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Mud, Sweat, and Gears

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start-crowd2.jpgOn Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, the Dallas-based branch of Team Southwest--a cycling group made up of SWA Employees, friends, and family--participated in the Sam's Club MS150 Bike Tour to raise money for the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.  The two-day "party on wheels" fundraiser took us 150 miles from Frisco, TX to Fort Worth, with an overnight stop at Texas Motor Speedway. This was my third MS150 ride, and  they just keep getting better every year.  We saddled up in Frisco on Saturday morning under a low cloudy sky, with the threat of rain and a "ten percent chance" (if you live around here, you know what that means...) of severe weather.  But nothing could dampen our spirits as we lined up amid a sea of colors--our adrenaline pumping, hearts racing, legs fresh and ready to go.  Plus, this year, we were riding for one of our own.  Ski, one of our Teammembers, lost his mother to MS just two weeks before the Tour, so he wasn't able to ride with us.  Ski, we really missed you out there buddy...but we're already looking forward to you leading us out next year. Of course, because this was the MS150, it rained!  We endured mist, drizzle, and light rain for several hours (at least those of us who ride a little slower than Lance Armstrong) on Saturday. food-and-friends.jpg After almost 53 miles of FUN, we pulled into the Southwest-sponsored rest stop and were greeted with bright yellow shirts, checkered flags, and BROWNIES(!).  About 75 volunteers from the Southwest Family braved the rain to wave flags; cheer on riders; and pass out copious amounts of water, Powerade, pickle juice, and snacks.  They even held our bikes so we didn't have to lay them down in the wet parking lot!  Talk about AWESOME!!  Thank you to all the volunteers who made the SWA rest stop the best on Tour!  the-five-amigos.jpgJust look how happy we are!!  (that's me on the right with New Mexico One on my helmet).  Our Team Captain, James, is on the left with Lone Star One firmly in place--and, yes, they DO make us go faster) J After a windy and muddy overnight at Texas Motor Speedway, pit-road-crowd.jpgwe began Day Two with a lap on the Speedway itself.  Really!  We bunched up on pit road, waited for the green flag, and were off!  We weren't allowed up on the high banking (man, is it steep!), but were allowed out on the backstretch.  in-turn-1.jpgWhat a blast!!!  Now I just have to talk my wife into letting me take part in the driving school they have out there..... Outside the Speedway, Day Two turned out to be pretty uneventful.  Severe weather was in the forecast, but thankfully never materialized.  We stayed dry all day, and we even saw the sun in the afternoon.  We did have to deal with a little wind though...about a 20 mph head wind...for nearly 40 miles...AFTER lunch...up the BIGGEST hills of the whole Tour.  But, a mere 150 miles and 30 hours after we left Frisco, we crossed the finish line in Fort Worth's Sundance Square.  We made it!  Way to go Team Southwest!!!!!  Let's do it again!  (but maybe not for a few weeks though...)finish-picture.jpg Now, it's your turn!  Do you participate in charity rides/walks/runs in your area?  Were you maybe even part of this MS150 Ride?  We would LUV you to share your comments, experiences, and stories with us!
17 Comments
FriendofBlogBoy
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Phil, What a great blog story and what an honor to ride for such a great cause! Congratulations on representing the folks at Southwest so well and thank you for the efforts you and your team put in to raise money and awareness about this awful disease. Despite the drizzly weather (since you spent a lot of time in Tarrant County, it was probably David Finfrock's fault, because our own Troy Dungan would've done better for ya), it looks like each of you displayed your servant heart s and warrior spirits while sharing your fun-LUVing attitudes! But, I was wondering...don't the other participants complain when you use the advantage of two helmet-mounted GE/Snecma CFM56-7 engines, how do you prevent whiplash when you get departure clearance, and does your bike speed go past V1 all the way to "rotation", or do you simply throttle back before you reach that point? We're proud of y'all! Kim 🙂
Micah1
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Every Thanksgiving, I run the Boulevard Bolt down Belle Meade Boulevard in Nashville. All the proceeds are given to Nashville's homeless. The boulevard is just spectacular, especially with the cool, crisp morning air, the clear blue sky, and the occasional Southwest jet criss-crossing the sky.
Francisco_Delga1
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Phil, thanks for sharing. 150 miles!!! You guys must be in great shape. You guys did it for a great cause. I am sorry to hear about your team members mom. Congrats on finishing. One of my favorite charities is the Navy Marine corps relief society. Just the other day one of our guys grandma passed away. He was allowed to go home but imagine purchasing a plane ticket from the middle east to SAN at the last minute.. The relief society bought the ticket for the sailor. USS BLOG BOY
richard_willman
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Way to go, Team Southwest! No wonder you're the airline I and my family LUV best! (But, Phil, you told me you RAN the airline.) LUV you anyway, Dad
Don_Kessinger
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What are the first names of the other 3 in the group photo? I was wondering if the 2 with the SWA shirts are formerly from LAS?
