I’ve got three words to summarily describe this year’s Young’s Ice Cream Charity Bike Tour: RAIN, WIND, REPEAT. Oh, and it was a wicked great ride that raised a ton of money for some really important organizations working hard to beat Alzheimer’s and juvenile diabetes.
The route (as far as I went at least), is linked below if you want to take a look. Due to scheduling conflicts, I was only able to do the one-day ride. The longest one-day option was 56 miles. Since it was a there-and-back course, however, I decided it would be easy to add an extra leg and make it a 75-mile day. So I did just that, turning around at “Sink Hole Road.” (What a brilliant name for a road, huh? I totally dig it.)
Early on, I had a terrific time riding in a paceline with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation team and benefited greatly from the effects of both drafting and conversation. (I’ll have more to say on group riding in an upcoming post.) The scenery along the route was positively beautiful, even in the rain, and the route itself was well-crafted. It offered a lot of variety, which kept the ride interesting and also helped you stay focused. The SAG support and rest stops were terrific.
The rain shut down my computer at 28.49 miles, which was a drag for a number of reasons. I was averaging 17.7 m.p.h. when it crashed, but I know I didn’t keep that pace all day. It would have been nice to know how I did overall, and to have seen the miles included in my overall odometer reading. In any event, just before it went belly up, I was riding solo on a nice stretch of road, holding steady at around 23-25 m.p.h., when two guys passed me and pulled away like I was a kid on a dime store Huffy. Wow. Fortunately, this was an exception to the rule. The majority of those participating in this event were strong riders but not racers, and there were plenty of first-time folks and novice riders, too.
This brings me to Debbie. Although I began the ride toward the front of the pack, my decision to add 20 miles beyond the second rest stop (i.e., the turnaround point for one-day riders doing the 56-mile option) put me more than hour behind everyone. Needless to say, I was riding alone for a long, long time. Then, in the distance, with about 12 or 13 miles to go, I saw another rider. After a few minutes, I caught up to her. This mother of four and first-time participant was riding all by herself. She only began cycling last fall and had taken off most of the winter months. She was doing the 56-mile option, but she was having a tough time, especially with the hills. We got to talking. At an intersection, the SAG drivers confirmed that we were the only riders still on the road, fell in behind us, and began following us at a snail’s pace, acting as our own personal escort, keeping traffic at bay, and ensuring that other vehicles passed only when it was safe to do so. We carried on that way for the remainder of the tour. As we pedaled, Debbie confessed that, at one point, she’d gotten off her bike and taken shelter from the rain. Waiting out the downpour, she was holding her cell phone and the route map, thinking long and hard about calling in and asking for a lift. But then she put those things away, got back on her bicycle, and resolved to finish the course. She did. And I was proud to be riding beside her at the time. We were the last riders in.
Wet, tired, cold, and facing a long drive home, I didn’t take advantage of the free ice cream, let alone the free putt-putt golf, batting cages, and all the rest. But I did enjoy a couple of burgers and some potato salad. I hope I’m able to take part in this event again next year.
a wave and a nod
To the group of cyclists that stopped at Alpha Koney Island for lunch on Sunday afternoon. There were eight riders and four bikes. While the logical conclusion would be that they were all on tandems, such was not the case. Three of them were riding solo while the remaining five shared a single bike. I really wish I’d had my camera with me.