BY JACK SHORT – Some people like adding a little challenge to their charity. Boots and Dick Tolsdorf are just such people. In a move that is, amazingly, not unusual for them, the Tolsdorfs are going to join about 2000 other cyclists on June 26 and 27 for a two-day, 150-mile bike ride beginning in Boston and concluding, on the second day, at the beginning of Cape Cod.
The ride is organized by the Greater New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and benefits victims of that disease.
Riders will complete 75 miles each day and stay overnight at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne.
Boots’ and Dick’s most recent fundraising goal has just exceeded $4,000 in sponsorships and donations at the time of writing this story. Boots said she did it with the help of social media.
“I beg, borrow, and steel,” she joked. “It’s all of my friends.”
Riders need to raise $500 to enter the race, she said, and after they raised that initial amount, they set a fundraising goal at $1,000 that they’ve since adjusted a few times, because they kept meeting each new goal.
“I’m humbled by the response,” she said.
Boots also said she’s amazed by the dedication of fans, observers, volunteers and fellow riders, especially those who are affected by MS.
She said a significant portion of the money raised has come from residents here on the island. Riders in the same race last year raised $2.55 million, Boots said, with 84 percent of that going to MS advocacy, support and research.
Boots and Dick also ride in two other charity events each year, a leukemia/lymphoma fundraiser, said Boots, who completed this ride once already in 2014.
“I was just looking for charity rides we could do in the summer when we’re here,” Boots said.
She added that she was looking for a change of pace from flat Florida rides. But there’s something more than that, of course.
“For me,” Boots said, “that’s a no brainer. If you’re going to do a ride, it’s more satisfying to do 75 miles for … people who can’t do it.”
Cape Cod MS, the ride organizers, provided a training regimen, which they’ve been following right down to the week of tapering off.
She said the effects of what must be a grueling 150-plus miles are ameliorated by the “innervation and camaraderie” that comes from being part of a massive, mobilized effort to help others, and that the key is not to start strong, but to finish strong.
She’s looking forward to mounting the Bourne Bridge, which, she recalls from last year’s race, was a beautiful sight – the sunrise, mists over the water, and fisherman fishing.