Sunday, June 10, 2012

2012 Tour de Cure Post-Ride Report

There is no doubt about it. 100 miles on roads - even when the temperature is in the mid-90's - is way better than 100 miles in the driveway. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of photos from yesterday's ride save for the one above at the starting line. I took that one right about 7:00 a.m. just before the pre-event announcements. As you can tell, we had an absolutely perfect day for a ride. And the ADA Michigan folks running the event put together a fantastic group of volunteers who made this, once again, one of the best supported group rides I've ever done. 

This is my fifth year doing the Michigan Tour de Cure. All told, we've now raised over $10,000 to stop diabetes. I say "we" because I'm just the one jumping up and down all over social media, with increasingly crazy stunts, to draw attention to the cause. I'm also the one on the bike, but that's the fun part. The credit goes to all the folks who've supported the campaigns over the last five years. Many of you give every year. Many say it is because you feel inspired yourselves and an equal number say you donate on behalf of a loved one or friend. I am honored by your contributions. I'll see your inspiration and raise you by a factor of 10. I started riding to change my own life. Today I am thrilled to ride with the idea that it just might help to change others' lives too. 

About the Ride
Last week we heard that Radio-Shack Nissan ProTour riders Matthew Busche (that's Boo-Shay) and Ben King would be leading out the 100 mile route. Nissan is one of the co-sponsors of the Tour de Cure, and as we are near Farmington Hills where Nissan has its North American Engineering headquarters, the Nissan brass arrange for celebrity guests. Last year's event was off the charts. Truly, a one-of-a-kind fan experience. This year would be a little bit different, because I knew the two former U.S. Road Race Champions would not be noodling around. Indeed, as we rolled out and the lead group formed, we settled into a double paceline behind the Nissan Leaf pace vehicle and maintained 22-23 mph or so through the first 25 miles. As we blew by the first rest stop at mile 12, we heard that the pros would only be making one stop. That's when I decided that I'd be pursuing a different experience. 

As we approached stop 2 at 25 miles, I peeled off to tweet progress, fill a bottle, and eat a bit. I've long since learned that eating more than you think you need to be eating on a long hot day is the key to feeling good throughout. Drinking too, of course, but I personally find it easier and more pleasant to drink than to be constantly fueling. I cannot imagine how old it must get to be shoving food down the gullet for a big three-week stage race like a grand tour. My face hurts just thinking about it. I stopped at all the stops - 6  in all - and still maintained a pace just above 20 mph on road. A good day, all in all. 

So after mile 25, I said goodbye to the view of the RadioShack pro's freakishly narrow backsides, and made a day of riding with other folks who I recognized from previous Tours de Cure. The 100 mile route goes through two large state recreation areas - Waterloo and Pinckeney - and the infamous little village of Hell, Michigan, where there is a rest stop at Hell's Handbasket. The volunteers here tend to have the best sense of humor, as you might surmise. They ring the cowbell as you roll up and say "Welcome to Hell!" The stop is at mile 79, and yesterday it was 89 degrees on its way to 95 at the finish. So Hell was living up to its reputation. Although it was quite a bit harder to get there than I've been led to believe.

I felt great all day, climbed well through the rolling hills, and rolled in to the finish at 1:54 p.m. after rolling out at 7:17. Five hours, 23 minutes. I'd say 20 minutes or so of that time was in rest stops, maybe a bit more because my friend Steve met me at the halfway point in Grass Lake and we chatted a bit longer than I otherwise would have lingered. The watermelon was nice and cold there, too. Just about half the time it took me to ride the driveway century for #100MoN. 

Thanks again for the support! $3000 was an amazing number to reach (and surpass!) Thanks to Fat Cyclist for the link and re-post. Thanks to ADA Michigan and especially to all the volunteers who helped out yesterday for a wonderful event. We'll do it all again next year!

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