The results are here.
It was an amazing day, filled with fun, excitement, and firsts. Firsts include:
- First endurance event (for Anya)
- First time riding 100+ miles
- First time riding in a line with other riders
- First time fording a dry river bed carrying a bike with thousands of other riders (and did it twice in one day...)
- First time riding 37mph on my bike
- First time raising funds to find a cure for blood cancer!!!
After breakfast, at 5:45am we assembled at our lovely (hah...NOT!) hotel with our Team in Training friends to head over to the start line with the 8000+ other riders.
It was at the start line that it really hits you what you are doing and how 3 months of training culminates in a great experience with friends and the satisfaction of knowing you're doing it for a great cause.
The ride started at 7am, and before long we were out in the desert, riding in a group with friends Jared and Erika. We passed an old airplane graveyard, and began a cool 9-mile descent down at 2% grade towards the mountains:
At about mile 46, we encountered the 2nd river crossing of the ride, the Sabino Creek crossing, next to Canyon Ranch. Unfortunately this involved a 3/4 mile hike, carrying our bikes, across a dusty riverbed with about 1,000 other riders who were doing the 67-mile ride. Needless to say it was exhausting. I wish I had a picture of the craziness but I think I was too stunned by the number of riders we suddenly encountered to remember!
After a nasty steep climb, we coasted to our lunch spot at about mile 56, where our hero, Jim, had sandwiches and re-supplied us with our energy gels and electrolyte drinks. A group of us took some time to take a photo before heading off for the 2nd half of our ride:
The rest of the ride passed in a blur, as we had a long slow climb that lasted about 10 miles. We passed some great scenery on the way, that I managed to remember to photo:
But after that climb, lordy were the next 15 miles FUN!!! Doug leading, the three of us (Doug, Erika, and I) averaged about 25mph down a long long decline to the valley floor. It was a blast, and we stopped at another rest stop at the bottom, mile 85, where again Jim and Jackson were waiting with beverages and an update on all our other Team members whom we hadn't seen since the start line.
After about a 10 minute stop to re-hydrate and re-fill, we were off again for the final stretch (no stopping from 85-109 miles!!!). Feeling great, we came to the finish line at 4:06pm, and met up with friends (and a much-deserved cup of bubbly!):
All in all, it was an amazing experience. You can't help getting a little teary-eyed when you finally make it 109 miles on your bike. When I think that there were people riding on Saturday that are battling cancer, or currently in treatment, I am awed at their strength and courage. I hope you will join me in making a commitment to this cause, knowing what these people are struggling with and the fight that still remains. Please help me on that last short step to my fundraising goal here.
I thank you so much for all your help in this journey, and hope you will share your thoughts with me. I plan on continuing my commitment to this cause in the future, and hope you will too!