*This story has been corrected to indicate that bicyclists could choose a 50-mile route.
COLUMBIA — Compared with those who have taken the ALS ice bucket challenge, Sarah Schatsiek took a much hotter and tougher challenge. She was riding 65 miles Saturday under a high of 93 degrees in the BikeMO 2014 fundraising event.
“That (ice bucket challenge) is like two seconds you are freezing, this is like you’re constantly under pressure toward a goal. But it will be fun,” Schatsiek, 25, said.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of BikeMO and its third time being held at Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport. Riders could take a 30-mile, 50-mile*, 65-mile or 90-mile route. Riders can also choose to bike along the Katy Trail. BikeMO is an annual event to raise money for the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation. Its first seven events were held in Jefferson City. But for Schatsiek of Jefferson City, it was her first time to take part in such an event.
At 7:15 a.m., still before the scheduled start time of 8 a.m., riders were pouring in. Those who already arrived were unloading bikes from their cars, finishing registrations, testing bikes or greeting old friends. Although the temperature was increasing, it was still cool.
On the grassland next to registration, Schatsiek was busy setting up her road bike, a Giant Avail, which she has been riding for about eight years. Her husband, Brandon, was off to the side, helping her oil the chains and pump the tires.
“I’m still a beginner,” Sarah Schatsiek said.
Her father is the reason why she started riding. He rode with her in the mornings in her hometown of Washington, Ill. The two formed a special bond by riding together, Sarah Schatsiek said.
Brandon Schatsiek also loves riding. He heard about BikeMO and encouraged her to participate. Wearing an outfit with tiger stripes that proclaims his MU graduate status, Brandon Schatsiek took the challenge with his wife.
“It is nice to have both men in my life being encouraging to me,” Sarah Schatsiek said.
After about a three-hour ride, Sarah and Brandon Schatsiek made it to the support and gear station at Blackwater, 32.5 miles away from the starting point. Water, sandwiches, bananas, cookies and pickles were offered to help riders recover. Surprisingly, pickles were the most popular food. Some riders would even drink the pickle juice to replenish salt. Those who took the 90-mile route still needed to ride to Arrow Rock, but Sarah and Brandon Schatsiek were headed back to Les Bourgeois.
But Sarah Schatsiek was too exhausted to continue. She was disappointed she had to stop early, but she was still excited about what she had accomplished.
“I told this to my father and he said he was really proud of me,” Sarah Schatsiek said.
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