So I have a few days to let my experience SINK in! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! I flew on Wednesday to DC to meet my WONDERFUL Friend Carrie. I took in a few sights of the DC area...can you believe I have never been! On Thursday we packed up her car with our bikes and gear and left for what would be one of the most bitter sweet experiences of MY LIFE!
I was able to meet the coaches and a few team mates during our travel to Asheville North Carolina. They were WONDERFUL of course allowing us to stop and take pictures of the trip up. We passed through Virginia, Tennessee, and then into North Carolina. Asheville is a GREAT kind of artsy town with lots to look at!
We attended an inspirational dinner put on by Team In Training and heard from survivors of the different types of blood cancers. I heard about a member of the North Carolina Chapter that was training to ride with the group but because he was sick with a cold he was not able to make it to the actual event. He WOULD ride the 100 miles on his trainer at home with the rest of the group...SIMPLY AMAZING! Also of another rider that was diagnosed with Lymphoma when he was 24....he was celebrating his 5th year in remission with his fiancé and a 100 mile bike ride.
I WAS SO NERVOUS the morning of the ride. I doubted myself and all that I had learned. We were up and going by 5 AM...met the team at 6 AM and then drove to the start of the race. We waited around for about an hour...the official start did not start till 8AM!! I could have started at 6 AM! We finally got on our way...the first hour was pretty brutal. I was unable to get into my groove because of all the riders. Lots of tire tapping, break tapping...I was a nervous wreck!
Finally was able to find my groove and the ride really begun for me. The course was full of rolling hills with a few climbs mingled in. Not much in the way of flat...GUESS HOW MUCH I HATE HILLS!
The weather continued to climb as well...IT WAS HOT AND HUMID! Not a combination I am use to. Hot and dry heat...yes. Hot and HUMID...NO! There was a point when I ran out of water at about mile 70 and was pretty miserable. Our wonderful SAG wagon was there with some Gatorade and air conditioning. I was able to cool off in the car and then walk off the desire to through UP! I found out later that they were worried about me because I was pale...but we only had a few more miles to the rest stop. So we kept pedaling. Carrie realizing I was not in a good place SANG, and SANG just to lift my spirits. She was definitely a LIFE SAVER during this ride!
We finally made it to the rest stop where Kate (our wonderful SAG volunteer) was waiting to take my bike and help me cool off. They started packing ice on my neck, and legs to bring down my temperature and had me sit down. After a few minutes of that I started to get up so we could get going. I was quickly interrupted and told to sit. What I didn't realize was that I was not sweating and very pale. The beginnings of dehydration. So I continued to rest, eat and drink. After about 20 minutes I stood up and was ready to go. The color was back in my face and I had a revived sense of energy. We rode on!
The last portion is a blur...We made it to the very last rest stop. Feeling weak but OK. At about mile 94 we came to a stop light and then the DRAMA began. Picture it! Sylvia bent over throwing up in all her GLORY! I FELT LIKE CRAP! Riders and cars were stopping to make sure everything was OK. I was waiving them off and Carrie was verbalizing my waive off's as "everything OK nothing to see here!" I said to Carrie..."I think I am going to call it, I think I am done." I hope everyone has a friend that knows you well enough to say NO! Carrie knew that I would regret that decision for the rest of my life....so she said NO! "If we have to walk 6 miles YOU ARE FINISHING!" With tears in my eyes I said OK and we walked for about 200 yards and got back on the bikes and pedaled. She continued to sing, and provide me with words of encouragement to keep me going. We stopped 1 more time because I was light headed...Carrie asked "how many fingers I am holding up?" I said "2" as if I were making a guess. She said good...you'll make it! She counted down the miles left and then there it was...the finish line. You may think I am being overly dramatic but MY VISION WAS PRETTY BLURRY! I began to CRY! Crying for my Dad, Crying because I was exhausted, crying because I actually made it, crying because I missed my husband, crying because I got to get off my bike...you name it I was crying for it!
9 hours and 12 minutes later a girl who had never ridden more than 10 miles on a mountain bike rode her bike across a finish line enduring the weakness of her body in 110 to 115 Degree heat index and humidity. She began her journey being inspired by her Friend Carrie's first 100 mile ride and her Dad's death. She trained for 15 weeks with very little cardio ability and 2 veal for legs (meaning NO MUSCLE)! She was afraid to fall off her bike and afraid of bike clips. In the end she endured with a smile on her face (most of the time), thinking of her family members past struggles with Cancer. Raising money for an organization that will continue to find treatments for this disease.
I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in this challenge. Thanks to all that were supportive to my cause with donations and words of encouragement. Thanks to my WONDERFUL friend Carrie for supporting me mentally the day of the ride! Thanks to the Coaches in Phoenix for helping me get ready! Thanks to the DC chapter for welcoming me with open arms! Thanks to my Mom who helped me in my different fundraising activities. Thanks to my Husband for being patient and supportive during the 15 weeks. Thanks to my Dad who pulled me through it!
Finishing the ride with TEARS!