So much to spill! Yesterday (May 4th) was the Tour de Cure Century Ride for the America Diabetes Association. I signed up for it in December. I have participated in this event before, the difference this time around is that my friend, the ultimate planner, who planned our training and did all the research when we did it before was not doing it this time around. She definitely did an awesome job because I don’t remember feeling bad at all after the ride.
I was on my own for this ride. After “training” all winter, I did my test rides, 50 miles - easy, 60 miles - no problem. I did not get to do the 75 mile test. Fast forward.
I tend to stress myself out and back in 2010 I only got about an hour of sleep before the event. My goal this time was to be all prepared in advance and to have a nice relaxing day before the event so that I would sleep well. I took Friday off from work to sleep in (just in case I couldn’t fall asleep Friday night) and to make it a relaxing day; I scheduled a pedicure, a manicure and a brow shaping. I had it planned; get all my stuff gathered together before my 11:00 pedicure and then have lunch, lounge around or do some chores, get my manicure and pick up my race packet, come home, have a nice relaxing dinner with Mark, watch a movie... Great plan, unfortunately I have A.D.D. when it comes to doing things. I guess I should start making strict lists to follow. I was getting stuff together and then did the dishes, started getting stuff together and started doing something else. Soon it was time to go for my pedicure. I tried a new shop and the gal was ok. I most likely won’t go back to her, but it was relaxing (in between nervousness attacks, especially when one of the ladies said there was thunderstorms and rain in the forecast for Saturday). I double checked the weather, no thunderstorms in the forecast, clear and warm. I came home, made my second attempt to get all my stuff together (really there’s not that much stuff, I just kept getting side tracked) and got hungry, so I made myself lunch which resulted in cleaning the kitchen again. In the blink of an eye it’s time for my manicure. Ugh, the usual hustle bustle starts! I head off to my manicure appointment.
I had decided to wear my 2010 Tour de Cure jersey for the ride Saturday, the jersey is a bright orange and yellow and I wanted to have my nails done to match. They had the perfect color and ironically it is called “Are we there yet!” Really, what are the odds? My manicurist rushed a bit, but that was fine, not the relaxing manicure I had hoped for, but it was nice. When I was done with my brows and manicure, I headed to the store for a couple of last minute items. Then I remembered, I was going to pick up my race packet at Folsom Bike after my manicure, but in true form I forgot to print out my emergency contact form and bring the couple of checks that I needed to turn in, so I had to go home and get the forgotten items and head back out. Luckily it’s not too far.
My day consisted of calm, extreme nervousness, calm, extreme nervousness. Mark made his dinner and pretty much my dinner and then there was another batch of dishes to do. So now it’s getting later and later and I ask Mark if he checked my tires for me, we decided to switch the back tire for a newer tire. So again true to form, late in the evening I got a tire changing lesson (all the while thinking we should have been doing this yesterday), which was good, but since I was stressed, I wasn’t pleased during the lesson, but very thankful after. I’m so glad he puts up with me!
I have pretty much everything lined up on a towel on the dining room table: shoes, gloves, headband, arm covers, helmet, 2 water bottles, sunscreen, lip balm, Kleenex, ID card, Credit and Debit Cards, Kaiser Card, cash, bag of nuts, craisins, dates and peanut butter filled pretzels, antibacterial gel, change of clothes for after the ride, deodorant, hat, brush, and in the refrigerator I have an apple and orange cut up and 2 almond butter sandwiches with banana, dates, honey and cinnamon, Motrin, electrolyte water tablets, and an empty baggies to squirrel away a couple Oreos that are at the rest stop that I want to enjoy after the ride (they usually have Red Vines and Oreos along with fruit and PB&J sandwiches or bagels at the rest stops but I never feel like eating the junk food during the ride and for some reason they never have it at the finish, so this time I’m going to remember to bring a baggie to take it with me!).
