Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I Did It ~ El Tour de Tucson ~ November 22, 2008

I Did It ~

On November 22nd, 2008 I completed El Tour de Tucson. What an overwhelming experience. I started training for the endurance event in May 2008 when I could only go about 20 miles on a bike. While it took me an epic 10.5 hours to finish 100 miles, I can now say I have completed a century ride.

I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me through this adventure. Part of my training with Team in Training was to raise a minimum of $2900 to support the efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. Well, thanks to wonderful family and friends I raised over $7200.

The day of the event started out at 4:00am only because I could not sleep. I got up, stretched out and ate my oatmeal and almonds. I had to be at the hotel parking lot by 5:30am to ride down to the starting point with the rest of the team (17 all together). I was taken aback for a moment when we reached the starting point. I was in line with over 7200 other riders. The ride did not start until 7:00am so I had a “little” time to think about what was happening and get even more nervous about starting the ride and not falling. The national anthem was playing and the gun went off at exactly 7:00am. The “professional” line when first and then it was out turn. It was not as bad as I had anticipated. We even went by our hotel and Frank was there cheering us on.

At 8 miles into the ride we had our first dry river crossing where we had to get off the bikes and carry them across the dirt. Once we were back on the road I was having a hard time peddling and I started to panic. I kept thinking that it should not be this hard 13 miles into the ride… Well, the queen of flats had a flat. Thank goodness I have great coaches; Ed came and changed it for me while Road Mom and my sister Heather waited with us. I was a little disheartened though…after he changed my tire we were the last riders on the road. Road Mom kept saying, “don’t worry, we won’t be the last ones at the finish line”.

After that, the ride was great. Our pace was only about 12-16 miles an hour, but the ride was glorious. We did not stop at most of the rest stops, only because we didn’t need to. I met great people along the way especially other Team in Training riders from all over the country. As we would pass each other we would shout out “Go Team” ~ “Go San Diego” ~ “Go New Mexico” etc. All Team in Training participants had state names on the jerseys. We also had icons on our helmets to signify something from our state. Ours, of course, was a red chile.

I hit a wall at 55 miles. I think I was just hot and hungry. I had been living on shot blocks and gels. We finally stopped and ate (we had a wonderful SAG and Frank was there too). When I finally got back on my bike, I looked at my shadow and saw the ribbons I was wearing and remembered why I was doing this. I was wearing ribbons in remembrance of those who had lost their battle with cancer. And, those ribbons got me through the next 45 miles. There were a lot more hills than I thought there were going to be. And, I only had to walk up one of them.
I started in the dark, and I finished in the dark. But, I finished. I had a good cry when I had only 10 miles left and new that I would be finishing. My emotions were everywhere that day, happy, sad, tired, elated, overwhelmed and more. When I checked my phone at the end, I had messages from lots of people who were thinking of me out there.

Once again I want to thank everyone who donated yard sale items, bought jewelry and candles from me and gave money from your heart to a great cause. I exceeded my goal at $3800 and my company matched $3400 making me the largest fundraiser in New Mexico.

I have plans to do it again next year in 8 hours or less. Who’s in with me?

Love to all, XOXO
The Team in Training pasta party the night before.
Heather and I excited and nervous.

Ready to roll at 5:00am.

7000 of my closest friends waiting with me at the start line.

The first river crossing... there were two of them.

The best cheer leaders along the road.

Do you see me?

The finish line with Ed, Heather and Debbie (Road Mom).

Ed and I.

Debbie and I.

We did it. Me, Heather, Jan and Elizabeth crossing the finish line.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Party Before the Ride

I had my company name put on the bottom of my jersey since they donated $3434.00. I also had a dragonfly embroidered on the shoulder.

Friday the 14th, we had our "Bash", with all teammates before we leave for our ride on the 20th. The food was awesome, the company was wonderful and the energy high. Our team manager Kirsten distributed our jerseys and I have to say that my emotions were every where. I am a basket case because I am so nervous. Not worried... NERVOUS.
Jan & I with our mentor Gina.

Our last ride was Saturday the 15th. It was a short taper ride to the Range in Bernalillo for breakfast. Jan and I rode to the starting point and got in a few more miles in. Since I did not ride the week before I wanted to to have a longer ride to make myself feel better. It is amazing to think how far everyone has come. I remember when we had our first 30 mile ride and I thought I was not going to make it. Now 30 miles seems like nothing. I hope I feel this way on Saturday.
Please pray for every one's safety. I will be there with my pose... Frank and the girls. I can't wait to cross the finish line jump into their arms.

