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Bike MS: Coast the Coast 2017

Central Jersey Multi-Sport Club

Gary’s 2017 Coast-the Coast 170 Mile MS Bike Ride Recap- A New Adventure!
The MS Coast-the-Coast 170 Mile Bike Tour (May 20-21) was to be my 17th. WAIT! What do I mean by “was to be?” Well folks, here is what happened.
Jan, Feb, March
Things progressed pretty much as usual. I got my donation letters and emails out a bit late, the weather really didn’t help much with outdoor training, but we got closer to the date of the ride.
Sometime in late March or early April, I was informed that there was going to be a Surprise 80th birthday for my brother’s wife, Shirley. They live in Maine, but the party was planned for Massachusetts (where they had lived many years).
Well, I spent about a week coming up with reasons about why I couldn’t go, etc. But after all was said and done, there was no way I could rationalize blowing off the celebration. After all, how many 80th birthdays does a person have?
But I felt guilty about having to miss the 2017 Coast the Coast and since I raise a fairly significant amount from donations, I felt worse that MS would be deprived of thousands of dollars that is needed for services, research and all the other things that are beneficial to the MS community.
The wheels started turning. It was impossible to do two things at once, but maybe I could do MY OWN ride on two other days, raise the donations and still benefit MS. I was determined that it be a two day ride, as close to the Coast the Coast dates as possible. Location and destination were not important to me.
Part of the allure of the ride is the camaraderie that develops with the others doing the ride, so I immediately turned to my many-time Teammate, David Kokinda, who has never been known to turn down an invitation for a ride. (David is also a top-notch navigator and route planner, two things I really suck at!) So I called David and we discussed my idea. By the end of the conversation, we had conjured up the following ride outline:
Two days, approximately 170 miles, overnight (with me insisting that I pay for the room and meals), probably the week before the Coast the Coast, with David picking the location and the route. I was so lucky that David had the time available and was willing to help me meet the goals. Without his full cooperation, the ride would not have taken place at all! And thus, our Team was repurposed. We kept the same name, “Central Jersey Multi-Sport Club.” We planned to start Monday morning, May 15, from somewhere around Gettysburg, PA. David had found an area that had some relatively flat terrain, lots of 2 lane country roads and seemed just perfect for a nice ride.
One complication. On May 7, my car was involved in a collision (both cars totaled, no injuries) in Hillsborough. Luckily, we were able to fit both bikes in David’s car. So on Monday, May 15, David had to drive to Gettysburg while I was trying to get things settled with the insurance company via text and long distance.
DAY ONE – By the time we got to Gettysburg, the weather had clouded up and the wind really kicked in, at about 25 mph and gusts to probably 40 or more. Somehow we had also picked a hilly route. The original route we choose has less than 1,000 feet of elevation; this one had almost 5,000 feet! We were doing some serious battle with the wind and by the time we stopped for lunch, I had my doubts we could finish the day’s route. Things got worse after lunch. We stopped a few times to gather our strength, but I was fading fast. By 50 or so miles, we came up with a plan that David (the stronger bicyclist) would continue back the 20 or so miles to the hotel (and his car) and he would drive back to pick me up. David hit even rougher winds and steeper terrain, but he did appear to pick me up! After showers at the hotel and a good night’s rest, we had breakfast and decided DAY TWO would consist of a leisurely bike trip through the various battlefields of Gettysburg. We probably did 20-25 miles that day and headed back to New Jersey.
Postscripts/Summary – David actually did the full 170 mile MS Coast the Coast the next weekend. I came down with a miserable stomach virus/infection that lasted almost a week and never got to Shirley’s Surprise Party!
This recap is one of the ways I extend a special “Thank You” for your help. I appreciate the donations and support from each of you. My goal this year is $5,000 and as of this writing, I have raised $4300. I am just $700 short of my goal. If you haven’t donated yet, please do so.
Contributions are welcome through July 7. Contribute online (direct link is: or mail your check (made out to MS Society) to: Gary Verhoorn, 308 Blackpoint Rd, Neshanic Station, NJ 08853.

Remember, I will match 50% of every dollar you donate! If you have already donated, “Thank You”
Written by Gary in early June–to be sent to all who contributed in any way–or may contribute.
Check my fundraising progress at any time at
Donations accepted thru July 7, 2017. Shown above is our 2076 Team Central Jersey Multi-Sport Club. (Gary on right, David on left.)

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10 Facts about MS

  1. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system.
  2. More than 2.3 million people are affected by MS worldwide.
  3. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.
  4. Women are much more likely to develop MS than men.
  5. There is no evidence MS is directly inherited.
  6. It is challenging to diagnose MS.
  7. No two people have exactly the same symptoms.
  8. MS symptoms can be invisible.
  9. The majority of people with MS do not become severely disabled.
  10. MS has no cure.

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