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CHFD: Ride Along with CHFD Paramedic on the MS National Bike Ride (Day 3)

Paramedic Milsted (left) and another hold a tribute to another fallen EMS member during a stop in Long Island, NY.

Once again, CHFD Paramedic Dave Milsted, the A-Group Medical Services Officer, is participating in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride.  This year's route will take Dave and nearly 100 other riders approximately 500 miles as they pedal from Boston, MA to Alexandria, VA over the course of 7 days.  The CHFD will post updates from Dave as he sends them in.  Here's Dave's recap from Day #3: 

"Day 3 

We woke up at 5 am to start watching the weather reports. All reports were bad. Next we were all checking our phones for up to date radar. More bad news. So we unpacked the rain gear. At day break the skies were cloudy, but dry. 

We were ready to go at 8am. No rain but there was a thick mist. Within 2 miles of the start we had a rider go down. He got his wheels caught in a groove in the pavement and couldn't get out. He has a lot of "road rash" including on his face, but didn't need to got to the hospital. Then the rains came. Within 10 minutes everyone was soaked to the bone. Should I say we all became muddy? 

Before the first rest stop there was another crash. This one required a call to 911. Another rider got their wheels caught in a grove in the roadway. When this happens most riders panic and try to turn their wheels, causing them to wipeout. If they would stay the course and ride the groove they would probably be ok. When the woman fell she was run over by another rider. 1 went to the hospital and one had bike damage and a bruised hip and had to stop riding. An ambulance came and we continued to ride. 

Our first rest stop was 18 miles into the day at the Selden Fire Department. They had all the names of those we are riding for written on the apron in chalk. It was a quick water/snack and restroom stop. We were trying to beat the heavy rain. 

The heavy rain found us during the next 11 mile stretch. Our next stop was the Smithtown Fire Department. Another quick stop to get warm and refill our water bottles. Not sure how much people were drinking because we were absorbing all of the rain. 

Our third stop was lunch at the Northshore LIH Center. A nice spread of grilled hot dogs, burgers and chicken & potato salad. They provided us with a lot of towels. The Board was trying to make a decision, while we were eating, whether to ride or call it a day. After were we all warm and semi dry we found out the news that we were going to continue to ride to the next stop. Before we left the lady who was transported to the ER earlier came in to cheer us on. Nothing broken but a lot of road rash including on her face. 

About a mile into the 8 mile ride I had a major mechanical failure on my bike. The rear derailleur, which controll the gears, sheared off. I was out of service. I felt a whole spectrum of emotions. From mad to depression. I had to sag out. I would not ride every mile this year. Where would I get the parts needed to fix my bike. I knew it would be expensive... 

The last stop of the day was at the Eisenhower 911 Memorial. We had a small ceremony in the rain. I have yet to see this place in the sun, but I am sure it would be very nice. There is a reflecting pond and a piece of steel from the World Trade Center in a very large park. 

Then it was off to our hotel about 3 miles away. I was searching for any bike shop near our hotel. Nothing within walking distance, not looking good. I then found out that one of the NY riders had arranged for a bike shop to be at our hotel tonight to do minor repairs and tuneups for the riders. I asked our president and bike mechanic what parts I needed. He said if I could get them he would attempt to have my bike ready by morning. I called the bike shop and they hadn't left yet. Guess what, they had the parts. Wahoo, but would they take a credit card on the road......... Yes!!! When they showed up they gave me a 25% discount and even better installed the parts, allowing our mechanic to work on other bikes. $200 bucks later it looks like I will get to ride through NY City tomorrow. I lost about 11 miles of the ride. 

Everyday there are 3 ride marshals on the route. 2 of them are permanent, the other is chosen by the support group each day. They are strong riders that know the rules of the road and can help other riders up hill and do minor repair like fixing flats. You have to be able to use the Jedi Mind Trick to get some of the people struggling to sag out so we can our time line. I was chosen to do that today. We helped many people climb some hills today. Usually by riding next to a rider putting your hand on their back and push them up the hill. Its very rewarding. 

Today we traveled 56 miles, 4 hours of ride time, max speed of 33 mph, climbed 1700 feet and burned 4200 calories.