The rain held off yesterday until shortly after the final Century riders came across the finish line for Tour de Cure. It turned out to be a fairly nice day to ride, despite some wind in both directions. (That always puzzles me. How can I ride into the wind both going out and coming back on a ride?) There were over 300 riders and the tally as of around 4 yesterday afternoon was just over $135,000.00 raised for the American Diabetes Association. We have until June 12 to wrap up fundraising and hopefully reach the $150,000.00 goal for this year.
St. Vincent’s 119 is a wonderful facility for the start and finish of the event. Annah Grace Morgan is the event director from ADA. She does an outstanding job getting all of us organized and keeping us excited right until the end of the event.
Team Red Alabama riders participated in all distances: 20 mile, 37 mile, 65 mile and 105 miles and spinning. This year there was an option to spend one to two hours on a spin bike if you did not want to ride or didn’t ride a road bike.
Next year the Tour de Cure is moving to Guntersville, Alabama. I’m not sure what the routes will be like but I am sure it will be as wonderful as it has been in Birmingham.
Part of the reason we ride is to recognize and honor Red Riders, those cyclists who ride with diabetes. I don’t know how many Red Riders there were this year. John Fullerton, co-captain for Team Red Alabama, and Adam McCoin, a team member on Team Red Alabama are both Red Riders. John did 65 miles and Adam did 105 yesterday. Leanne Steele, another team member and Red Rider, spent her time on a spin bike since she is almost ready to have her second child. Leanne told her story at the opening ceremony before the ride and you can read it on the link. The funds raised from Tour de Cure go to research and other initiatives to help those with diabetes and to help find a cure to prevent it in the future.
I had planned on riding 20 miles until earlier this week when I decided to try 37 miles. I’ve been training but I really have not been on my bike much yet this spring. I had planned on riding more last week but weather and scheduling prevented that from happening. As I wrote last week, I was getting used to my bike shoes and pedals again. I went out and rode some short rides and did fine with the pedals so I decided to ride my road bike on Saturday.
It was a beautiful day. There were predictions for rain but that held off, as I wrote already. It was a little cool but pretty good weather for riding even though there was wind to contend with on and off. I decided that I could ride 37 miles. The route is fairly flat but there are a few hills and some spots where you can really gain some speed. For me this ride was a chance to get a feel for my bike again as much as a ride. It isn’t a race so there wasn’t any real pressure for speed.
At the first rest stop I almost decided to make the turn and only do the 20 mile ride. I had been riding with a couple of other people though and they encouraged me to go on to the next rest stop, which was only 8 miles. They said the next section was flat. I want their definition of flat. There were not big hills but there were some hills. The main problem I was having was my hands going numb and the nerve wracking experience of going 20-23 miles an hour on a bike. I had to stop a couple of times to regain the feeling in my hands. At the second rest stop Sean Kelly lent me his bike gloves since I had forgotten mine in my bag at the Team Red tent.
I headed back from the second rest stop thinking that I would be able to finish 37 miles. By this time the riders were pretty spread out and I was by myself on the road. This section was not too bad for traffic but there was still some traffic to contend with as I rode back towards the first rest stop. I almost stopped and took a picture of the sign when I made a turn back towards the stop – it said “Warning: steep grades and curves next 19 miles”. That was really not what I wanted to see. I had already covered the section so I knew what I was facing on the way back. The grades and curves were not *that* steep. This was the section where my speed climbed to 20-23 mph though. Around mile 24 I was feeling a little light headed (and hearing Michael Hayes’ voice about making sure you have what you need with you and are prepared for long rides). I had Gatorade and a Shot Blok. Fortunately I chose the Gatorade.
The fatal Shot Blok
If you don’t know what a Shot Blok is, here you go:
I made it back to the first rest stop, had some water, a small Clif bar and then a volunteer pointed to a pile of Shot Bloks. I had one in my jersey so I just grabbed it instead of one from the table. I don’t think it would have made a difference though. There are two things that are important here. One, I had a temporary crown put on this week and the last thing the hygienist said to me was, “no gum, don’t floss, nothing sticky” until I got the permanent crown. Second, this shot blok had been in a pocket on the back of my jersey for two hours. It was extra sticky. I bit into it and thought, “there aren’t hard things in shot bloks,” and then immediately realized what I had done. The medical volunteers were around me in a minute and I wound up in the SAG vehicle instead of finishing the route. It doesn’t seem like a missing crown should be a reason not to ride 10 more miles. I was pretty stunned by what I had done, as well as annoyed with myself. Sometimes it is also better to take the safer route. I doubt anything would have happened as I rode back with a tooth stuck in my jersey pocket but who knows?
I made it 26 miles with an average speed of around 14-16 miles per hour. I still need to work on my comfort level and control on the bike at the higher speeds that I was getting up to on the hills and curves. The pedals didn’t give me much trouble at all. I had a couple of times where I had to try a few times before I could get my left foot clipped in but nothing terrible. Overall it was a good ride and a great day.