Really the only things I need to take are: 2 water bottles, electrolyte tablets (and really not even those as the rest stops have Gatorade), my shoes, my helmet, my headband, my gloves, my ID, Kaiser Card, Money and a credit card, sunscreen and lip balm. I like to take my own snacks, so I prepped an apple, an orange, 2 almond butter-banana-honey-cinnamon-date sandwiches, a bag of peanut butter filled pretzels mixed in with almonds, cashews, craisins and dates and a granola bar. When I picked up my ride packet they gave me 2 “Gu” packets and 4 mini Luna Bars, so when I got home I nixed the granola bar and added the 2 Gu packets, knowing I wouldn’t eat them since I had no idea what they would do to my stomach (a 100 mile ride is not the place to test new food) and 2 Luna Bars. The funny thing about all this food is there are rest stops about every 25 miles with food. The Tour de Cure usually has awesome food at the rest stops: PB&J, oranges, bananas and then licorice and sometime trail mix or protein/energy bars, so technically, I didn’t need to pack all this stuff, but I wasn’t taking any chances!
Finally, my food prepped, clothes laid out, ID and money ready, sunscreen, etc, tire changed. Now it’s time for a shower. It’s only 9:45, so not too late. Shower, watch a little TV and can’t sleep. Not going to get upset about it. Dear Lord, please let me fall asleep… Dear Lord, I am not going to get upset because you know what is right for me, if I don’t need the sleep, I don’t…. Dear Lord, I hand you all my worries, stress and fear for tomorrow. Your will shall be done and I leave it in your hands. Please Lord; let me get some sleep…. I think I dosed off and on until about 1:00 am, then I got up and took a little sip of Nyquil. I must have fallen asleep somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00; the alarm went off at 4:30.
I turn the alarm off and get up and into the shower. No time for A.D.D. this morning (ha!), I want to leave between 5:15 and 5:20. After I got out of the shower, I put the chamois cream on my shorts and got dressed. Not hungry, but per all the “books” I should eat something so I made some oatmeal, it is 5:10, of course I’m running late! My mom and Mark are dropping me off and so my Mom arrives about 5:30, Mark loads my stuff. I brush my teeth; it’s almost 5:40! I don’t know how I loose so much time. I get in the Tahoe; I forgot the sunscreen, I run back into the house, back to the truck and we’re off.
I have a prime parking spot because I have awesome friends, family and neighbors and with their help I raised over $1,000! We don’t have to trek to the registration area, it’s right nearby, because, I’m a “Champion” due to the funds raised ($1590 total!!). We park and my nerves kick into high gear and I need to visit the porta-potty, and luckily they are right by our parking spot! I go pick up a copy of the route sheet, even though I have it on my Garmin and I already made a print out of it, but it doesn’t have the rest stops. The volunteers are getting breakfast ready for folks, they have KIND nut bars out on the table, I grab 2 and stick them in my back jersey pocket (because I don’t have enough food squirreled away already!) Ok, now I put on my sunscreen, headband, helmet, shoes, put the food and water bottles on the bike and I guess that’s it. Wait, Mom wants to take some pictures. She takes a picture of me and I look totally nervous in it when I look back at it, but it is such an accurate shot. She then took a picture of Mark and me and then he took one of me with her. Ok, now it’s time to get to the start line.
The announcer is making the announcements and my mom is asking Mark what the red light means on our camera as it’s not taking photos, he doesn’t know. She tries to ask me, I don’t know. I tell her, “Mom, I don’t know, I’m trying to listen to the instructions.” I’m so rude and such a brat, but that happens when I’m nervous and especially when I’m about to ride off on a 100 mile trek all by my lonesome (but really that’ no excuse; again so lucky to have my hubby and mom who put up with me!).
At the start line I roll in behind the crowd of folks (who appear to be all men) who are there for the official 6:30 start time for the Century ride. The Metric Century (62 miles) starts at 7:30, the 31 mile ride starts at 9:30 and the 10 miler starts at 10:30. I overheard on the route that some folks started at 6:00, probably what I should have done.
