Today was the Tour de Cure, a ride to raise money for diabetes research and treatment. I've been doing this ride off and on ever since the year after Hubby was diagnosed with diabetes, when the ride was held right across the road from our house. That first ride, even though it was in May, was cold and drizzly and mostly miserable. I wasn't up to climbing ONE MORE HILL, and I almost called Hubby to come get me from half a mile away. I don't do this ride every year, because I hate the fund-raising part, especially when the economy is this bad.
This year's ride was in the same general location it has been for the past few years, just south of the Atlanta Airport. It's a surprisingly rural area, with some lightly-traveled roads and lots of farmland. We had a new start location this year, though, at ___________ Farm. (I can't remember the name and I'm too tired to look it up. Doesn't matter anyway.) The sign for "Parking" took us down a long, winding, gravel road that appeared to go absolutely nowhere. My GPS asked if I wanted to switch to pedestrian mode, because there were clearly no roads nearby. I finally did find the parking area, and there were a bazillion cars there. I can't believe how much this ride has grown. I was rider #923, and I saw several riders wearing numbers over 1000.
There were several cool things about this ride besides the route. At the first rest stop (which was also the third rest stop, unless you also counted the one the 62-milers weren't supposed to stop at, in which case it was also the fourth rest stop), the volunteers were all decked out in college gear. They were mostly SEC schools, and of course I was nicest to the folks wearing UGA gear. They had stuffed mascots and pom-poms decorating the coolers and the tent. It was a cute touch. In fact, they had separated the M&M's into little cups with school colors together. (Does it bother anyone else that they had M&M's at a rest stop on a ride for DIABETES?) I heard one of the volunteers say, "No one is taking the Florida ones!" I told her there was a good reason for that.
The t-shirt was also pretty cool, a nice gray color with a predominantly yellow design. I'm all about the yellow. And it's ALWAYS all about the t-shirt. I almost left without mine, once accidentally and once on purpose. I was headed to the car when I realized I hadn't gotten my goodie bag. Oh...and lunch. After I wolfed down half of a BBQ chicken sandwich, I headed for the tent with the goodie bags and t-shirts. Only I couldn't just pick them up. They were held hostage until I filled out a PAPER survey about the ride.
I realize the ride organizers want feedback about the ride, and immediately following the ride is the best time to get it. Many rides actually make changes based on what cyclists say about the experience, and I respect them for that. But withhold the t-shirt and goodie bag until people fill it out? I was slightly offended by that. And 1000 (or more) sheets of PAPER? Ugh.
The weather was just a tad unpleasant, and unusually cool for Georgia in May. Temperatures were high 50's/low 60's (I know, I know, I should live in ________ if I think that's cold), and it remained overcast all day. There was also a bit of a wind, but not at all the "breezy" (read: knock you off your bicycle) that the weather folks predicted.
The #1 coolest thing about the ride, though, was that I realized the route would go near my nephew's house. When I texted him, he said the rest stop nearby was actually at his daughter's school. So they came and met me on the route, then waited at the school until I got there. It was great to see them, even if my great-nephew did sleep through the whole thing. Man, that baby fills up a stroller. He did wake up enough to smile at me right before I pedaled away.
I did this ride without either Katydid or Rozmo, another highly unusual event. It wasn't as much fun, not having someone to talk to for the whole ride, but I pretended I'm a grown-up and got through the whole day anyway. I averaged 15.1 mph over the 62-mile course, a personal best for me on a single bike. Katydid and I did average over 16 on the tandem once in the oh-so-flat southern part of Georgia. I'm not sure how we did THAT, since I had developed an acute case of bronchitis the night before, but stats don't lie.
Riding that hard has wiped me out, however, and I'm headed to bed. At 7:30. Because I can.