Sunday, October 25, 2009

LiveStrong Challenge 09 - Day 3 (the 25th), the Ride

I left for Dripping Springs at about 5:45am. There was less construction this year on 290, about 1 mile's worth, but I did not want to rush. Hopefully, next year, they can finish up, finally. It's actually more trouble when leaving, the backups are worse heading back towards Austin. I parked at the same place as last year, the Dripping Springs ISD Administration building, away from the crush of the 'official' parking.

To the DOLT who almost ran me over as I left the parking lot, pay the least bit of attention, we'd all appreciate it. The 'vertical white lines' (in the center of the image) are concrete barriers, he managed to miss where he should have turned (he was heading west, to the left of the map) an pulled into the oncoming traffic lane where I was, +1 on the stupid meter. Now back to the important stuff.

Once I arrived at the high school, I got in line with the other 3800 or so cyclists, at least most of them were behind me as they stage the longer distance riders to the front. The start was on time, with the sun breaking through the clouds just as the ride began. It was a very nice day, eventually topping 80 degrees.

A big Thank You to my supporters and friends, it's your generosity that inspires me and makes my participation possible.

Just about 10 minutes after starting, I rode past a large group that had stopped and were off their bikes around someone who had presumably fallen, he was on his back by the side of the road. An medic on a motorcycle passed us heading in the opposite direction, I'm supposing to aid the fellow. All it takes is a slight distraction with so many people so close to have a problem.

Speaking of that, a bit later, I hooked onto one of the pacelines of riders that would come up and pass you, this one I hung on to. After about 5 minutes, the rider 3 up from me had a blowout. The riders behind him bailed to the sides, fortunately, no one went down, including the rider who had the blowout. The remainder of the ride was uneventful - a good thing.

There were plenty of hills, not too bad. The wind kicked up some from the south, which made the ride a bit more difficult than last year. The south wind made the end part of the ride downwind, I appreciated that.

After finishing, I left my bike at the 'corral' and got some grub, and also some beer over at the beer tent, although, there was not really a tent like the had the year before. It was warm and sunny enough that some shade would have been nice.

I headed back home at about 4pm, a bit tired, but looking forward to the Challenge next year.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

LiveStrong Challenge 09 - Day 2 (the 24th), the Walk

The walk was held in downtown Austin. They advise you to get there early which made parking rather easy. After walking past the Capital Building, I stopped by the 'breakfast' area and got a banana nut muffin, it was good.

I walked up to the front by the stage, and had a great vantage point for the remarks made just before the start, this year by Doug Ulman and Eric Shanteau (UT swimmer and current world champion).

They had the runners line up to the left and the walkers to the right at the start line, so I did not need to run at all, which suited me. In prior years, you needed to run a bit, just to get out of the way of the throng. There were alot of pedicabs again, weaving amongst us, I imagine they start once all the foot traffic has mostly cleared the start line.

Here's what a speedy 4 MPH looks like...

There was no UT football game in Austin this year, thus none of the tail-gating and parking concerns of the prior year.

I headed home at about 9:30, and got a short ride in to tone up the legs for the ride tomorrow.

LiveStrong Challenge 09 - Day 2 (the 24th), Appreciation Dinner

The dinner was held at the Austin Music Hall, at 2nd & Nueces. Not sure, but since Mellow Johnny's is just up the street, they may have it here from now on. A 'private' party of a sort for VIPs was at MJs just prior to the dinner. I wandered around MJs for a bit, nice place.

Once back at the Music Hall, I mingled, got a few beers and waited for dinner to be served, and waited, and waited. The dinner started about 45 minutes to an hour late, I suspect the VIP party ran a little long. I saw Henrike, my friend from Germany. We talked for a little bit. It was nice to see her again.

Since the dinner started late, the speeches started early. I was still working on my salad when they first began. The speeches from the various award winners were all quite good, Elden Nelson, aka Fat Cyclist, gave a very good one. His team raised the most money.

Fatty's Speech at 2009 Austin LiveStrong Challenge from Fat Cyclist on Vimeo.

Lance took some questions from the audience, one being "How fast have you ever gone on a bike?". 75 mph -- that's about 35 mph faster than I would ever care to go. Just plain scary.

The event ended on time, a good thing, since it was going to be an early morning for anyone who needed to get out to the ride.

Friday, October 23, 2009

LiveStrong Challenge 09 - Day 1 (the 23rd), Registration

Registration was held at the Austin Convention Center, in the same area as the past two years. The layout inside was moved around some, but not radically different. One addition this year was a number of custom bike builders showing their wares. I'd read about some of them, perhaps something I could look at doing in the future.

Chris Carmichael (Lance's coach) was there again, at the Nissan booth signing autographs and posing for pictures. I thought he might be signing his new book, but alas, just a card. He said he'd be riding the 65 mile route since he had to fly out Sunday afternoon.

The Tribute wall this year was centrally located, and, unfortunately, had many, many cards. I made up some cards and posted them for my family members and my friend from work.

I then went to registration to get my bibs, and the other assorted items. I looked around some more, and thought about getting a Cycles Gladiator jersey, they have a most interesting logo. I decided not to, I have enough jerseys for now.

I then headed back home, fighting though the downtown traffic.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Outlaw Trail 09

The Outlaw Trail 100 was held on October 17th this year. Once again, I rode my bike to and back from the event, normally about a 15 mile round trip. The prior evening I enjoyed the pasta dinner, and saw several people I knew, one that I had not seen in perhaps 7 years.

Even though the LiveStrong Challenge was the next weekend, I intended to do the full 100 miles.... However, I missed a turn just after Granger Lake, the result was I cut off about 16 miles from the route. And instead of getting lost, the road I was on rejoined the course, lucky for me. I thought I had seen the markers for the turn, but the person directly in front of me, and a person about 100 yards up the road both went straight. Only a bit later did I discover the person up the road was not part of the ride, he turned off the course just after the next rest stop we hit. I need to pay more attention the next time.

Since I missed the turn during the ride, I added a few more miles on the ride back so I could make 100 for the day. Seemed appropriate.

Pictures are here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sweatin' Burnt Orange Bike Tour 09

The SBOBT was held October 11th this year, several weeks sooner than 08. A cool front a few days beforehand promised nice weather.... However, the weatherman were severely mistaken. While driving to Blanco, it was cloudy and occasionally drizzly, but nothing too bad. However, just north of Blanco, I drove through a few short showers. But they passed and when reaching the high school, the roads were dry. After getting my packet, and layering up (it was ~55 degrees out), we lined up and started.

About 10 minutes after starting, a light rain started, and got progressively heavier. Not really a downpour, but a good steady rain. The sponsors decided it was a bit too slick to continue on the long routes so they redirected all riders onto the 25 mile loop. A good choice on their part. Everyone was completely soaked, with many riders abandoning and getting car rides back to the start. That was not an option for me, so I slogged back. My hands were getting somewhat cold by the time I finished.

At least now I know what riding in the rain is like (I've only been caught out a few times, and not for an extended time like this). Not all that bad, but I'd rather have the sun.

I only took a few pictures, since having the camera on the bike was not an option. Yea, it's quite wet.