First of all, I want to thank everyone who made it possible for me to ride in the Tour de Cure by donating to the American Diabetes Association, I really appreciate it!
The Tour de Cure is a 2 day fundraising ride for the American Diabetes Association. They do a few of them all over the country, this one began in San Antonio, we rode to San Marcos, then on day 2 rode to Austin. Each rider chose distances from 25-80 miles each day. I planned to ride 56 miles each day.
I joined Team Emerson because Tina works there and suggested I join her team when I told her I might do the Tour de Cure, turns out it was a great team, everyone was super nice and I even got a really nice Emerson jersey.
Red picked me up about 3:45am on Saturday morning so we could get to South Austin where the shuttle bus would take us to San Antonio to start the ride. It was early! Even though Red and I seemed to have no idea what was going on, we got everything taken care of and on the bus. I found Pam from Emerson and got my Emerson jersey just before our bus was leaving.
We got to San Antonio in no time (or maybe we were just asleep!) found our stuff and had lots of time to hang out. I laid down used my bag for a pillow and tried to nap a little.then I met some of the other Team Emerson riders, including team captain Peter who did an awesome job organizing and encouraging the team, had a couple bites of a breakfast taco, did a team picture with Emerson, and by then it was almost time to start. I really hate mass starts at bike rides, I tried to leave in a big gap, but it was still really crowded for the first few miles. After just a few miles the crowd had thinned a little, we were out of town, the weather was great, and the scenery was beautiful.
It was fairly windy, mostly head and cross wind, but it wasn't really bothering me and I knew that when we turned north we'd get a nice tailwind. It was a really beautiful slightly rolling route and I wanted to stop and take pictures so many times, but my phone takes pretty crappy pictures so I didn't bother. At one point it looked like a scene from the Tour de France with tons of pretty yellow wildflowers, and a long line of riders in a rainbow of jerseys going up an incline around a curve. A couple of the roads were in really bad condition, but other than that, I don't think I could have dreamed a nicer route. I stopped at the second rest stop for some water and to see if they had any yummy snacks and I found Sarah R.! We had kind of planned to ride together but lost each other in the mass start. I couldn't believe we were already almost halfway!The volunteers were all super nice and one of them took a picture for us. The route was really well marked so I didn't look at my map all day, and didn't realize that from this point on we'd be heading mostly north and get an awesome tailwind! We got back on the road and were very happy to feel the tailwind! It was so much fun to fly along at 20+mph jamming to Sarah's ipod! We stopped at the next rest stop and they gave us Mardi Gras beads. At one point we went down a big hill and I actually enjoyed going 30+mph! They had Tour de Cure signs all along the route and some of them were smiley face signs with different sayings, some said "I LOVE this Ride" so true! I was really loving this ride! I even officially named my bike while I was riding! Her name is Spinnaker and I'll do another post about that soon. I got a little ahead of Sarah and was riding through a really pretty shady forested area and was sad that I only had about 10 or 12 miles left to ride, I kind of wished I had decided to do 80 miles.
Just 8 miles to the finish!
I waited for Sarah at the last rest stop, but got a little ahead of her again. I was riding on the shoulder of a fairly busy road and didn't see any other riders for awhile, I was starting to think I had missed a turn when I saw one of those smiley face Tour de Cure signs, this time his tongue was hanging out, he was sweating and the sign said "I need a Beer!" It made me laugh and I knew I hadn't missed a turn! The last couple of miles we came into town, had lots of stop lights, traffic, and lots of riders so it was kind of annoying, but when we got close to campus there were lots of people cowbelling and cheering us in to the finish!Finishing Day 1
What a great morning of riding! Red came in to the finish after 80 miles just after Sarah and I finished our 56 miles! I needed to do a 20 minute brick run, so I figured Red would at least start running with me, but she didn't have a run on her schedule and hadn't brought running shoes, really? I ran straight uphill for the first half and downhill for the second, my legs felt great, but I was getting hungry, I finished my run right at the lunch table! The food was good and the volunteers were all so nice!
