Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Much more than first place

At the beginning of the year I set a goal for myself to complete two 100 mile rides. I completed the first one in August. (See Are we there yet?) The past weekend I completed the second. And through some luck and skill, but mostly luck, I was the first 100 mile rider to finish.

The Texas Mamma Jamma ride is a recreational bike ride in the Austin area which began in 2009. The ride raises funds for central Texans coping with breast cancer. It's new, so it's a small ride, but since its inception it has raised over $1,000,000!

The 100 mile ride started at 7:30, led by a group of 13 riders (including me), who rode most of the first 10 miles together. As riders would bunch up I would periodically pass groups of people, trying to see how close to the lead I could get. I made it as high as sixth.

Six of the riders were much, much stronger, and around mile 15 a significant gap formed between them and the remaining pack. Over the next few miles the gap steadily increased. At this point I was in 10th. At the rest stop at mile 20, three riders ahead of me took a break, leaving me in seventh and by myself.

At mile 33, the first six riders hit the rest stop, which I skipped, putting me in first. The first six passed me back at mile 45 with relative ease, putting me back in seventh. I hit my first rest stop at mile 51, arriving just as the first six were leaving. I refilled my water, ate a power bar or two (or three), drank some fluids and got back on the road

The first six had a significant lead, and since they were excellent riders I was content to finish seventh and continued to ride at a comfortable pace. However, I had some luck on my side. When I left I came to an intersection at mile 56. One of the volunteers was hammering a "direction" sign pointing right. He said that someone had switched it to point left (not sure if it was unintentional or malicious), and he had just noticed it as he was driving by.

Of course, this meant the first six riders had gone off course. The volunteer had to get in his truck and chase them down to get them back on track. This also meant that I was now in first place again. I continued riding at a comfortable pace, and despite leg cramps at mile 65 I made to to mile 84 before I took my next break.

After a quick stop I was back on the road, finishing the 94 mile ride in under 7 hours total time, including breaks. My ride time was 6:08, slightly longer than the 102 mile ride in August, but this ride was by far the hilliest I'd ever ridden.So how did those six riders do? I estimate they rode an extra 25-30 miles due to the bad sign, but they still finished only 20 minutes after I did.

However, places weren't the reason for the ride. Fighting breast cancer was. Several of the riders were breast cancer survivors or were riding in honor of someone who was. I rode in honor of my friend Kristi, breast cancer survivor and all-around warrior. She is someone I've known for more than 25 years, and it was an honor and a privilege to ride for her.

That honor beats first place any day.

1 comment:

Gary B. said...

Congrats on the Journey....luck or not... very impressive stuff Awesome Don!