Deanna1
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I'm proud of you, hon! Great work and great article. Kudos to all those at SWA who spent two days on a bike to help out others! You all were sore and tired as you came across the finish line, but you were still smiling and showing that SW spirit. Blessings to each of you.
swabikedude
New Arrival
Hey Phil! Again - NICE JOB! It was a pleasure to ride alongside you - even though you were wearing New Mexico One...nice yellow bird! Thank you to everyone who either VOLUNTEERED or RODE THEIR BIKES for this awesome event! It takes place EVERY YEAR! Come out and join us in 2008! MS is an awful disease with NO CURE and this ride helps create awareness and raise some much needed money to find a cure. Everyone who participated in some way has made a difference! Thank you! Captain James 🙂
Phil_Willman
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Kim, The other riders didn't complain too much when we were in the crosswinds! Arrgh! My neck is still a bit sore from that....(but no whiplash, I rollout nice and smooth, just like Captain Stark!) And, since V1 for the inflatables is about 10mph, and rotation is like 18mph, I do throttle back a little. I like living on the edge, but not that close..... Micah, That run sounds great! There is just not much better than a cool, crisp fall morning. Don, as far as I know, Terry and Rosie have only worked in HDQ. I may have to check into that though..... Cap'n James - you're the man. Thank you for your Leadership of the Team! Without you at the helm, we'd surely be floundering around each May....and nice "plane swap" at TMS, by the way... :-) And I have to echo James' sentiment. Join us next year! The more riders and volunteers we have, the more FUN we have and, more importantly, the more funds we raise!
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[...] from the Southwest Airlines blog is this story about riding the Sam’s Club MS150 in the Dallas Forth Worth area. Interesting that his appears on the SWA company blog. Blog article. [...]
Leah4
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Great job! In addition to my idea of employees participating in Race for the Cure, I'd like to see you maybe also participate in Relay for Life, & in any events dealing with Cystic Fibrosis & Alzheimers. I don't have cancer or CF, but in my volunteer work I did at two hospitals, I've worked with kids, teens, adults who do (well, the adults don't have CF); plus, in my work as an Activity Assistant, I work with residents in Health Care, & as well as those who have Alzheimers. One of my favorite former HS teachers has breast cancer, & I lost two other favorite former HS teachers to different types of cancer. 😞
Dean_Goodman
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James: There are no words to describe how proud we are of you. It gave us such a great feeling to see this Event first hand. To see all the Southwest people that showed up to volunteer at the Rest Area was amazing. Kudos to all Southwest Employees & family for volunteering or participating in this event. Cant wait until next year. Mom & Dad
Phil_Willman
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Leah, I'm sorry to read about your teachers' struggles with cancer. I can certainly see your motivation to be as involved as you are with so many wonderful causes. God bless you for the work you do. It must be incredibly difficult, and I can imagine often heartbreaking. I don't think that is something I could ever do... Boy, this blog has a hero overseas in Francisco, and one right in our backyard in Leah.
Leah4
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Thank you, Phil. I've lost two others to cancer, in addition to the ones mentioned above; one of them was my grandma (dad's mom), who died on my 16th birthday in July 1992, & the other was a friend who died in August 2003. Yes, my work is hard, yet rewarding. I've had times when I was looking into the eyes of some of the Alzheimer's patients & wanted to cry. I want to commend SWA on all of the good things they do, such as their involvement with Ronald McDonald house, etc. SWA LUV, always, from a future RSA, CSA, & FA! :) P.S. Believe me, when I'm leading or helping lead exercise (which is one of the many activities we do for the residents), I'm not afraid to make it fun! I'm not afraid to be silly in front of them. The same goes for when we have rhythym (I drew a blank on how to spell that!) band & certain other activities! Plus, I have ones I know I can tease & joke around with, & I have ones I know not to do that to!
Mark_Bibbey
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How do I find out about cycling with Team Southwest? I'm a new employee (Finally !!! Thank you !!!!!) and wanted to find out if there is a similar club in the PHX area. I had a blast with the team from my past airline riding in some southwestern US "centuries". Thanks in advance!! Mark Bibbey
swabikedude
New Arrival
Hey Mark - depending on what department you work in at the PHX Station - I know there is a group that participates in local bike rides. Just ask around and you will find someone. If you are ever in the Dallas area - look us up - there are quite a few of us here on a Team. Good luck - Captain James 🙂
Mark_Bibbey
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Contact info, Captain James? Or is that outside the scope of this blog? Thanks in advance!!
Chris_Moore
New Arrival
Hi Mark, welcome. We have a Team here in Houston for the Houston Austin MS April 12/13 this year. Look us up for next year! We would love to have you. See you on the road! Chris