Us girls ready to ride...
Carla, Gina, LeeAnn, Jan, me, Tabitha, Elizabeth & Heather.
We are woman... Hear us Roar

Carla & Scott at the Range.

The best coaches ~ Ed & Debbie.

The team at the Range.

Gina & Jan

Elizabeth & Tom

Friday, November 7, 2008

To The Tunnels

The last couple of weeks have been hard on me because I have been sick. On Monday after our Tunnel Ride, I finally went to the doctor and found out I had a sinus infection and a double ear infection. I started taking meds this week and my ear infection is the only thing that has gone away. I have now developed a upper respiratory infection. I am panic mode because I only have two weeks until the ride and I feel like my body is not going to be ready. But, I also know that if I try and push myself too hard, I won't get better and be absolutely no good in Tuscon.

The decision I have to make is agonizing to some degree. My brain in saying you need to go and do the ride Saturday and do what you can. My body is saying stay in bed and do nothing. I have faith and determination that I will complete the ride, but the little voice of doubt is always there.

The Tunnel Ride
God knew we were going to be out riding on Saturday and privided us with a beautiful day. It was a bit chilly to start out with in the morning, but by the time we arrived at San Isidro it had warmed up nicely. We only stayed at San Isidro for a brief time so we could continue our journey through Jemez to the Gilman Tunnels. For some reason I though the turn off to the tunnels was only a couple of miles out of San Isidro. NOT. We rode Jemez road for about 10 miles and the hills were plenty. I was doing well until I down shifted to go up one of the hills and my shoe came unclipped. Yes, it was on the steep part of the hill and because I couldn't clip back in I stopped. Do you know how hard it is to start again going uphill? Needless to say, I walked my bike to little flatter place so I could start again. We rode through the Red Rock rest area and the smell of fry bread was enough to make me want to stop.

When we got to the turn off to the tunnels, Debbie had us get off the bikes and walk carrying them for a little ways. There are two dry river beds in Tucson we will have to walk through. The road to the tunnels was absolutely gorgeous... The leaves were changing colors all around us giving us a beautiful landscape to look at. We even ran into horses in the road "just hanging out". Nick showed me a tarantula crawling about. I also thought the road to the tunnels was a bit flatter. NOT. It was a gradual incline the majority of the way with a couple of steep hills in between. At the tunnels we were able to refuel and take pictures. Thanks to everyone for their support.

I definately want to do this ride again. And, this time without a sinus infection.

A river running through...

Walking the bikes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Week 21 ~ Winds of Change Part II

Last's weeks windy ride turned into this weeks beautiful ride. Total miles... 72.5. Total hours on the saddle 6-ish.

I have learned to look at this time as my own. How often is it that I have 6+ hours to myself. Time to think. Think about what you ask?

  • Chores I need to get done when I get home
  • Getting the girls ready for what ever event is coming up
  • Who I need to call
  • Reminding myself what I need to read for bible study
  • Am I going to make it back to my car from the ride
  • The election (can't wait until it is over)
  • Dinner
  • The things I have negligted since starting training
  • Sleep
  • Nothing
  • Why I'm doing the ride
  • My wonderful family

But, when I get back to my car reality once again sets in. I get my messages on my cell phone "Mom, when are you coming home?", "Mom, do you know where my flat iron is? Call me", "Mom, where are you. Are you going to be home soon. I miss you.", "Mom, can I go to my friends?" The never ending story of kids. And, I wouldn't have it any other way. They have sacraficed just as much or more when I am gone on Saturdays.

We stopped at Camping World twice during our ride to rest and eat lunch. It was nice to stop some place with an nice area to sit and relax. My friend Aaron works there. He is my bible study leader and really kind person. Jan and I see every week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Week 20 ~ Winds of Change

As Road Mom said... "The winds huffed and they puffed and they blew our ride away".

We made it 13 miles before the ride was called off. The weather man predicted a storm coming, but we didn't want to believe him. Well, we fought our way uphill against 25 mile an hour winds. I think my top speed was 9mph. It took us 1.5 hours to get in the 13 miles. I have to say it was a bit scary at times when we had gusts coming at us at 30-50mph. While I would have continued on the ride, I was glad it was called off. We made it back to our starting point in 30 minutes. Sure does help when you have a tail wind. We made it back just in time as the storm came with a fury. Sheets of rain were coming down.

