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aimeekitty puzzled
Okay, so yesterday was the Livestrong Challenge. Yes, it was a "omg, why did i sign up for this again?" moment, but it was also a great, albeit painful, experience. Looking back, I'm really glad I went through with it and what a wonderful feeling having so much support! Y'all are awesome! Thank you soooo much!

So, the day started at 0 dark 30, as previously mentioned...

So, back in May when I decided to do this, I spent some time looking for tips and other people who where going to be doing it, just to get an idea of what it would be like (and to get an idea of how screwed I was). Following link after link, I ended up at a cycling blog, called Fat Cyclist. Not only was the blog terribly funny, but a lot of people who followed the blog seemed friendly, and funny, and really supportive :) So, I clicked the little "Join Team" button. Little did I know I'd be riding on the coattails of winners! Team Fat Cyclist won the award for raising the most money for the Live Strong Challenge (64K o.0)! What did that mean? The team got to start in front...

Doesn't look so bad, right?

Well, immediately behind us was this....

About 2500 crazy-ass driven cyclists, a lot of whom were doing the 100 mile course. And looking very... intense... Uhhhh. I'm starting to have a bad feeling about this. I had originally intended to join them for the photo and then go back to my proper place at the back of the 50 mile group, but I succumbed to peer pressure and ended up staying. ALL of the Team Fatty people were soooo nice and supportive, what a great group of people! I can't say enough nice things about them, and if you are looking for a team, I strongly suggest them. They have a team at all four cities this year!

Getting ready for the team photo...

At the start line... when I'm still smiling. (and yes, I don't have the cool team jersey :(

My bike... wildly inappropriate for a distance event. Hey, at least I took off the baskets and the super knobby tires! The guy at the bike check stand (who ended up being a friend of Marcus', small world!) said it was one of the heaviest bikes he saw all day (Because I'm just That. Hard. Core. *snicker*) Doing this event has convinced me that if I intend to continue doing bike touring, and I think i want to, it's time to get a "real" bike for non-commuting purposes.

Unfortunately, I didn't even attempt to get photos at the beginning because I didn't think it was safe. However, it was CRAZY! The streets of downtown were just this solid mass of bikes. I was riding over as far right as possible as all those bikers behind us were sweeping past and people were still using the gutter to pass. CRAZY. Here is about two miles in when I thought I could whip out the camera safely.

Biking through Willow Glen. I was really surprised how many people had come out to watch, and cheer, the bikers. It was really inspiring. A lot of "you can do it!" :) You can also see one of the team members I quasi-rode with during the day.

So, the 50 mile course basically circled the entire Santa Clara Valley. It went out to Monte Sereno, south to Santa Teresa, east to Hicks Road/Silverpine, and then west back to downtown. There was also three really really big hills. Okay, big to me. 1200 feet of climbing while the 100 mile course was 3500 feet. I was really worried about being able to finish/looking foolish. I had practiced on the first two (Fruitvale and Shannon Road). Surprisingly, not only did I finish (woot!) but my miles per hour was actually slightly better than my training rides! I didn't have to stop on Fruitvale at all, and there was only a couple of stops on Shannon Road. It actually made me feel so much better to see lots of other people "cross-training" (i.e. walking up the steeper bits).

However, when I got to Silverpine, it didn't go so well. By this point, it was mile 35 and I was hating life. I biked up the first two sections on this hill, but when I turned the corner, there was a "oh, hell no" moment. Luckily, at least 50% of the people were walking up, so I wasn't just me. The SAG Wagon (Support and Gear minivans, or "Sore Ass Gluteals"... the medical and technical support for the ride... they are the ones that rescue bikers off the course), would swing by with the "are you doing okay?" quite frequently lol.


Okay, now for the "exciting" portion of the ride. I was about six miles from the end, and it was sorta-downhill ish. Even teeny rises were moments of oww. At this point, I had run out of Up. There was no more Up in the tank. Up had left the building. Up has said "screw you!" and went to disneyland. On a stretch of downhill, there was a dramatic POP, and my bike went all whobbly.

