This past weekend, Wildway participated in the BPMS150. Our bodies are spent (I seriously don’t know if I’ll ever walk normally again) but our hearts are full. Wildway is so thankful to have been involved with such a charitable, influential event. We are so grateful for the ability to even attempt such a physical and mental challenge, much less complete it. And we are so proud to be a company and team committed to making a difference and always trying to do more than just make tasty snacks. No sunburn, pulled muscle, aching joint, scraped elbow, or bruised leg can dampen all the positive emotions we felt at the finish line.
Here’s how it all went down. Our Marketing Coordinator, Emery, shares the wild experience.
Before the Ride
After a 2-hr bus ride from Austin to Houston and a stop at Buccee’s, we indulged in a 3,000+ calorie BBQ meal at Pinkerton’s in Houston on Friday night (you gotta carbo-load before you bike 150 miles, ok). With full bellies and anxious minds, we went to sleep knowing we’d be climbing on our bikes in a mere 7 hours and embarking on this epic journey.
*5 am alarm clock goes off* Here we go. We pulled on our padded bike shorts (#1 necessary item) and applied the chamois butter that the guy at REI said you had to have for this ride. He was right, that stuff was the MVP- look it up and you’ll know why. We zipped up our super stylish Wildway jerseys and made our way to the starting point for the longest route option- Addicks Park n Ride station in Houston. Naturally, one of us- we won’t name names (it was definitely Wildway Co-founder Kyle Koehler)- fell off his bike before the race even started and gave us all a good laugh to begin the day. But by 6:45 am, Team Wildway was in line among thousands of other riders, ready to pedal for the next 11 hours.
So, we kicked off and the struggle began immediately with one of our team members water bottle cage falling off less than 2 miles in. Nevertheless, we got it fixed and continued the first 20.1 mile stretch to a break point where we found hydration and lots of snacks, including Wildway’s Grain-free Granola! These much-needed rest stops were scattered along the entire ride every 8-15 miles, as well as an endless stream of people at the end of their driveways and on their front porches cheering us on. The overwhelming support and sense of community around this cause motivated us to keep going even when our butts were screaming for us to give up.
Despite two popped tires, one wrong turn, and an embarrassing crash (this time, by me), we pulled into the Fayette County Fairgrounds 97 miles later with nothing but food and “how are we going to survive another day of this” on our minds. We set up our tents (yes, we had to campout and sleep on the ground because riding a bike for 100 miles isn’t hardcore enough for Wildway), enjoyed a free beer from the Karbach Team and a delicious dinner courtesy of the hometown volunteers of La Grange. We watched the sunset, cleaned ourselves up as much as possible, rubbed on some BioFreeze, and passed out by 9 pm under the stars of a clear sky. Day 1=success.
*5 am alarm clock goes off again* I can’t move. No really, we probably laid in our sleeping bags for 15 minutes unable to discern which muscle or bone hurt the worst before finally accepting that all of them did and it wasn’t going to get any better. So, we put our slightly-smelly, yet still badass Wildway jerseys back on and crawled out of our tents. We scarfed down the pancake breakfast in record time and prepared for the second half of the trek back to Austin.
Climbing back onto that bike was probably the most painful and hardest thing I’ve done to date, but the cool morning air and strong sense of determination within the crowd of 14,000 riders was better than a shot of espresso and gave us the energy we needed to do the final 69.7 miles. So, we turned left out of the fairgrounds onto to the “challenge route,” that went an additional distance through the Buescher and Bastrop State Parks. While the gruesome hills had us questioning our decision to take this more difficult path, the views along the way made it well worth it. Every steep incline was rewarded with a stunning look over the Texas Hill Country and a fun cruise down the other side and after about the 10th climb, you no longer notice the sweat dripping into your eyes or legs burning in pain. You just feel the satisfaction of perseverance and being one step closer to the end. No pain, no gain.
This second day was filled with more struggles, no doubt. More popped tires, another fall, getting passed up by riders 3 times your age, and maybe a couple of choice words muttered to oneself. But it was also jam-packed with laughs, high fives, cheers, memories, and camaraderie. These were the things that pushed us to that final turn into the Circuit of Americas in Austin. As we pedaled those final miles and got closer and closer to the finish, people lined the track with shouts of “You got this! Almost there!” and signs reading, “I have MS. Thank you for riding for me!” Before I knew it, I looked up to see Wildway Founders, Kelli and Kyle, holding out a beer that I obviously grabbed and chugged as I coasted across the finish line. Day 2= victory. Check out a video of our experience here.
Together, Team Wildway rode 800 miles and raised thousands of dollars for the National MS Society. We might be sore for a week, but the impact we made alongside everyone that participated, volunteered, and organized this event will last forever. We will continue to do the BPMS150 for years to come, as well as find more and more opportunities to challenge ourselves for the benefit of others. We hope you’ll join us in our continual mission to Live Wild and leave the world a better place than we found it.