Saturday, June 9, 2012

The 2nd Century

Neither A.D. nor B.C, but rather my 2nd Century. The 2012 Reston Tour de Cure, that is. This year the ride was slightly less epic, although longer at 107.5 miles. I was better prepared, and having survived the previous year's ride, I had far less anxiety about being able to complete it.

Paunch de Leon Reaches The Promised Land
Photo Courtesy Rich Silva

However the ride was far more epic from a fundraising perspective. Through the generosity of the world's greatest donors, almost $2,200 was raised to help fight diabetes. You know who you are.

And now, the abbreviated version of 7.5 hours in the saddle that you have all been waiting for. Let us start by noting the weather was perfect all day, almost chilly as the ride started at 6:15 AM. The theme once again was 1) hydration and 2) supplements. The key to 1) and 2) was quantity and timing, coupled with 3) low-resistance pedaling.

Rather than provide a painful narrative of the route, which was redesigned this year, I simply provide the map snapshot and link above for the few interested in interactive GPS, etc. Again, you know who you are.

There were several other themes for the day: Camaraderie. Well designed and marked course. Well managed event. Riding as a team, we hailed the first 3 rest stops leading to Purcellville. The pace was good and the chatter made the first 20+ miles pass unnoticed.

The low point of the event was throwing a chain as we crossed a bridge in a sag curve at ~Mile 50 and the pavement turned to hard oatmeal on the opposite side. Bad time to shift I suppose. I had to dismount rather than try a live re-chaining under load, and the pack dropped me. I knew enough not to chase them with 50+ to go, and resumed my own pace through the rolling Virginia countryside.

Here I will say that during all such events, a time comes when you are all by yourself. It's quiet. You're not exactly sure where you are, or where you are going, but the scenery is nice. It is a microcosm of life and that's why you ride.

Note: Captain America never abandoned his Bike

The high point came when I eventually caught up to a teammate walking uphill with a cramped quad and no water. As another teammate Terry had done for me a month before under similar conditions, I was glad I could share half my water. This helped get him the ~11 miles to the next rest stop, where he regrouped and proceeded to finish in full glory. Not that I had questioned it before, but at that moment carrying the weight of both bottles paid off in full.

So once again, thanks to all the generous donors, volunteers and organizers who put together another great event. Of course there was more cycling glory within the 7.5 hours, but after all this is the abbreviated version.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Circle of Life

I remember piling into the back of my Mom's '59 Bel Air for the infrequent 20 mile expedition into Rockville, and a visit to the Toys R Us. While waiting we would climb up on the trunk and lay back across the  windshield, looking at the tree canopy above. When it was time to go we would slide down the fins.

I would have saved up my $1.68 and would need another 35 cents for the can of spray paint. If I had another 15 cents, I could buy either glue or a jar of paint - but not both. The rest of the day and most of the next would be completely consumed in the building of the new model, but - if we had behaved - not before a stop at the Golden Arches.

Fast forward to the golfing glory of last week, after which came the perfunctory celebrations. While for me this now amounts to being over caffeinated, for my friends it amounts to many car bombs and the like.

OK, not that many. But enough to start leaving a mark around 11:30, when I started getting my chest punctuated by the universal significance of the Jimi Hendrix quote (from If 6 Was 9):

"I'm the one who has to die when it's time for me to die
So let me live my life like I want to"

Not like I was telling anyone how to live, but the discussions had moved into "deep philosophy". Most of you have reached this point in an evening.

The next day, we returned to the Golden Arches. Bob needed his usual remedy as he fought to break through the thick crust of wakefulness, and I learned the philosophy hour was far from over. As he contemplated the last bite of his Egg McMuffin, he pointed out the remaining bits of egg and canadian bacon to me and said:

"You see Rusty, something couldn't live, and something had to die.
All for me."

Popping the last bite into his mouth, we rose to face the insincerity of the day. But I'm not sure I'll ever look at the Egg McMuffin in the same way.