Uh. Oh. My first flat in the middle of nowhere (I've been lucky, I've only had flats within walking distance of bike stores or home). Okay. I can do this. I have all the equipment. I have spare tubes. I've... watched... people change flats. This is not a problem. I can do this. This does not mean I can't finish.... right? meep! I pull over, and after a bit of fussing, get my back tire off. And what do I see?

A two inch slash in the tire itself. It went all the way across the tire, and then a fair amount down the side. A tube isn't going to solve this problem. Lots of swears. Then another cyclist stops to help, and says, if I want to finish, I might be able to finish the ride on it if I slip a couple of dollars between the tire and the tube to temporarily seal the hole. And then two SAG wagons stop, and one has tires! Plus tubes that fit those tires! And it was very much a "need a tire? Need a tube? need us to change it?" I think they would have vacuumed the house if I asked. So nice! and so prepared!

After a bit, I cycle on. Sweet blessed downtown!

The finish line, omg!

And 50 miles later. AJ, Wei-ling and Marcus were so nice to meet me at the end. Omg, sore. But yay! And what about next year? lol

ETA: The Team Fatty Picture!


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 13th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
Wow!!! Congratulations, you! This sounds like it was a lotta fun.

I love your jersey, too. *_* Gives me bike nostalgia...
Jul. 13th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
congrats, Judy!! :D
Jul. 13th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
That is so awesome! Congrats to you for doing that. It's really inspiring considering I'm still working on getting off my ass and doing a marathon in honor of my dad.
Jul. 13th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
You rock, Judy. That was a great endeavor on behalf of someone you love.

Jul. 13th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
You are amazing and inspiring!!!!!! That is epic! And not only that, you are such a great writer! I loved reading this and congratulations !!
Jul. 13th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
You are awesome! You persevered! Congrats.
Jul. 13th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Yay! Congrats to you. It sounds like quite an experience! :-D
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you sooooo much, Tony! *huggles*
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
You crazy woman, even *thinking* about doing a century :-)

Great job. I am really really proud of you!!!
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
Awesome story. Congratulations!!
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
You are so hardcore!

Wow, you got a huge gash in your tire! Nice that those dudes were there to help out.
Because you are so hardcore!
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
*snicker* Oh, that's me all right, oh-so-hardcore. Now where is my cake?!?!?!
Jul. 13th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
Grats on meeting your goal!!
Jul. 13th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
Very awesome sauce. Congrats galore!
Jul. 13th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
Woo, that's awesome! Love the pix, too~ Team Fatty sounds like amazing people with amazing sense of humor. <3
Jul. 13th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your great ride! So glad that SAG was there to get your rubberside down again. It was great meeting you at Livestrong - Sandy
Jul. 15th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
Re: Congratulations
Thank you so much, it was great to meet you! :)
Jul. 13th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
Great meeting you, teammate
Judy - so glad that you're a member of Team Fatty! The BBQ was great fun and being able to start at the front of the ride was awesome! So glad you finished and had fun. I too had a bit of bike trouble the mechanics and medics and volunteers on the course were amazing!
Jul. 15th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
Re: Great meeting you, teammate
It was so great to meet you!! :) I'm glad they were also able to help you, i was so worried i wouldn't be able to finish!
Jul. 14th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
You rock, Judy!
Jul. 14th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
=O I cannot believe you rode 50 miles on that thing. I had no idea. Wow.

Good SAG support like that is pricless. I'm glad you were able to finish!
Jul. 14th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
It's my commuting bike. Great for going over train tracks. Not so much 50 mile rides.

Yeah, they were crazy prepared, and seemed to have hundreds of the wagons cruising the course. Of course, I felt like someone announced over the walkie talkie system "watch that chick in the yellow jersey, she's going to need help eventually..." lol

"are you doing okay? do you need to stop? how are you doing? feeling okay?" lol
Jul. 14th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
That is EPIC! Awesome!!!!
Jul. 14th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
Jul. 15th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC)
Go team Fatty!
Great write up. It was good to meet some of the other team members over the weekend, sounds like you had a great ride. Loved the pictures. That was one major slice, those LAF folks did a great job with support.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )