Sunday, October 26, 2008

LiveStrong Challenge - Day 3 (Sunday the 26th) - Ride

The Challenge ride was held in Dripping Springs, Tx again this year.

Due to construction on highway 290, the LAF warned us we should leave ourselves ample time to get there. As it turned out, the travel time to get there was not much more than last year -- who besides a bunch of crazy bike riders is driving at 6am on a Sunday?!? (the drive back was slower, much more traffic).

I arrived about an hour before the start and parked at the Dripping Springs ISD Administration building, not an 'official' spot, but a bit out of the way, and less traffic to deal with. It's a little more than a mile from the high school so a little bit of a ride (and in the morning, quite dark), but good for a warmup. Some other riders pulled up and parked while I was getting ready. The temperature was about 65, so pretty comfortable. At this time of year it can be much cooler but we had a great weather for the Challenge.

At the Start/Finish, a lady who recently had brain surgery was setup to ride a stationary bike 100 miles. Her doctors did not want her on the road (since she's not fully recovered). She finished her 100 miles about 1 minute after I finished. That's quite an impressive feat.

With about 2 minutes before the start, they announced the start of the ride was delayed by about 20 minutes - Lance had arrived late, he made a few remarks explaining the delay - and then encouraged all of us to have fun and enjoy the ride.

Once the ride started, I moved in and out of groups, and stopped at every other rest stop. One fast group of about a dozen riders passed me three times I think, since they would stop where I skipped, or I would leave a stop before they did. When they passed, I had thoughts of trying to hang with them, but thought better of it. They were just a bit faster than me.

The ride was very nice, not too much wind, partly cloudy and beautiful vistas in the Hill County. When passing through Wimberley, there was a photographer snapping pictures of most everyone passing by (not from the 'official' company). I looked through the slideshow, my picture isn't there.

There is quite a bit of climbing in the route (6000'), but I was able to leave the chain on the big ring in front for the whole ride, although I'm sure shifting to the small ring would have been advisable in a few cases. I felt relatively good toward the end, though I had some pain in my left foot, well more my toes, from pushing up on the underside of the shoe.

After the ride, I walked around the Village some, got some food (they had small Subway sandwiches, pizza, and some Mexican food available - I had a little of each) and headed over to the beer tent. I met several members of Team Dell including one of the captains that had spoken at the Appreciation Dinner the night before.

My ride time was better than last year by a small bit, I was pleased I could manage a good speed. On some of the hills, I felt I couldn't have been going more than 5 mph ... but of course, the downhill side makes up for that.

I found out my friend Henrike had a bad crash at the Challenge just after the start. She's ok, but it sounds quite nasty. I hope she gets well soon and there's no lasting damage.

I had a good time and hopefully will participate in the Challenge next year.

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