Stayed out of @byronium's way while he got ready for the ride: skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx
Took a lot of deep breaths - I was really still nervous about doing this ride. I wasnt sure I could finish it. My 'training' hadnt been very much, and last weekends ride was painful. @byronium reiterated to me that he sincerely thought I could do it, and I took his and @llamaeyes comments from the Chris Carmichael talk to heart, and decided to do what I usually do - warm up, pedal thru, rest when I needed it, drink LOTS.
I got to the start fairly quickly - 1.5 miles just isnt very far, even if the last bit is all in the tiniest of gears... leaving around 7, I wondered if I'd see @byronium, but I didnt. The roads and the town of Yountville were COMPLETELY empty as I left the hotel. Not a soul on the road, it was pretty eerie.
"I'm so alone," I thought. And then came into the craziness that was the start. And still felt very alone in the big crowd. I made sure I was all ready, that my bike was all set, water bottles were full, inhalers and other drugs were available and waited for 8 am. A nice lady came over to talk to me, and we spoke about getting ready and being prepared for the ride. She made the mistake assuming I was a type 1. A lot of people did that on this ride.
She was pretty nervous about the 26 miles, but we talked about what she'd done to train for it, and how she felt, and I told her, "you wont know that you can do it until you've done it, but I believe given what youve said, you will be able to finish!"
I was telling myself the same thing.
Blood sugars good, the day was starting to warm up. I wanted to leave at 8, but told @llamaeyes I'd wait for her. @rhiannonstone arrived just before 8, having ridden the 6 miles or so from the hotel to the start. Apparently that's what she needed to do to eat breakfast. The smell of food made me want to barf, so I let her go and waited some more, after telling here where to find air pumps for her tires.
@llamaeyes and @moxie showed up just before 8 and it didnt take long for us to get started.
I remember going under the start line and hearing the announcer, "Look at that big smile!" as everyone yelled, "Go Red Rider!"
and realized I _was_ smiling. I could RIDE today! huzzah!!! I was looking forward to my body moving, my lungs taking in breath, my legs pumping.
I didnt take pics at all my stops, which I'm sad about! The 1st time was in this lovely space just outside of Yountville, big gorgeous fields rolling away. (I'm hoping @llamaeyes has some)
At the 5 mile mark, there wasnt more water, so I pushed on ahead. It was great getting @byronium's mass texts to all of us as he hit the different rest stops. I was glad he seemed to be moving so well and quickly.
Blood sugar was doing well, I was drinking plenty of cytomax and got to refill it. The Tour de Cure also had Cytomax powder, but the 100 / 80 milers had cleaned them. I was glad I had plenty of sticks of Cytomax - ended up giving a few away to folks. I was also using Accelerade, which has some protein as well as sugars, but I find that I need a lot less of it then is recommended (whey protein is still hard to digest for me. :/ ) It looks like for 50 miles and under, I can manage on just Cytomax, and should stick with it.
The next bit of riding wasnt bad, I was warmed up, and my lungs were happy, I started feeling like I was going to be ok! There were sections of road that were just painful in their bad pavement. My butt and wrists were not thanking me for this. oh look, scenery! I kept telling myself that.
Second rest stop! there was Cytomax powder here! I filled up. I drank. I tweeted, facebooked and texted. @llamaeyes and @rhiannonstone showed up. I stretched and drank some more, and headed on out after making sure @llamaeyes didnt need me.
at the 25 mile mark, I stopped, half way there, humming bon jovi to myself. This kinda neat place was across the street.
I managed to take a dorktastic picture of myself :
I took a short break at 25.something miles. I drank more, and looked at my fone - I'd been posting to Facebook and Twitter and texting friends, but hadnt looked at any responses. The @tweets, and facebook support was _amazing_, friends, former coworkers, people coming out about their relationship with diabetes. Even folks who were supposedly out of town and unavailable took out time to text and connect. I started bawling. I mean, I didnt need to dehydrate myself this way, but this coupled with peletons of the 80 and 100 milers catching up and passing me, yelling "GO RED RIDER" and seeing other red riders pedaling so strongly, was amazing and touching and weepymaking.
I probably cried all my sunblock off. and no, I didnt take a worse picture of myself like that.
at the third and final rest stop, I was now feeling _awesome_ - blood sugars again still amazing, and I felt so good, I made the mistake on the ride. I saw some peanut butter sandwiches and thought, "oh! that looks good," and ate a quarter of one. BIG MISTAKE. completely upset my stomach. yuck.
this was the only thing that spoiled the rest of the ride for me. I felt horrible, like I was going to throw up any minute, but managed to keep it all down and kept drinking even tho I no longer wanted to. This probably didnt help the dehydration much. (My blood sugars started shooting up. :/)
the last few miles of the ride were in a really bad headwind. I tried cursing, but it didnt help. @llamaeyes and @rhiannonstone caught up to me at one point while I was hanging over my handlebars, I must have looked pretty green as they both commented.
Mostly at this point, getting to the end was more about willpower and desire to Not Be On The Bike vs any joy in it. I missed that place where it felt good, like from miles 10 - 38... I was worried I wouldnt make it, so close to the end, and kept pedaling until I was back near the start.
There's a small footbridge that leads up to the 'start finish' line, and I waited there, texting Moxie to let her know I was coming and waiting for @llamaeyes. (This is another story all together, HER issues and stressors getting to this ride,) and I wanted to cross the line with her, because she's been supporting me all the way (and hopefully, I was as well)
Aside: she and I both have this issue, where we worry about other people so we dont have time to deal with ourselves. At dinner sat night, I tried to make her promise not to care about me at all and to concentrate on herself. I think I almost made her cry 'cause it was so hard for her to say that she would Take Care of herself. So I made it a little easier, and asked her to take good care of my Llama, and I would take good care of her Wolf.
Having done this a few times before, I knew what was waiting for me at the end, and I was so so glad to share that with @llamaeyes.
See, everyone who sees a red rider cross the finish line is supposed to CHEER like a crazy person. I dont like being so obvious and seen, so I have to stoke myself up for this, but its much more fun to share it with someone, and I'm glad she was there for me!!
we waited for @rhiannonstone, who wasnt that far behind, and cheered her across the line. And after resting and drinking lots of liquids, came back down to cheer @byronium across the line as well.
everyone was kind of floaty and stoned from this. I'm grateful for everyone's help and time and effort that it took to put on the event, and for the friends near and far who were really really THERE for me, as well as for @byronium, @llamaeyes and @rhiannonstone.