Tour de Cure
I knew this was coming. The Tour de Cure century ride, 100 miles on a bike. I tried not to think about it because when I did I got nervous. The longest ride to date was 63 miles and this would be a big jump. I have tipped (fell) on my bike twice this spring and I have a short supply of bike confidence. I was apprehensive.
We left the house around 5:30am and Maurice got us there at 6:40. The ride was staged at Raging Rivers Water Park in Grafton Illinois and it is a ride that benefits the American Diabetes Association. We pulled into the parking lot at the same time as my friend and fellow Wildwood swimmer Chris. Chris was planning to ride 50 and then spend time at the water park with Venus who would be riding the 16 mile course. Incidentally Chris went on to swim at the SLAM open water swim the next day too.
We checked in and found Janet and her friend from Team in Training Frank. The four of us started out on the course together. We rode up north and made it to the first aid station, which they call “Rest Stops” in Pierre Marquette Park. Around this time it started to rain and soon we were riding in a nice gentle downpour, which took me totally out of my comfort zone. I have never ridden in the rain. I was nervous, my shoes filled with water and the pad in my shorts started to absorb water. I was riding in water. It was cool and refreshing but creepy. Eventually it quit raining and we started to dry out.
I guess around the third “rest stop” the course took us across a river riding a ferry. We had to wait a couple minutes for the ferry to come in and then rode it to the other side. We had a great time riding across the river, smiling and taking pictures. Then we encountered the wind. It was time to go to work. The sun came out and it got hot, the wind challenged us and encountered a bit of rolling hills on the course. Making it to the next stop became our quest. We would get to the aid station, refuel, eat a bit and look to see how far it was to the next one. Stop by stop we trekked along. Long is the word. It was a long day. At this point I have to say Maurice was incredible. He had some back issues this spring and work challenges that kept him from training. Two weeks ago we rode 12 miles in Wildwood, last weekend we rode 58 and then this week we got out once for 16. He squeezed in a couple bike rides to the YMCA to work out and then jumped into this Century ride. Maurice was ready for 50 miles not 100. He was amazing. When you run a marathon there are two races and those are miles 1-20 and then 20-26.2. Guess which is part is harder? I think with the Century you could say that when you hit mile 80 the second race begins. At 80 is where it is all about mental toughness. This is where you find out if your nutrition and hydration plan worked. It is when every part of your body aches, when you realize that there is no comfortable position on the bike. That’s when the race begins. The last 20 miles were excruciatingly long. Quitting was not an option, survival was our objective.
We made all 100 miles; in fact the course was longer more like 102-3 miles long. Our reward was a lunch of a hamburger and chips, a t shirt and a patch. The mental reward was far greater. Accomplishment!