Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tour de Cure 2010

Despite what I may have texted some people directly after the ride, I will ride my bike again. I may still want to do an Ironman (just not any time soon). It wasn't that bad overall. I enjoyed at least 80% of this ride very much. 10% was a bit uncomfortable (to be expected). 10% was brutal and soul crushing.

As a recap, the Tour de Cure is a "fun" ride (meaning no official timing, no winners, you just ride and hopefully finish). It was created to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. It takes place in Brigham City, my home town. This is my 3rd year participating. I had signed up for the 25 miler previously. Actually 65 miles is the longest I've ever biked. Previous to this it was 54 miles (Vikingman 1/2 iron distance triathlon, also a windy ride).

The start this year was at Pioneer Park. They arranged for camping at the park for participants but I think the torrid rainfall Friday discouraged most people. Good idea though. The course basically goes out west Box Elder County. The 65'er turns at Lampo Junction and the 100'er goes out past ATK. It's basically a flat course except for a nice challenging hill for the 65'er and a little bit bigger climb for the 100'er over Golden Pass.

If you like rural, dessert scenery it's the ride for you. With all the rain we've had this year, it was actually very green right now. I really did enjoy the sights, which is probably obvious from all the photos.

The race organizers do a great job. The volunteers are enthusiastic. The sponsors were very supportive and had great food at rest stops and the lunch break area. That's one difference in running races, there's no "lunch" stop. I didn't spend too much time at the break areas. Just refueled a bit, fill up my water bottle, and got on the road again. For one thing it was cold. 20 degs below normal. It only sprinkled rain for maybe 10-20 mins, but with the miracle of technical materials, I dried quickly.

This is basically the area I grew up in. Of course I'm from the big city in the county, Brigham City. The population has probably held steady, around 20,000, since I was born. There's been a lot of growth around Brigham, but it doesn't feel like much has changed over the years. Outside of Brigham, it's very rural. I had cousins that lived in West Box Elder County when I was a kid. We thought it was cool to go visit the "country" folk. LOL. It has a desolate sort of beauty about it though. There's a lot of flavor and character out there though. The lunch stop was in Garland which has a great old, small town main street.

So where does the drama start in? The hill was tough but do-able. Part of the added challenge for that and the end of the ride was the fact that I didn't get my cable for my front derailleur replaced before the ride. Basically I'm stuck in the big gear (is that high or low? I can never remember). That just makes it harder on hills and into the wind.
Sigh, the wind. That is what nearly killed me at the end. Brutal is the word that's been going around but it doesn't full capture the essence of it. I mean on the last stretch back it was howling. I mean that literally, you could hear it shrieking across the fields. It's very intimidating mentally, not to mention physically when you have to lean into the cross wind gusts to keep from being pushed over by it.
The worst were about the last 2 miles. I just wanted to quit. It was straight into the headwind. I felt like someone had my breaks on. I mean you had to fight to move forward. And of course I was totally in the wrong gear. At one point I "manually" shifted the gear and it stayed in place for awhile. That last bit took all the air and energy and soul right out of me. I thought my knees my blow too. Also, because I couldn't pedal as fast anymore the cold got to me.
I'm pretty sure I had the first symptoms of hypothermia. If I had been any further out, I probably would have called for a ride and not finished. Not cause I'm a quitter, but I knew I was going to be in trouble physically soon if I didn't finish. But I pushed on and finished. I still would have quit 4 blocks out if someone had been there to pick me up. Seriously, 4 blocks away and I start crying (I wanted to long before this but didn't have the energy too).
Gloriously, the last two blocks were tailwind and slightly downhill. I just coasted in. I went home and took a long, hot shower to get my core temperature back up and crashed for a 3 hour nap. The only time I've been more exhausted was after the Vikingman 1/2 Iron, but I had also swam and run a lot too.

The best parts of the race where knowing it was for a good cause, beautiful scenery, challenging course (wind aside), and meeting awesome people. I have to give a shout out to Wanda and Doug. The only thing I really would have changed about this ride (other than getting my cable fixed) was dragging some friends into it with me. My top 2 favorite things for long bike rides are aero bars and drafting. Several miles out from the last rest stop Wanda and Doug passed me and invited me to join their draft line. I spent half the race wishing I could draft and even sneaking up on the tail of a few riders. Hehe. Bless you both for adding me to your line. It was a godsend I needed near the end. As hard as the end was, I'm so grateful I got that chance to save a little energy before the last little bit.
Don't be scared away when I try and drag you out next year for this ride. The wind is not common. It really is a great ride and it's for a great cause. Overall, it gets the Amy seal of awesomeness approval.

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