Saturday, June 5, 2010
Tomorrow is the infamous 30th annual Miller Lite Ride for the Arts. I'm crawling into bed early tonight since I have to get up by 5am to drive to the startline at the Summerfest grounds. My group, those riding the 75-mile route (which is actually 77.5 miles), depart at 7am.
This is a fundraising ride. All the proceeds help pay for fine arts programs in the Milwaukee area. I'm particularly interested in helping the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (aka MYSO). I played string bass for two years in the Philharmonia and two years in the Senior Symphony.
Despite my continual grumbling about practice, I loved being part of the group. Being the backbone of the symphony, anchoring the sounds of brass, woodwinds, percussion, and strings all in harmony, was intoxicating. Through all the trials of high school--a part-time job, no study halls in school, a few health problems, and conflicts with friends--music was always there for me. We made great music, too. My gramma overheard a passerby at one of our playathon concerts at a local mall say, "why, they're just kids!"
Unfortunately, I had to give up playing when I went to college because of time and money constraints. A string bass is amazingly expensive and difficult to transport. I keep telling myself that someday I will return to a symphony. Someday when I have $4000 to plunk down on a bass and a few hours free each week for practice and rehearsals.
Even before I was part of MYSO, I wanted to participate in this ride because I liked biking. All this time, I figured I'd try the 25-mile route on my mountain bike and see how that went before doing more. Nope. In typical NJS fashion, I'm diving head-first into the longest route available. I bought a road bike earlier this spring and I've been riding consistently since then to prepare for this ride. It is my first big step towards my ultimate road biking goal this summer: riding a full century (100 miles). I'm really excited!
May the weather gods smile upon me tomorrow.