This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the first JDRF ride of this year in Burlington Vermont. I was also had the pleasure of coaching the team.
Our first ride on Friday was a coaches. I was a little nervous. Riding with the coaches, I figured that we would be riding full out. I know that as someone who should know better, the night before the ride, I changed my cleats on my shoes. Unfortunately my bike was in the Bike room so I couldn't check them. As fate would have it, they didn't work, but we were getting ready to leave so I decided to just suck it up and put just the front cleat in go. Then we were about to start we hear a loud pop in the bike staging area. Blow out. So we waited 10 minutes for the flat change.
I was struggling with my shoes but I still was ok. We finally take off and within the first 1/2 mile half mile, another blowout. . We joked that we were getting all the flats out of the way before the actual ride. After another 10 minutes we started riding again. We were just through downtown Burlington when yep you guessed it, another flat. We figured that this ride was doomed at this point. We were really worried that we would never get really going.
We did get going. The area in Burlington that we rode was really great. I was truly a scenic ride. Well, I really didn't get to admire the scenery too much, we rode pretty fast, although my Garmin didn't translate that too well with all the slowing and stopping. I was also still fighting with my shoes (love that excuse).
We finished and all vowed to make this part of the weekend going forward. I immediately found a bike tech and changed out my cleats for the correct ones. After breakfast was the training/tune up ride with our teams. This was the first chance I had to ride with two of my team members. They did great. It was obvious that they had spent time riding. Their cardio was great. They were not use to riding in pacelines but that was ok. We enjoyed a short 7 mile to a scenic outlook and back. It was still a great ride.
All bikes check out and we were free to enjoy Burlington for the remainder of the day. We all decided to relax and enjoy Burlington.
On Saturday we were expecting the temps to be a little higher than normal for Burlington. It was going to be in the mid 90's by the time that the majority of riders would be finishing so we started hydrating. It had a feel of being back at Death Valley.
We began lining up at about 6:45 on Saturday morning. You could feel the excitement in the air. We were truly excited about the ride. Remembering that this is a ride and not a race, JDRF stationed SAG points at about every 12 - 15 miles. This out and back would not be too incredibly challenging except for a couple of hills.
I knew my team had various plans. I had a couple that were going to do 50 and the rest of us were going for the full century. The ride out to the first rest stop was easy. We took it easy and then flew down a great down hill (remember out and back). We arrived at the first rest stop and everyone was really excited. The group was still together and all was still fresh.
We took off and immediately cross a gorgeous covered bridge. And of course we needed to stop and take pictures. We started again. It was an easy ride. At mile 23 we observed a mile of silence. It was tough, the miles of silence fell on the busiest section of the ride. Also we passed camels and llamas and some of the riders couldn't contain their enthusiasm.
At mile 25 was the second rest stop. The ride was still going great for everyone. Two of our riders decided to turn around at this point. They did a great 25 mile out so I was sure they would do well riding back from this spot.
The three of us remaining took off and enjoyed the ride to Vergennes. This stop was at mile 36.2. At mile 35 we had to make the most difficult climb. It was difficult for the grade. It was an immediate 8 - 12% grade. It was great. We all made it.
In Vergennes, they were having a French Heritage festival. I am sure they were not expecting the influx of riders. It was still great. We were in a little park and fortunately we had lots of shade.
We took off from this stop knowing that the next rest stop was the halfway point. Right after we took off I noticed that one of my riders having a tough time. After about 2 miles, I decided that it would be better for him to turn around. Fortunately he turned without a fight. Jim and I continued on and we picked up a couple of riders and made it to Middlebury in great shape.
At Middlebury, we were on the campus of Middlebury College. It was a beautiful campus. We reloaded supplies and headed back. We took off and the ride back to smooth and beautiful.
Arriving at Rest stop 3 again, and headed out again. About half way to rest stop 2 we were confronted 2 pit bulls. Very scary. They actually came out into the street. Aggressively barking. Scared the crap out of me. Once we arrived at rest stop 2 the next group came in and didn't say anything about the dogs. Oh well.
Heading back to Rest Stop 1, we were still feeling great but ready to be done. We were still making great time and the pace wasn't too taxing so we cruised back into the stop. We also were preparing ourselves mentally for the long climb that previously was a great down hill. This climb was tough. I kept reminding everyone to just spin. Spinning is great mostly but with tired legs and the little resistance, you face cramping. And at the top of the hill I cramped big-time. Fortunately it was quick. And as quickly as I cramped it went away.
Others walked up the hill. At this point in the ride there was no shame in walking this hill. It was tough. With this hill completed, we knew that basically the ride was completed.
Crossing the finish was very rewarding. I enjoy the personal achievement but I get more pleasure from helping others make it.
Well that ends the fun part of this blog. Now for the more serious portion. While riding 100 miles is great and helping others make the ride is also great, the purpose of this ride is more serious.
We rode to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes (T1D). A person with T1D is insulin dependent and unfortunately it is a life sentence. No matter how good the person eats, what kind of shape they are in, how well they manage their stress, they will ALWAYS have this disease.
We are riding to raise money to find a cure. I know that God is able to do all things. I know that if its in His Will it will happen soon. But I also know that we are making great strides in diabetes care. I know that even though it's not a cure, my prayer is that it makes the rode of highs and lows for a diabetic a little smoother.
For those reading this, I hope you will take a moment to donate.