Monday, May 4, 2015

Ride The Vineyard 2015

Alternate titles for this blog post. . .

Don't Just Ride, Bike MS!

or. . .

That Time I Biked 65 Miles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah that one probably has more of an impact! Now that I've spilled the beans let me tell you about Ride The Vineyard that was this past Saturday.


We all took Friday off from work and made our way to the Cape. The Bean Team riders included me, my cousin Katelyn, our friend Doug and our new friend John. Doug's wife Gretchen and my friend Michelle also came (Michelle and John use to work together so that is how he ended up on my team)! We jumped on a 2:30 ferry which got us to Martha's Vineyard by 3:30. We stayed at the Vineyard Harbor Motel which was only a 5 minute walk from the ferry. It is nothing fancy but it was clean, the staff was wonderful, it was reasonable priced and it was on the water. You can see our view in the photos below (including The Black Dog Tall Ship).

We made our way into Edgartown for a little sightseeing. Not much was open since it is still considered off season but we enjoyed ourselves anyway! We headed over to Sharky's for the Welcome Party. We picked up our numbers, shirts and got dinner. I joked that I was "carbo loading" with Mexican food and margaritas. Whatever works right!?


Ride the Vineyard has 3 routes - 20 miles, 30 miles and 60 miles. My team members were doing the 60 miles and my plan was to start out with them, get a ride in the middle to a spot toward the end, and then finish with them. As you already know that "get a ride in the middle" part didn't happen and I actually rode the entire way with them! Since we also had to ride from our motel to the start point I ended up doing a total of 65 miles! This would be 40 more miles than I had ever biked!!!!!! The map above shows the route we rode which is basically a loop around the entire island!

The 60 mile ride started at 9 AM and The Bean Team was off! There were over 600 riders in total but I would guess only about 100 for the 60 mile route. I only saw one other person wearing an "I Ride With MS" shirt at the start which made me a little nervous about what I was about to tackle!

The hardest part of the ride was early on. It was two steep hills that my body was not prepared for. That and the fact that I didn't fully understand how to operate the gears on my friend's bike and I was in trouble. It resulted in walking up a hill and catching up to my team a few minutes later. We made it to the first rest stop and I was already tired. I knew the next part was a hard part to get to the cliffs and lighthouse. I also knew that was a part of the Vineyard that I REALLY wanted to see so I set off to bike it. John, my teammate, who is Michelle's friend, had only met me the day before but you would have never known it. He treated me like an old friend and supported me through every mile especially the tough, hilly ones, on the way to Gay Head. I honestly would never have made it that far without him and his belief in me. The fact that he stayed with me and encouraged me was simply amazing. But I must admit if I heard him tell me, "You've made it through the hardest part. . . it is all downhill from here. . ." one more time I was going to slug him! Lol!

We finally made it to Gay Head Lighthouse and Doug and Katelyn were waiting for us while taking a break! I must admit I was a little disappointed in Gay Head Light. It was under construction and not as beautiful as I had made it out to be in my head. Maybe I was just delirious at this point!

We had gone about 20 miles and since we would then be circling back around to the previous rest stop my plan was to jump in a crew car and get a ride there to wait for my team. Well that was my plan but unfortunately there was no crew there when I looked. Once we started riding again I guess there was but somehow I didn't see it (my team did but didn't say anything b/c they just assumed I wanted to keep riding)! It was really beautiful riding along the coast so I'm glad I saw it but boy was I tired!

I kept on riding along alternating between "zoning out" and chatting with various teammates (or complaining as they would probably tell you)! We made it to the next rest stop and filled up on orange slices and other snacks. Those orange slices hit the spot and gave me a little burst of energy to keep on going. Next up we made it to South Beach (photos above) and it was beautiful! I took a quick walk to the beach just to move different muscles and give my butt a break from the bike seat. At this point we were probably around 45 miles and I guess I figured I had made it this far so why not see if I could actually do the whole thing! My teammates continued to be amazing and only complained a little that I was slowing them down. But then they also reminded me it wasn't a race and we had plenty of time to finish and still see the Kentucky Derby!

We made it to the East Chop Lighthouse and it was SO pretty! Our cheerleaders Michelle and Gretchen met us there and gave us some much needed support and encouragement. I think they were as shocked as I was that I had biked this far! We were now around 55 miles and I was told the rest of the route was flat. . . of course I knew I could finish at this point I just didn't know how fast I would be able to go. I felt exhausted and as great as it was to stop and rest it also meant I had to not only lift my leg back over the bike (my legs felt like cement) but also start biking again!

The gorgeous views helped a lot. There were moments I was miserable. Like really miserable. I would get teary eyed thinking maybe I couldn't do it and then would just tell myself to go, go, go. Then there were moments that I would just look around in amazement of the beauty around me. There were parts of the island that reminded me of Ireland with stone walls and green fields. There were other parts that the ocean water was different shades of blue and green and I felt like I was back in Cinque Terre. It was all so pretty!

