Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Well, I did it! I completed America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride around Lake Tahoe last Sunday. It was 100 miles of nearly perfect riding. Okay, some of the roads could use fresh pavement, but the views were stunning. No, make that STUNNING. And the weather was ideal.
We started off a minute past 6 am in our ride groups, each one having its own pace (lightning fast, pretty fast, fast enough, and slower). We started out warming up for about ten miles, before hitting the famous Switchbacks. I did this ride with Team in Training and raised nearly $5,000 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Our team raised over $100,000 in total and the event raised over $6 million. GO TEAM! Now the TNT coaches are all clearly veterans of psychological warfare. They spend months telling you how hard the Switchbacks are and the later climb, Spooner, is. They train us on some of the longest hills in San Diego, always telling us that it's to get us in shape for the much harder Switchbacks and Spooner. Well, there's no doubt we were in shape, because pretty much everyone conquered those climbs with ease. I'm not saying there wasn't some challenge to them, but I went up the ten miles of Spooner gabbing away to my teammate, Claudia, encouraging her and only occasionally threatening her ("If you go below five mph, I'm putting it on Facebook"). We passed riders walking about six miles from the top and I had to bite my tongue as all I wanted to ask was, "What's the plan here, ladies? You can't walk all the way to the top." I heard a woman from Michigan on my wheel huffing and puffing and tried to offer encouragement. But, in the end, every team has to fend for itself a bit. I'm sure they all made it to the top, but I know they didn't enjoy the views as much as I did. It's hard to appreciate the beauty when you're trying not to vomit.
This was my fifth century bike ride with Team in Training and my second AMBBR and I have to confess this one was easier. Of course, partially that's because of changes I've made to my bike, but partially it's also a result of riding a lot of hard miles. Where other teams top out at seventy-five miles on their training rides, we went to ninety-six and change. And the geography around San Diego provides some great hills upon which to tort— I mean train ourselves.
I'd like to thank everyone who supported me in my fund-raising, including a number of editors and colleagues in publishing, and many authors, who took advantages of the offers I made to them. And thanks, also, to the clients who made donations. It's only with your support that I was able to do this ride.
Thanks, also, to the coaches and mentors from the team, who put up with me when I started training and wasn't doing well. The back hurt and the knee hurt and I wasn't in great shape. I sometimes wondered if I'd make it to the ride, but with their encouragement and patience it turned out to be the easiest one-hundred miles I've ever ridden.
And thanks to my wife, Nadene, who took our son, Matty, by herself pretty much every Saturday since February so that I could train. Without her willingness to do that, I never could have done this ride.
So, what's next? I'm looking into doing Tour de Poway, a local century, and I hope to remain involved with Team in Training. With a new baby on the way, it might be tough, but we'll see. In the meantime, I'm hoping to help support my friend Ted, a cancer survivor whose story could be a made-for-TV movie. Check out http://pages.teamintraining.org/sd/sdtrcla10/twilcoxzdf to read it.
Posted by Andrew Zack at 10:11 AM