I look at my mom who is taking pictures and I ask if she sees any gals in the crowd, she said maybe one. I see some longer hair with curls, but it’s a fella. Off we go! I’m the last in the group but I’m with the group. We head out HP’s driveway and make a right onto Foothills Blvd. We ride down a ways and then hog the lanes as we all merge across to get in the left turn lane to turn left onto Pleasant Grove. I hear a car, it’s Mark and Mom, I’m cutting them off! I let the cyclists around me know it’s my husband and mom, so we’re good to go. They get behind us in the turn lane. I turn around a couple of times to wave. The light turns green and we’re off and Mark and Mom drive on by, I wave good-bye, it’s just me now. I’m riding behind a younger guy; well, probably younger than me, at least. I ask him how long he thinks this will take him, he’s not sure, he’s never done a Century before, and soon he zooms off toward the front of the pack.
We weave through a neighborhood and end up behind the Fountains in Roseville on Reserve Drive and then onto Berry Street, where we cross over Galleria/Harding Blvd onto the Humbug bike trail, I’m excited because I recently learned about this trail and have been taking it to work, so I’m familiar with it. You have to be careful though because there are yellow 3’ tall poles in the center entering and exiting the bike path, so if you’re not paying attention, it won’t be good. I overheard at a later rest stop that someone crashed into a pole and caused a chain reaction. Not sure how bad though and it could just be urban legend.
We ride along the bike paths and out into the neighborhoods of Rocklin and weave our way to Midas Ave, then Pacific Street and the back roads until we turn onto English Colony off of Swetzer Rd. Just before this I catch up to a gentleman who introduces himself as Lauren. He asks if I am riding with anyone and I tell him no, I couldn’t get any of my girlfriends to agree to do it. I ask about him, he’s with some of the other guys but he is doing the Metric Century as he went out on the course during the planning stages and decided he hadn’t trained well enough for the hills for 100 miles. We chatted a while and then we separated a little on the English Colony rolling hills. By this time the guys who stopped in the beginning at the first rest stop are already passing us up again. Guys are so dang strong and fast!
Our first main rest stop is at mile 16 at Trailhead Coffee Shop. I use the potty, fill up my water bottle, notice another gal is here, I smile at her and say hello. Lauren sees me and tells me I’m stronger than him on the hills, so he won’t be seeing me much. I laugh and say we’ll see and I leave the rest stop.
I am riding up Taylor Road and a group of cyclists in Team in Training jerseys pass me by, a couple of them ask if I’m the number 2 fundraiser, as my bib number is 2. I tell them, no, just apparently the second person to pick up my bib. Well, as they zoomed past me I couldn’t say, number 2 only because there were 3 different bibs, the regular white bib, the red bib for those riding with diabetes and the yellow/gold bib which means Champion Fundraiser ($1,000+ in donations received). Then the gal from the rest stop passes me up. I’m not sure if she’s with the Tour de Cure or the Team in Training group or riding by herself. We ride up Taylor Road and there is construction going on just past the left turn for Lozanos Rd. The route sheet says left on Ophir, I’ve seen Ophir several times, but get thrown off by the construction and miss the Red and Green arrows pointing to go straight ahead and I turn left on Lozanos. I have the route programed in my GPS and shortly after I turn it starts beeping at me and flashing “off course.” Then I see a few guys with bibs coming back towards Taylor Road. I ask if it’s the wrong way and the say yes, so we go back to Taylor Rd and meet up with about 5 others in the group and the gal. Everyone is questioning if going through the construction is correct, and the gal said she saw the arrows that show go straight and I told them my Garmin told me I was off course when I went left, so we all wait and wait for the flag man to turn the stop sign around and let us pass through.
