area. At Saturday's dinner, cyclists opened envelopes with pins featuring the "Future Face of MS," and they were blank. Cyclists rode back to Lewisburg on Sunday wearing those blank pins knowing they had made that vision more of a reality.

Many, many thanks go out to the wonderful sponsors of this year's event, including Dow, BB&T, and iller Lite.