What would a day be without selfies? I did manage to take a few at some of the rest stops and the bottom right one is back at the motel. It was my "OMG I just survived biking 65 miles!" I couldn't look happier b/c I was too shocked and exhausted! Oh and bike helmets are NOT fashionable!

Katelyn got in on the selfies too but she had to one up me! She took selfies with other people while riding a bike! That takes talent my friend. Once she had taken a selfie with each of us during the ride we decided we had to try for a team selfie. I think she did pretty good considering she was trying to fit four people in the frame while moving!

My team wanted me to lead us in so about a 1/2 mile before the finish line I took the front of the pack for probably the first time all day! They cheered me in as we approached the finish line and volunteers! Gretchen captured the above photo (on and I love that Katelyn told me to wave b/c how cute do we look)! Michelle took the video below! Love having these moments to look back on since I'm still in disbelief that I did it!

We made it to the finish line right before 3 PM which was not so bad for my first Ride the Vineyard! Thankfully there are no photos of me collapsed on the grass. I was really sore and had hoped for a massage but there weren't any at this event. I stretched and ate some food while my teammates toasted with some whiskey. John's flask said "Don't drink and ride" and was a recent gift from a friend. Since John had brought his car onto the island he let Michelle drive me back to the motel while he, Doug and Katelyn biked back. Thank God for the ride b/c I don't know how I would have biked 3 more miles at that point.

We clean up well! We showered (which was possibly the best shower I have ever taken) and ventured into Oak Bluffs to find a bar for the Kentucky Derby. Can I tell you how mad I was that I didn't bring my derby hat?!?!? I had joked about it with Katelyn but once there I REALLY wish I had it to wear. I'll wear it one of these days! We met this great group of locals and entered a derby pool with them. None of us won but it was fun anyway! Oh and why am I the only one holding a drink in the group photo? I swear I wasn't the only one drinking! Ha!

Our new friends recommended a restaurant for dinner. We attempted to get into the Red Cat with no luck so made our way to their recommendation at The Lookout. It was really good! After dinner we made our way to The Ritz which is a little bar that had a live band. We had fun but looking at these photos you can tell just how exhausted I was by this point! Katelyn and I grabbed a cab home around 10:30 PM and were in bed shortly after!

I did not sleep much at all overnight. My legs hurt and I just felt so restless in bed. I couldn't get comfortable. Katelyn and I were up by 8 AM with plans to head back to Oak Bluffs for some day time sightseeing.  That is when I took most of these photos! Michelle and John met up with us for breakfast then we made our way back to the motel. We packed up and on our way to the ferry stopped for an ice cream. We had talked about wanting ice cream ALL weekend but hardly anything was open (the season starts May 15th). Sunday was the warmest day of the three so I was pretty bummed to leave. We enjoyed the view from the ferry as we headed out!

Wow this post is really long! If you made it this far thank you! I'm sure most of you will skim this post and that is fine. I get it. But I want to remember this weekend b/c it was pretty amazing. I still can't believe that I rode 65 miles in one day! I'm so proud of myself for finishing despite wanting to quit many times. It is amazing what our bodies can do when we let them lead the way. Don't ever let anyone (or yourself) convince you that you can't do something. Even with MS we can all do amazing things!

Thank you to Katelyn, Doug and John. My teammates who got me through 65 miles with their support, encouragement and patience. Thank you to my cheerleaders Michelle and Gretchen!

So will The Bean Team be back for Ride the Vineyard 2016? I'm not sure. I heard many "next year" references throughout the weekend so it is a definite possibly. Will I do 60 miles again. . . I don't know but if I do I will train for hills!

The Bean Team has already raised over $1,000 for this event. Once we have our final amount I will let you know.

P.S. There are so many funny stories, one liners and inappropriate jokes I could share from this weekend but this post is already way too long. Just know there were a lot of laughs and new friends became good friends quickly. One thing I know is that to be a member on this Bean Team you better be able to take a joke! Nobody was spared.


  1. it looks like you had so much fun! I need to go there sometime!!!

  2. I am SO PROUD of you, my friend! That is so awesome! I could never do that. Lol. I think I did five miles one time on the bike in a gym. I can't imagine being OUTSIDE and biking 65 MILES!! You are Wonderwoman. :) The area looks so pretty! I love the pictures! :)

  3. Congrats! What an accomplishment. Ice cream was well deserved!

  4. Great job Jodi!

    If I had been there watching you finish, I'd have been crying. (Tears of joy.)

    I've totally done that at CCG when Marleigh was the 1st to finish the 1st day. (1st of anyone!) You don't let MS slow you down which is a huge deal.