Sunday, May 23, 2004

Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association, 100km

Thanks to all my sponsors I raised over $1,100! My corporate team raised almost $8,000, and the Santa Cruz event raised around $25,000.

The Santa Cruz Coastal Tour starts in Aptos, about 1h45m from my house and the 100km ride was a mass start at 7:30 so that meant I had to leave home at 5:30am (this is a Sunday remember). The ride down went fine but I noticed the transmission on the old G20 is slipping worse and worse; I figure I’ll drive it till it falls apart, no sense spending more than the whole car’s worth for a new tranny.

I actually got there early and found the little park where the ride was to start from but they were still setting up and none of the riders was there, so I went in search of some coffee. Then I somehow got lost and by the time I found my way back to the park it was getting late. I got checked in, met Steve from Irvine who was borrowing my Eddy Merckx for this ride, and turned in my contributions. As Steve was finishing up his pre-ride rituals most everybody was leaving. We had to park our cars quite a ways from the start area so I went down once more to see if our team was still in one piece but they were all gone. By the time I got back to the parking lot Steve was gone too so I was the very last person to start out.

Here’s me at check-in: (note how many riders are eyeing my beautiful bike!)

I hammered hard for about 20 minutes before I started catching up to people, Steve first, then a small group of riders from some other team, then other folks from my team and shortly after 8 o’clock we were pretty much all together. It was cold and foggy but nice riding weather in the morning. We got to some nice rolling hills at about mile 25 which broke up the riding dynamics somewhat but we all re-grouped at the first rest stop (a gravel wide spot in the road) and all the other riders admired our team jerseys – there were even some unattached riders from one of our competitor companies there whose company didn’t sponsor them or provide matching team jerseys. I have to say that this first rest stop was understaffed, undersupplied, and underportapottied… I was unimpressed.

It was still foggy and chilly and now we were in the flat windy agricultural part of the county so Adam, Rick, and I decided to do some fancy paceline work and we made great time and had fun too – a few other riders tried to hop on our little train but none could hold on for long. At one point one of the out-of-whack orchard irrigation systems sprayed us with recycled water – yuck. About mile 45 we hit some more hills I did a few sprints to challenge Adam; the first hill was kind of long and he caught me before the crest, but I did surprise him and won the sprint on at least one other occasion. I tried to make my jumps when Adam was in too big of a gear and not paying attention, but after a couple times he got wise to me. I had to tell Adam about “fun ride” etiquette – he was unaware of some of the finer points like when you pass someone on a hill you can’t be breathing hard – you have to slow down just enough to catch your breath and make it look like you’re going easy… same thing goes for being passed; in general the rule is to go as fast as possible (while passing or being passed) while projecting the image that you’re taking it easy because this isn’t a race. There’s a certain amount of competition that’s expected, and a certain line that you don’t cross… century newbs like Adam sometimes don’t pick up on those subtleties.

Rest stop the second was even more disappointing than the first. Bottled water, ClifBars, and banana halves on the shoulder of the road next to a cow pasture. At least there was a semi interesting view of the coastline from here – there were big flocks of small birds eating bugs or something over the water… no whales though. A few of my team riders met up with us here again and Steve left with us three afterward.

A huge pack of racers on a training ride came around us on the coastal highway and they even dropped some of their own riders. Adam helped tow a guy back to the pack but couldn’t quite bridge so they both gave up. One more good hill and then we were back in Aptos and the ride was over. Steve, Adam, Rick, and I all finished together in a show of solidarity.

There was supposed to be an award ceremony recognizing people who raised lots of money (ME!) but it never happened. The lunch was an uninspired, unvegetarian barbeque so I had to settle for lettuce and tortilla chips on a hamburger bun and some generic soda. Honestly as good as these ADA folks were at organizing the fund raising you’d think they’d put on a better show for the payoff. Anyway it was a good time and I really feel like I accomplished something and certainly found out a lot about this disease that affects so many people. I got a lot of nice notes from my sponsors telling me about their own experiences with diabetes and this cold hard heart of mine softened up just a bit thinking that I might actually be helping to make things a little better in the world.

Here’s the Team BC photo after the ride – some of these folks had done the 50km or 25km options. Jeff and his son Ian did it on a tandem.

No ride stats – it was a team charity event, not a race or even a training ride!
(OK, 16.5 mph average but I could have gone a lot harder if I wanted to!)

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