Jun 13, 2011 • By

An unforgettable ride

My name is Tess Hohman, and I manage global communications at General Mills. I’m also a passionate cyclist and enjoy participating in a variety of event rides like the C.H. Robinson MS150 that took place this weekend. More than 200 General Mills employees and friends participated in this year’s ride and are expected to raise more than $125,000 once all the donations are counted.

The MS150 is truly an amazing event. It’s an annual two-day, 150-mile bike ride that benefits the Multiple Sclerosis Society, but more than that, it brings people together – 3,500 of them! – in support of a shared cause.

On the eve of the ride, many of the riders pitched tents and camped on the football field at the high school in Proctor, Minn. – the starting point of the MS150. A few hundred others rolled out their sleeping bags on the hard gymnasium floor, and others – including me and my riding companions – enjoyed the comfort of warm beds at a hotel.

On Saturday morning, we met at 6:30 a.m. for a pre-ride breakfast. We were greeted by smiling volunteers serving hot coffee and pancakes fresh off the griddle.

Volunteers

Throughout the weekend, we were greeted by countless volunteers working tirelessly in various capacities to create a seamless event.

Each one, from the baggage handlers and bus drivers to the rest stop workers and first aid helpers, offered a friendly smile and helping hand as needed. Marge, a veteran MS volunteer at multiple events, handed out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and mini salted nut rolls at one of the ride’s designated rest stops. “I volunteer because I want to support MS, but I keep coming back because of all the wonderful people I meet year after year.”

Jim, a longtime volunteer, and Pete, the MS Society Director, met us as we looked for our luggage.

Jim says he can’t imagine not helping out. “We’re all here to support MS, but personally I get great satisfaction from all the wonderful people I’m fortunate enough to meet along the way.”

Crossing the finish line


Ask any rider, and they’ll tell you the feelings of fatigue and soreness quickly passed when they crossed the finish line surrounded by the cheers of those who have been personally impacted by multiple sclerosis. General Mills employees Ted and Renae, took on different roles, but both supported the ride.

“I couldn’t ride this year, but wanted to support Ted and the other riders along the way,” says Renae. As for Ted, “This was my second year participating, and I felt really proud representing General Mills while at the same time supporting a meaningful cause.”

As for me, I feel fortunate to work for a company that not only supports me as an employee, but also supports the communities in which we operate. The company’s mission of Nourishing Lives certainly came to life over the weekend as demonstrated by our employee riders and volunteers.

“I feel a great sense of obligation and desire to give back to the community when I can,” says Mary Marette, brand design manager and co-captain of the General Mills team known as “Spoons ‘n Spokes.”

“Riding 150 miles encourages me to be a better person and allows me to reflect on what I have been given in life.”

Watch this short video clip to see some highlights and hear directly from a few of our employee riders and volunteers.