After lunch, Red, Sarah, and I went down to the river to hang out in the water, it felt great! the sun had come out so it was fairly hot, perfect weather for floating in the cold river. After awhile we decided we were hungry again and needed a second lunch. Red and I enjoying our second lunch
A really nice volunteer thanked us profusely for riding and we thanked her for volunteering, she took our picture at the finish line, then told us that this ride means so much to her because her son has type 1 diabetes. That was kind of a theme for this ride, seems like pretty much everyone was really happy to be riding, volunteering, working, everything- because they or someone close to them has diabetes.
me, Sarah and Bonnie at dinner
We found Bonnie and her boyfriend Joe at dinner, which was really yummy. Later we walked into town for some beer and ice cream, beer for Red, ice cream for Sarah and I. By 9pm I could barely keep my eyes open and went to bed. The dorm beds were actually pretty comfortable, or maybe I was just that tired! But I slept really well.
Next morning my legs felt good and I was ready to ride again.
the tent city for breakfast on day 2
I had never ridden long two days in a row before, so I expected my legs and butt to hurt and I planned to stop at every rest stop and take it really easy on day 2.
me and Spinnaker before the start of day 2
Red, Sarah, and I had plenty of time to hang out before the start again, we talked with some of my Team Emerson people and looked for Carolyn and Tina but never found them.
start line day 2
I did a good job of starting in a gap so the mass start wasn't too annoying this time. Right as I was leaving campus I heard Carolyn cheering for me! Rest stop 1 was at 8 miles so I didn't stop. They had announced in the morning that there was a really bad spot in the road around mile 13 when I saw a ride marshal telling us to slow way down for gravel and dirt I really did, then I saw an old wooden bridge and a short steep hill past the bridge that was all gravel and dirt. The river was really pretty so I decided since I was already stopped I'd take a picture, as I pulled out my phone some guy offered to take a picture of me with the river in the background.
I wondered if anyone would try to ride up the gravel hill, but I didn't see anyone ride it. After our little off road adventure, we got onto some much better roads, some had little rollers and others were pretty flat. There was a pretty serious cross wind but the road was so nice that I didn't really mind. At rest stop 2 I really took my time, chatted with the volunteers and other riders and found Carolyn and Tina. I was almost halfway and still feeling great and having fun. I was so glad I hadn't decided to do the 25 mile route with Sarah. It seemed like just a couple miles later (it was 10) I came to the next rest stop, I stopped just to walk around a minute even though I didn't feel like I needed to stop.
I got going again and the next section was the toughest part of this ride, a few decent hills and a pretty strong head wind, when I got to the next rest stop I was ready for it! A really nice volunteer walked up to me as I stopped and asked "what can I get you? we have gatorade, water, crackers.....little lemon pies" I have no idea why, but lemon pie sounded good, then I realized what he meant was key lime pie lara bars- even better! The lime flavor really hit the spot, I think I'm going to try those for long IM training rides. I hung out at this stop a long time, looked at my map and realized that I only had about 18 miles left and I should get a tailwind for most of it. I found Bonnie and talked with her, then found Carolyn and Tina too.
Just 18 miles to go and I was still having fun! I was starting to feel my legs getting tired and my butt wasn't feeling great but really not bad at all for riding almost 100 miles in the last 2 days. I really had to pee so I stopped at the last rest stop even though it was just 7 miles from the finish. A really nice lady held my bike, then I chatted with her and she took my picture before I took off to finish the ride.
me and Spinnaker at the last rest stop, just 7 miles to the finish!
The last 7 miles was fun, the toughest part was a little section around Cabella's into the head wind, wow I was glad I hadn't had to ride into that all morning! At mile 53 I was riding along and Red rode up beside me! She slowed down and rode with me, I assumed she'd take off again any second and I even encouraged her since I didn't want to hold her back, but she was happy to slow down and finish the last 3 miles with me. Again there were quite a few people cheering us in to the finish- very cool!Near the finish
I actually rode a slightly faster pace on day 2 than on day 1 although it took about 15 minutes longer since I stopped at rest stops longer on day 2.
This ride was so much fun! Great organization, awesome volunteers, good food- freebird's post ride on day 2- beautiful route, the nicest people, and a really great cause! I definitely want to do it again next year!