Monday, November 11, 2013

Pelotonia 2013

A work in progress, that's what this is. I've tried in the past to write about training or make it easier for people to see pictures of me out on rides. I like to share that stuff with everyone who supports me and not everyone is on Twitter, Facebook, etc, and that's fine. So I thought the best way for everyone to read and see what went on during my ride in Pelotonia 2013 would be to create this blog. 

The title of the blog, 'Tete de la Course' is French and means 'Head of the race.' Not that I've ever been there. Well, once or twice, but it didn't last long :)

As you scroll through the pictures, I've put a description below each one. In some cases, there may be more of a story with each picture.

Alrighty, here you are, Pelotonia 2013, enjoy!

6:45 a.m. - Claud dropped me off and I rode over to the starting line. Pelotonia 2013 was underway!

This is at a stoplight in Canal Winchester. My buddy Craig is in the Express jersey getting a drink from his bottle. There were over 6,000 riders participating this year!

The first rest stop after 25 miles. This year there were plenty of porta-potties and no lines to use them :)
Loads of food and plenty of helpful, friendly, and smiling volunteers!

Craig and me after 25 miles.
Me, Craig and his wife, Jen. They are neighbors of ours, but even more than that, they are good friends. I rode with them on the first day and we had a great time.
Lunchtime! At the new Bob Evan's Headquarters, only about 8 miles from our house. More food!
Saw Jeremy, a buddy of mine who I hadn't seen in a while, probably about 3 years. When I sent him the pic he said, "Check out the guy behind us shoveling food in his mouth." Ha! Too funny!
Rest stop in Granville, about 10 miles after the crash. Yep, that's right, I said crash. Luckily it wasn't me. Craig, Jen and I were enjoying our ride when a group of about 50 overtook us. They were very chatty and very squirrely (this means they were riding all over the place, moving left and right with no regard for others). I didn't like it so I saw an opening and decided to move in front of them.  I had been separated from Craig and Jen and wondered if they were moving up too. About a minute after I passed the group I heard the sounds of a crash. I circled back and saw a group of riders in the road, one of them with a nasty gash above his eye. Craig had been spared from crashing. Jen on the other hand had been trying to pass the group on the inside because there was a large gap for her to get through. As the crash happened, it spread riders out across the road and Jen ended up going into a ditch. She did not get hurt but the three of us re-grouped and decided to move down the road and stay away from any large groups like that. Kind of hard to do with 6,000+ riders on the road, but we managed to do it. As we were leaving the crash area, about 100 meters in front of us was a SAG vehicle for the event (a SAG vehicle helps riders with whatever they may need - food, repairs, first-aid, etc). The vehicle had just turned around and was going in the opposite direction. We decided Craig would try and chase it down - yes, he's that fast. If you remember from an earlier email I sent during the summer, Craig is someone I ride with on a regular basis and he has no problem hitting speeds of 30 mph and maintaining it for a bit. He qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI this year. Craig caught the SAG, told them what happened, and the vehicle turned around to make its way to the crash. Craig, Jen and I then rode into the rest stop in Granville.
Rest stop after the big climb, last rest stop before Kenyon College.
We got to the top of this small hill and took a break. I looked around and it was so peaceful and quiet. The countryside was beautiful and I thought how lucky I am to be out doing what I love to do - riding my bike for a great cause.
Taken just after crossing the finish line of Day 1 at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH.
I made my way back to the finish line. I wanted to get a picture right under the big "One Goal" banner.
Our bikes were stored inside after the ride. We also ate breakfast in here the next day, provided by Bob Evans. I've never eaten so much before a morning ride!

Rest stop on Day 2. Not as crowded with cyclists, but still plenty of food for everyone.
Last rest stop on Day 2 before the final 25 miles! Plenty of food and loads of volunteers here to offer encouragement to get to the finish!
Jen did just Day 1 and Craig took off with the lead group on Day 2. He of course was one of the first 4 riders to finish. The picture above is of me and my buddy Dan getting a bite to eat after finishing Day 2. He and I rode together on Day 2. Dan is the person who talked me into doing both days this year and I'm glad I did. It's always an incredible feeling to cross the finish line at this event after the first day, but to come across the line on the second day... crap, right now as I write this in the middle of the day my eyes are starting to well up. And I'm getting chills just thinking about it again. I can still remember the finish very clearly. We heard the sound system about 1/2 a mile away. We crossed the intersection and thanked the police for stopping traffic. Then Dan looked at me and I looked at him. I think we both said, "Wow, man..." at the same time and gave each other the ole' fist bump. At this point in the ride it gets hard to talk because you are so overwhelmed with emotion. What a great event for a great cause.  As I was rounding the corner to the finish, I of course was thinking about Claud's battle with cancer, how tough it was, but how thankful I am for the help and care she received at the James. And that's why I will continue to do this event, as a way to thank those who helped us but also to raise money to go to cancer research at the James.
Always so happy to see these 3 after the ride. The support they give me throughout my training and riding is amazing. I couldn't do it without them.
One picture I don't have is of a guy named Ray. He caught up to Dan and I at one point on Day 2 and rode with us for quite some time. He's ridden Pelotonia every year since it started. Great guy and I'm glad we had a chance to meet him. I ended up looking him up on Facebook and we connected again. I found out he was a 7 year cancer survivor. Yep, I said was. About 10 days after Pelotonia this year, Ray started feeling pretty bad. He went to get checked out and the cancer has returned. He is now undergoing chemo and having a heck of a time with it. I check his FB page to see how he is doing and always offer some encouragement to him. I even told him we will put him on his bike next summer and push him all the way to Gambier if we have to.

With your help, I raised over $3,000 for the James Cancer Center! Thank you all so much for your encouragement along the way. It is always nice to know you have the love and support of family and friends. I could not have done it without help from all of you. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.