Cycling For A Cure
For years Dave Gust was only a casual cyclist. But when one of his friends suggested that he get involved in the MS 150, a 150-mile bike ride held to raise money for the MS Society, he shifted gears.
"I decided to do it to keep myself in shape and to challenge myself," says Gust, a consultant with Fort Worth, Texas-based ECi Maytech. "When I started, I didn't know very much about MS."
The MS Society is an organization dedicated to serving individuals and families affected by MS (multiple sclerosis), a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system. After that first race in 2005, it didn't take Dave long to become dedicated to the MS cause. Since then, Dave, who is 69 years old, has participated in nine MS rides, including separate events in Houston and San Antonio.
"The Houston ride alone had almost 13,000 riders who raised $17 million last year," says Dave. "The nice thing is that it is just a ride — not a race. It's a fundraiser, and participants ride at their own paces. If for some reason a rider can't make it, they can get picked up and bussed to the day's end location. Because of that it's a nice leisurely ride."
Each ride is a two-day event. Riders are typically members of a team, and the team's support van takes the riders' overnight bags from the starting point to the overnight stop, and then to the finish line on the second day.
"We start the rides first thing in the morning, and keep a pace of about 12 or 13 miles per hour for the whole day," says Dave.
For the Houston ride, cyclists need to raise a minimum of $400; for the San Antonio ride, it's $300. Teams compete to raise the most money.
To prepare for these 150-mile adventures, Dave rides between 30 and 70 miles every Saturday, and tries to get in another 10- to 20-mile ride at least one night per week. Even though the MS 150 is a leisurely ride, the distance is still physically demanding.
"On the first ride I did in 2005, I managed to dehydrate myself the first day," says Dave. "The next day, my teammates made sure I kept going. I was so dehydrated I didn't even realize I crossed the finish line. The medics grabbed me as I crossed the line and I ended up getting two liters of fluid via an IV."
The ride is now an extra special experience for Dave because it's become a three-generation sport. Dave's son-in-law, Michael Lovelace, was inspired to join Dave in the MS 150 rides in 2007. Dave's grandson and Michael's son, 14-year-old Matthew, started participating last year. The three of them ride together in both the Houston and San Antonio 150-mile MS rides.
Though he initially participated in the MS 150 because of the cycling challenge, Dave has gained a great awareness of MS and the problems faced by the people and families affected by MS.
"The MS 150 is just a ride," he says. "The real race is the race to find a cure for MS."
Gretchen Roufs, an 18-year janitorial supply industry veteran, owns a marketing and public relations company in San Antonio. To suggest someone you think should be featured in “Freetime,” contact her at Gretchen@GretchenRoufs.com.
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