We pass through the construction mess and continue on. Our first major hurdle is Baxter Grade around mile 25. I have heard of this hill for a few years now and only rode it for the first time about two months ago. I am now riding with Maria, the gal from the rest stop; she is doing the Tour de Cure and so we ride along together. She is from Davis and not used to the Newcastle area. I warn her Baxter Grade is a challenging hill, but only 1.3 miles. As we are ascending the hill, a volunteer is waiting at a bend asking if we want to participate in the time trial to the top, there are prizes. I think he’s insane. I jest, unless there is a prize for the slowest… He says they are doing different prizes, I said thanks but no thanks. Getting to the top is prize enough for me. Another gal caught up to us on Baxter and she decided to stop and sing up for it (I’m sorry but I refuse to stop on the hill, unless it’s an emergency!) She eventually passes us, huffing and puffing. We are only at mile 25, no way am I burning all my energy now!
Shortly after Baxter Grade, we come to the next rest stop. They are having a BBQ, and they have fruit and peanut butter sandwiches, Red Vines and now, a week later, I can’t remember if there were Oreos! We use the restroom and grab a couple pieces of fruit, refill the water bottles and head back out. We are around mile 30. Lauren is at the rest stop, he is ready to turn around to finish the Metric Century, he says good-bye and we all head out on our courses.
We head out toward Camp Far West. Maria isn’t eating too much, which amazes me. I need to fuel up and I’m afraid to get dehydrated because the last time I did the Century in 2010, I got really bad toe cramps and my feet felt like they were on fire. It could have been partially due to dehydration, so not this time! I was drinking about one twenty-four ounce bottle of water and one twenty-four ounce bottle of water with a Nuun electrolyte tablet dissolved in it about every 20 miles or so.
The country side is beautiful. It’s amazing the homes that are out in the “middle of nowhere.” It makes you wonder, what do these people do for a living and what made them decide to build their homes out here. We ride past the lake at Camp Far West heading back toward Lincoln. A lady cyclist passes by on the other side of the street. We say hello and then a few minutes later she joins us. She asked if we were on a group ride as she saw some other cyclists pass by earlier. We told her we are doing the Diabetes ride. She asks if she can ride with us a while as she lives out there and is on her regular 20 mile loop and would love the company. We discover she is in her early 50’s, her husband passed away a few years ago, she paddles and cycles and is debating moving back to Folsom or Fair Oaks to be closer to activities, but that it’s a really tough decision for her as it’s so beautiful where she lives.
As we’re riding we come across a mini rest stop, at first we pass it and then turn around. The rest stop we just came from was 20 miles from here and that’s the next stop. We go back and they apologize that they have not been brought water. I’m thinking oh no! The stop is in the parking lot of a little convenience store, so I go in and buy four big bottles of water. Maria gave me some money to use as well. We fill up our bottles and leave the remaining water for the next couple of folks who may stop. Just then the SAG support truck pulls up with a case of water. There was a miscommunication; the itinerary shows this to be an unmanned stop. With our water bottles topped off, we head out again.
The next rest stop is at about mile 70; it’s getting pretty warm out. We would have been ok if we didn’t stop at the mini rest stop as it wasn’t 20 miles to the next stop. We arrive at the rest stop pretty quickly after the mini stop. We pop-in to top off our waters. I give Maria my GU packets as she still isn’t eating much and we have Ridge Road, a major hill climb coming up in 8 miles. A few of us are talking about the remainder of the ride, one of the guy’s in the group, say’s “Ridge Road? That’s not a hill.” I ask him if he thought Baxter Grade was a hill and he laughed. I guess humor makes the mountain seem flatter? I don’t know! Maria tells me it’s ok if I break away as she knows it’s easier to keep your own pace, especially on this distance of a ride. I hate to lose the company, but she’s right and I want to try and get back by 2:30. I notice my stomach is beginning to feel a little out of sorts. I’ve eaten some fruit, some of my mixed nuts and pretzel mix and some of my sandwiches, I’m not used to the electrolyte tablets, I’m not sure what’s causing the nausea in my tummy and I am also annoyed that my toes keep cramping up.
