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
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.
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.