The road we were on is called Universe. It is the Double Eagle Airport 2 lane road. As you can see from the pictures, there is nothing out there.
The two best coaches... Ed and Road Mom (Debbie)
The clouds looming... they only got worse.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Week 19 ~ Beautiful.. BDOTB

The weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful, confidence was there... but it wasn't in the cards. BDOTB stands for Bad Day On The Bike. The ride took us from Tramway and Montgomery to the top of Placitas. I didn't realize that Placitas was all uphill, but it was. And, the body was having none of it. I had to keep stopping the let my cramps subside and then continue. On the last rest stop I lost my balance and fell to my left without having my left foot unclipped. I thought "No Big Deal, get up and get going". Well, the clip of my shoe broke and I couldn't clip back in. I was done for the day. Frank was SAGging and we had no cell reception for him to come and get me. So Ed and I started walking to the top. I was only about 2 miles away. We were gone so long that everyone ahead of me started coming back down the hill. I got in the car and cheered everyone else on.

It was one to to avoid going back up the Tramway Hill. I can't avoid it forever. Thanks to Ed for sticking with me. I kept telling him to "Just Go and get Frank". He said "NO".
With only 45 days left to train I am feeling a bit panicked. I will be missing this weekends ride so it will be up to my to get my training in.

Congratulations to everyone who completed this past weekend's ride. You guys are awesome. Enjoy some pictures from the ride my kids took.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Week 18 ~ Lessons Learned

In order to succeed, Your desire for success
should be greater than your fear of failure.

Bill Cosby

Feeling more and more confident every week, I woke up early and got ready. Our ride started at 8:00 instead of 7:30 so I had extra time to relax, stretch and eat breakfast while I waited for Jan to pick me up. I kissed the girls goodbye and loaded up. Jan picked up the “tool box” Frank put together for me and started taking it to the truck. I foolishly said “let’s not take that today. We are going on a short ride and I have new tires. I won’t need anything”.

We started out on our “short” 47 mile through Los Lunas from the Tingly Beach train station and took the bike path until we reached the highway. For those of you who are not familiar with Tingly Beach, it is a stocked pond off of Old Route 66 (Central). The train goes between the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo. The beach has no waves washing ashore nor can you do any body boarding. It is a place to go and have a picnic with your family and while trying to catch a couple of fish.

I have always liked the bike path. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn so the scenery was great to look at. When we got to the highway, the scenery turned a bit brown and boring. Eleven miles into the ride the flat queen got a flat. I heard the “phish” going up the overpass and tried to ignore the noises the tire was making trying to repair itself. We rode to the nearest gas station and sure enough it needed to be changed. Well, I didn’t’ have anything… no tube, no tools only a co2 cartridge. Why would I need tools, I had new tires and tubes? LeeAnn gave me a tube, Nick changed the tire and Tom pumped it up because he did not want to use my cartridge for fear of freezing his hand.

We were off again and about 5 miles later Ed got a flat. We waited for him to change his tire and finally got to our official rest stop in Los Lunas. We didn’t stay long as we were already rested up. We trekked through Los Lunas. A bit scary at times because there are no bike lanes or shoulders to ride on. The cars didn’t seem to care we were there and drove very close to us at times. We finally made it to the road going back to Albuquerque. The road was a nice flat with one hill. I kept telling myself this is easy and tried to keep my speed at 16-18mph. Well, I was struggling. Why, Why, Why, I don’t know. The peddling was hard and butt was aching. Rides like this should be easy and rewarding. We rested at the Walmart on Coors and Rio Bravo. When we started out again, Tom M said, “your back tire looks low”. NOOOOOOO Yes, I had another flat. I rode approximately 10-12 miles on a back flat tire. No wonder I was struggling. When we returned to the bike path Nick pumped up the back tire and I made it back to the car.

Needless to say I was frustrated. I was mad at myself for being too confident and not having any tools with me. It does not matter what kind of tires you get or how much goo you have in the tubes, you have to be prepared with spare parts. I will ready this weekend.

Our route starting at point "A".

Heather and I getting ready to ride out.

Waiting for Ed.

The road we came from.

Scenery while waiting.

The bike path going back to the car.