We head out, I am again riding solo. I come to the turn for Ridge Road. I am not looking forward to this, but I remind myself that after this climb, it’s pretty much all downhill. I can do it. It’s getting hotter. I start my accent. I see a cyclist pulled of the side of the road cooling off, I keep pedaling. I look up and coming down the road is Mark and Mom. I wave and they turn around and end up behind me. At first I am quite annoyed that they are driving behind me. But then I am glad to semi have the company and the fact that they are behind me makes me keep my speed up higher than it would have been had they not been there. After the climb, I cruise down to Taylor Road and make a right and head back toward Trailhead Coffee. Mark and Mom pass me by.
I was going to skip the Trailhead rest stop, but I see Mark and Mom are waiting there, so I pull in. It was probably a good idea to stop as I wasn’t feeling well and I was getting hot. I unloaded some of my excess gear with them and cooled down a little. Just as I was getting ready to head off, I saw Maria coming down the road. She swung into the rest stop and we rode down the hill together.
Detour! There is a train blocking the road. One guy had been waiting for 5 minutes already; he wasn’t climbing back up to Taylor Road (although it wasn’t that big of a climb, I totally understood where he was coming from). We road back to Trailhead and found we could pick the route back up by going down Taylor Road. My Garmin picked the route back up once we were on course, however I noticed it shaved about 2 miles off our ride. The ride was already only 98 miles, so now I needed to make up 4 more miles. My stomach was nauseous, my feet were cramping up and I was getting a headache, but I was excited that we were at mile 92! As we rolled up Foothills Boulevard my feet were on fire, but I was determined to ride a full 100 miles, not 94.
I tell Maria that I am going to go straight past Hewlett Packard and loop back around so I hit 100 miles. She said she figured if I can ride with cramps in my feet, she can add a few more miles. We pass Hewlett Packard, Blue Oaks and the street dead ends; we turn around, make a right onto Blue Oaks and ride to the next signal, make a u-turn and back to Foothills Boulevard. We turn right back onto Foothills and right into the Hewlett Packard entrance to the finish line. There is a photographer taking photos of the folks coming across the finish line. I see Mark, where’s mom?
Mark tells me my mom went to the truck to get something. When she comes back she has me “recreate” the finish so she can take pictures. Although I’m feeling awful, the pictures come out like I’m having a ball because I’m laughing because the photographer is taking more photos of me too!
We head over to the BBQ area, there is a raffle going on and I want to see if there are any snacks I can have. I see a box of bagels and want to dive in but don’t feel like reading the ingredient label. I still have half a sandwich, but it’s on my bike and Mark put the bike in the truck… I have a KIND nut bar in my back pocket, I inhale that, turned out not to be a good idea as it did not help my stomach.
I was given a medal for being a Champion for Diabetes because I raised $1590, I got to go up and receive it. That was pretty cool. After that, I went to the free massage area as my neck and shoulders were killing me. The gal did a great job, but I was so tense, I needed about a 2 hour massage and it was supposed to be a 15 minute massage, but she went a little longer.
That’s it, all the training, all the begging for donations, all the worry, all the fear, all the planning, all over, just like that. I text my girlfriends who I ride with on occasion that I’m done and alive. I had big plans for my evening after the ride. Last time my girlfriend had a BBQ party for us and I felt fine, I was thankful that my brother’s Birthday BBQ had been moved to Sunday, as I was not feeling well.
We got home, I laid down on the couch and my head throbbed and my stomach would not let me eat or drink anything. I was annoyed as I had my dinner feast all planned. I ended up getting off the couch around 5 and going to bed. I sent a text to my friend to tell her that I was not feeling well, she texted back with her prescription and with a note saying that she was going to save this text! I get what we dub as riders amnesia, I forget the pain and suffering, hence I ride again and again. She has my back; she’ll remind me of the pain! I texted her back, no need to save, I felt so awful, I wouldn’t forget! It wasn’t until about midnight that I could actually eat.
I woke up Sunday morning feeling fabulous and excited about the ride. My appetite was still smaller than normal, but I felt good and was ready to tackle the day! I texted my friend, “you’d better save the text!”
My hubby Mark and "Amni"
Um, yeah, I look nervous!
First few pedal Strokes!
Before the ride 6:29 am
The real finish!