AVON, Conn. – Everyone knows motivation leads to action. Some people only act for personal glory, status, fame or money. But, for Rachael Bubbs, she simply thinks about the sister-in-law she cherishes in order to muster the strength to just keep going, or as they say in Latin, to velox rota.
Bubbs, who lives in Avon, is co-captain of Connecticut’s Team Velox Rota Bike MS team. Team Velox Rota proudly holds the title of the largest friends and family team in New England, sporting 150 cyclists in total. The team started off in Massachusetts, with the Cape Cod Getaway as its focus, but now the team’s goal is to expand globally. As a result, Connecticut’s Team Velox Rota team will be participating in this September’s Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride, a city-to-country excursion.
Bike MS raises funds and awareness to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis. According to Bubbs, team Velox Rota, which was founded in 2005 by Michael Augustine, of Somerville, Mass., hopes to raise $3,000. To date, the team has raised $1,115. Team Velox Rota is looking for support from family and friends. However, the team is also scouting for support from local corporations and businesses, such as longtime partner Biker’s Edge of Avon.
“I’m incredibly passionate about Bike MS,” said Bubbs, laughing as she began to describe the team’s “kits,” or team uniform, which all members wear on their rides. “My motto is ‘Go big, or go home.’ I’m even all about the color orange now! For MS events I’m always decked out in the society’s orange brand.”
Bubbs’s zeal for participating in Bike MS events began in 2011. Her sister-in-law, Amy Bubbs, of New York City, was diagnosed with the disease about 13 years ago.
“She’s more than a sister-in-law to me; she is my sister,” said Bubbs. “I really wanted to do something to help support the cause. The National MS Society enables me to unite my passions with my desire to help make a difference in the lives of people living with MS.”
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Bubbs’s sister-in-law, Amy, live with multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown and there is currently no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, loss of mobility, and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.
“When I found out I had MS, I was initially scared,” said Amy Bubbs, describing her initial reaction to her diagnosis. “After talking to my doctor, though, I decided that I would not let MS define me. I wasn’t going to let it get in my way. I would keep my body as healthy as possible, and go about living my life to its fullest.”
Over the years, Rachael Bubbs has gone from cycling only in Bike MS in The Cape Cod to participating in multiple MS events. She has participated in the Bike MS: Minuteman Ride, in Concord, Mass; the Bike MS: Red Thread+Steelcase Ride, in Windsor; and the Climb to the Top event at the John Hancock building in Boston. The year, the team has raised more than $150,000 to support the National MS Society.
“It makes me smile knowing I’ve done so much for someone who I love so much,” said Bubbs, who has consistently been one of the top fundraisers for the annual Cape Cod ride. “We’ve had a lot of breakthroughs with research, and we’re getting closer to a cure. It feels good to know I’m making a difference.”
Funds raised by the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter’s 2013 Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure for multiple sclerosis. Funds also provide for vital programs and services offered by the Connecticut
Chapter to those in the state living with MS.
The Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride, presented by Cashman+Katz, takes place Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 at the Riverfront Boathouse in Hartford. Depending on your choice of routes, this ride makes its way through nine towns and over three bridges – the Founders, Charter Oak and Arrigoni. Cyclists can choose from 75-, 50- or 25-mile route options. The scenic course takes cyclists through quaint New England towns and across Connecticut’s picturesque countryside before returning to Hartford. Finish line activities include live music, a barbeque, tastings compliments of Olde Burnside Brewing Company and massages by Massage Envy.
Check-in for the 75- and 50-mile routes begins at 7 a.m. and both rides depart at 7:30. Check-in for the 25-mile route begins at 9 a.m. and the ride takes off at 9:30. The Riverfront Boathouse is located in Riverside Park at 20 Leibert Road in Hartford.
To learn more information, register for the Bike MS: Cardio Express Ride, or to donate to Team Velox Rota, please visit www.bikeMSct.org.