On April 20th, I rode in the Tour de Cure (TdC), a charity ride which benefits the American Diabetes Association. I rode the TdC for the first time last year and enjoyed the route, support and post-ride activities. One of my riding partners was so pleased with TdC over the past two years that she recruited a team from the ranks of our local fundraising team, Team Killer Bees, who had primarily supported Bike MS over the years. Team Killer Bees fielded 16 riders and raised nearly $5600. Three of us rode the English Century, 12 rode the Metric Century and one rode the 30 mile option.
The morning started off rainy. The rain let up as the 6:30 registration time approached. There was no sign of rain after that. The roads were damp with puddles at the 7:30 start. I mounted my fenders. They were unnecessary after the first hour. Still, I’m sure no one minded riding behind the rider with no wheel spray! 🙂 Besides, I wanted a training ride with fenders so I could work out any fitment issues before an actual rain event, particularly the fender section I implemented to provide coverage to the area closer to the driveline. The combination worked great although the roads weren’t too wet on the TdC.
Temps were around 50 and expected to rise to 62. I wore tights, a wool base layer (I LOVE MY WOOL!) and a Team Killer Bee jersey. There was a point or two when I was a little cold, particularly if we stopped for too long. Otherwise, my attire was just about perfect, especially when the sun finally came out in the afternoon. My group initially consisted of Rich, Carl, team captain Sharon and myself. We started a minute or two late. That wasn’t a bad thing because were were able to snake through the slower riders after they had spread out with less risk of incident. I’m slow to warm up and was hauling the usual “too much stuff” (see photo). So I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. Sure, give me a minute and I’ll work up to a 19-mph cruising speed. Just don’t expect me to be behind you after leaving a stop or a turn. HAHA! Sharon eventually peeled away to the 65 mile route. Rich, Carl and I continued, connecting with other groups along the way.
Rich is a mountain rider who’s apparently unaffected by hills, especially the small ones around here, while Carl is a very strong rider who was attempting his first century. They did a great job of noticing if I had fallen off the pace on a climb and waited for me to catch up. I kept up well enough while we were riding with a large group from Norfolk Southern (Railway). We left a rest stop without them and rode alone for a while. I had fallen behind on a climb and was picked up by a pair of Wells Fargo riders who gladly let me sit on their wheel to pull me up to Rich and Carl. After that, we all rode together for most of the rest of the ride, occasionally slowing down to let me catch up. We had turkey subs from Subway for lunch. Afterwards, we passed another group who joined us. The ten of us hung out around 19-mph for a long stretch. Carl was content to pull us at 20+ mph for miles at a time, even into the wind! I’d pull at 18-19 until I approached a hill. We stayed together until a very rough railroad crossing where I thought I had lost a bottle. We didn’t find it. So I must have left it at a rest stop. Rich, Carl and I rode alone for a few miles until the last rest stop at 91 miles.
The Wells Fargo riders were waiting for us. They said the other riders continued at a very fast pace. Carl might have liked that! I was feeling a bit disoriented. I didn’t recognize it until I found myself walking sideways to the food. It was weird! “I need to get back on the bike so I can go straight,” I said. 😉 We left after a few minutes. I made sure to drink some Gatorade (lost with my bottle) and ate an apple on the road. I didn’t ride too hard in the final miles. I picked up the pace once I was done eating. But I still stayed at a comfortable 17-18 mph. There came a point where I knew we were going to encounter the same hills we saw early in the ride. With just three miles to go, I told the others, “Go ahead. I’ll be fine.” About 30 seconds later, a large stinging insect of some sort flew straight up one of the finger holes in my glove. Figure the odds of THAT! I initially thought the “sting” I was feeling was from the impact of this large bug. Then it started to really burn. I shook my hand and stopped immediately! I had started carrying an insect sting kit in my saddle bag after getting stung in the face during a ride last year. The swab reduced the burning pain to a lesser, dull pain. My finger is still swollen and itches like poison ivy!
Carl was waiting for me about a half-mile up the road. He must have noticed I had dropped back much faster than usual. He and I finished together at a good pace and went straight to Team Killer Bees’ tent. It was decorated in our usual bee motif. We had a nice post-ride meal, socialized, took some photos, then I changed clothes for the drive home. No ride report of mine is complete without statistics. Our rolling average was 17.4-mph. We finished in 7:30, which means we were stopped for a total of 90 minutes with an overall average of 13.7-mph. As a randonneur, I should be able to manage shorter stops. But it’s much easier said than done for me if there are social opportunities, good food or other distractions. We’ll see how I do on the next long ride.
Rollin’ with a Snack Bar,
PS: Next, I plan to do a write-up on the virtues of a professional bike fitting. 🙂 The TdC was a test to see if my fitting made a difference.