Monday, June 13, 2011

The Ride to Conquer Cancer 2011

Wow - what a weekend. Yes - we had  done the training, yes  - the bike had been tuned up and ready to go. But there still remained LOTS of questions, nerves, anticipation and worry about the weather. 

But we MADE IT!!!!!!    Highlights - well there were lots!  But despite the fun that we had on the trip it is sometimes easy to forget why we are riding and raising money. When we arrived in Niagara Falls it hit hard. On Saturday night at camp, I saw a couple of bikes parked with a large picture of the same man. They were riding the 100 KM. When we arrived at the bike park in Niagara Falls, I saw a lady (non cyclist) wearing the same picture. She went up and embraced the woman behind me (who owned one of the bikes with that same picture). The cyclist was sobbing and saying "It was so hard" and I don't think she meant the physical part of the trip. That was a pretty emotional moment. 

There were many positive stories on the trip - survivors who were riding, people CURRENTLY undergoing treatment who were riding. And WE think we have problems. Honestly - it is a VERY humbling experience to talk to the people - EVERYONE is there for a reason. Thankfully the research money we raise is helping - unfortunately it doesn't help everyone, but many cures are being found. 

I would like to thank everyone who supported me, donated money to this cause. The support was awesome and I was thinking of you all!!!

While Anna and I were riding - oh yes - we had LOADS of time to talk - we came up with all kinds of stats that they should be collecting for the ride!  While most of what we suggested will never make the numbers, here are some EXCITING stats. 

Number of riders - 4,610 (yes an INCREDIBLE number)
Number of riders on the 200 M route  - 800 (these are included in the total above)
Amount of money raised - $17.5 MILLION (a record for this event)

Boggles the mind. 

And now for OUR stats

I am VERY excited - it took us just over SEVEN hours of ride time to do the first 100 MILES. We seemed to stop a LOT. I see that it is ALMOST 2 hours. Yikes - but I did wait a bit for Anna from time to time and lunch and pit stops. Oh well - we were going to cross that line together and we did!!!!   My average speed is up and probably higher if I was alone. That high altitude training must be paying off!!!!

And here is day 2

Faster time on Day 2 - faster average speed. We did not quite do 100 Miles, but close enough!!!!  And the brutal head wind for the last 40 KM was a nightmare and more than made up for the shorter distance. 

I am very excited about my results BUT Anna should be especially proud because I dragged her along and she did an AWESOME job. I know she was apprehensive as she had never done that distance - she came through with flying colours!!!   WAY TO GO ANNA!!!!!!   Thanks for keeping me company - I appreciated it. 

Let's see - oh yes - got a few pictures to share with you. 

Dora the Explorer (a travel bug) with a goal of seeing Niagara Falls. Since I was the one who was going to the Falls sooner than anyone we knew - I was entrusted to take Dora with me. She road safely in my pocket the entire way.

The START line - Marci, Elaine (me) and Anna

Waiting to start - see that structure behind the pole on the right. EVERYONE (all 4,610 riders) had to go through that structure. It took EIGHT minutes for us to clear and we were near the front!!!!!

The riders BEHIND us waiting at the start. 

On the road - yes I took a picture while riding despite the fact that it was in a plastic bag in my pocket. Got to find my little pouch for the front of my bike!!!   That is Anna in the blue jacket. 

Pit Stop Number 1

Anna enjoying a snack at Pit Stop Number 1

That is Anna's husband in the yellow shirt - he was the driver of one of the sweep vehicles. Vehicles that helped out if a rider needed assistance. 

Anna's husband Brent, her friend Roberta, son - Alex and his friend Ryan were sweeps this weekend. They had paired up - Brent and Roberta in Anna's car (above) and Alex and Ryan were in a rented vehicle. Both were sweeps on the MILE route so we ran into them all the time. It was great. We were able to off load some stuff to the vehicle (extra clothes). We did NOT get a picture of the entire vehicle, but it was decorated with Canada stuff. Lesson learned - do NOT use packing tape to put stuff on the car - the tape didn't come off. Yikes!!!!!

Hmmmm - was this sign for the cyclists????  or the motorists??????   It certainly did NOT apply to US. 

Our greeter at the Luau  lunch   (see she is holding Dora!!!).  One cyclist (a man obviously went by and said he liked her SHELLS!!!!) 

The HUGE tent at tent city in Hamilton

Inside the HUGE tent and we were NOT at the end

Tent city (this is NOT any of the blue sleeping tents)

We managed to snag a house to sleep in on Saturday night and here we are relaxing.
Roberta, me, Brent, Anna, Alex and Ryan
Notice that Anna and I have our 2012 shirts on!!!!  Yes - we signed up for next year!!!!

A well earned beer and hot dog at the end. 

The FINISH line in Niagara Falls

The MOST famous cyclist on the route. The girl on the tricycle has ONE leg. This is her FOURTH year riding. I would tell you her name, but I don't know how to spell it. I will try to find it. She lost one leg to cancer. 

The motorcyclists who were a god send - keeping the traffic at bay as we whizzed through intersections. 

The amount of people involved is UNBELIEVABLE. The police (Toronto, Peel, Hamilton and the OPP) were AMAZING. They kept the intersections open for us and hopefully got the car traffic back on the road quickly. The motorcyclists who were also directing traffic were most helpful as well. All the crew, the riders - EVERYONE was friendly, happy and seemed to be happy to be there. It was an AWESOME experience.

Oh yes - rain. While it threatened to rain the entire weekend, we only felt a few drops at times. At one point just after the first pit stop - we felt a few drops and saw the rain ahead of us. We decided to stop and don rain gear. Then as we rode forward there was NO RAIN. But you could see that it had rained for the next 10 K or so, but we completely missed it. YEAH!!!!!   What a treat that was.

And a HUGE thank you to Brooks Saddle (my bike seat). Last year - I was HURTING bad. It was hard to finish while your butt is on fire!!!!   This year - while I was happy to get to the end, my butt was FINE even though the seat is NOT completely broken in. I LOVE THAT SEAT - won't ride anything else. My legs are fine - I could go back out and do another 100 MILES today. I feel that great.

Well - time to get on with the day -

Have a great day - and I feel incredibly lucky to be alive and well and healthy!!!!


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