Monday, October 5, 2015

Pelotonia 2015 - The ride!

"Don't forget to drink."

That's what I kept telling Karen, the woman I rode with for the last 16 miles of Pelotonia Day 1.

You may be thinking, "Who's Karen? I thought you were riding with Robby 4." Well, I did ride with R4 for the first 25 miles. 

Why don't I start at the beginning and take you through Pelotonia weekend 2015!

Our first stop when we arrived downtown was at check-in. The volunteers were very excited I was a 7 year rider.

Then it was Robby's turn to check-in. The volunteers were super excited for him since he was a first time rider. They cheered and rang cow bells, I whooped and hollered. Robby just turned and looked at me and gave me a half-open-eye look, as if to say, 'Really, dad?' Ah, to be a teenager.

We headed over to get our swag bags, which had some very nice swag this year: two shirts, sunscreen, and loads of coupons for free meals to local restaurants.

At the party outside, we saw John Looker. Looker has been battling cancer for years. The year he did the video for the Pelotonia opening ceremony he had stage 4 brain cancer and he still road the next day. Even as the cancer continues to spread through his body, he keeps fighting it and riding every year.

Yummy eats for dinner.

Opening ceremony was packed on Friday night.

My good friend and training buddy, Bob, picked us up Saturday morning.

Bob got a picture of us when he dropped us off downtown.

7:00 a.m. and some riders are at the start.

7:30 a.m., now it's getting crowded.

We rolled up to the start at about 8:50 a.m. and then it was time to go!

The first rest stop. Robby couldn't believe all the food!

After filling our bellies and water bottles, it was time to get back on the bike and keep moving.

Out on the road.

Half-way through our ride, Robby said, "I think I want to do the 50." I told him let's stick with the 25 this year, and next year we can plan on the 50. He felt so good on the ride and it was very easy for him. All the summer cross-country training really helped!

At the finish line in Pickerington! The best 25 miles I've ridden. Ever. I had such a wonderful time riding with him. At one point during our ride we talked about cancer research. He said very soon doctors will be able to treat cancer like they do the common cold. I told him one of my former student's dad is a neurologist at The James Cancer Center, and he has been using the common cold virus to treat brain cancer ( ). Robby thought that was pretty cool.

Claud and Skyler met us at the finish and after Robby ate some breakfast, I loaded his bike onto the car. Claud started to get a bit teary-eyed and thanked me again for riding and it must have been the sunlight in my eyes because they started to water a little bit too. I told her always for her, always.

As I left the finish line, I thought I would go over to the rest stop for riders who were going further that day. As I rolled up to the table, they were breaking down the tents. Seems all the riders had come in. Uh-oh, I thought, I better haul a** to get to New Albany so I can be sure to get some lunch before they close things there.

I moved along at a pretty good clip and made it to lunch at Bob Evan's Headquarters. Usually this place is packed with riders, but I was one of the last ones to get there. There may have been 10 of us in total, but the volunteers made sure we got plenty to eat! I ate quickly and headed off to Granville at a pretty good clip because I wanted to get there before they closed that rest stop. I knew I was going to need more food and especially more water to get up Reynolds Road, the toughest climb of the day.

Granville rest stop. They still had plenty of homemade treats to snack on. There were now only a handful of us left to finish the last 35 miles. I asked about the next rest stop after Reynolds Road and the volunteers told me not to worry, the stop would be open with food and water.

I headed out, with the toughest climb of the day 17 miles away. Many people were at the intersection where the course splits - less hilly goes straight (although I've heard there is still a fair amount of climbing) and the Reynolds monster turns right. I always go right towards Reynolds. As I turned right, a woman next to me said, "Oh good, someone I can draft." (This means she would ride behind me and I would block the wind). She looked like a strong rider so I decided to push it a bit, but when I looked back a few minutes later she was not there. So I figured I was on my own for the rest of the day. No worries, I was enjoying the time on the bike, it was such a beautiful day to ride.

I just climbed the hardest hill on the route and now at the last rest stop for the day. After this stop, I only had 18 miles to go!

At this stop I had one of the volunteers spray my head with a water gun, it was so nice to cool off! When I pulled in, there was a guy getting on his bike and heading out. Only one person came in after me, it was the woman who had been trying to draft off of me. We chatted for a few minutes, then went about our business - eating and drinking. She stretched a bit more and then headed out. I made one last potty stop, thanked the volunteers, and headed out.

Two miles later, I caught up to the woman who had left a few minutes earlier. I rode up next to her and saw the name on her bike tag said Karen. I asked, "Hey, how are you doing?" She looked at me, her shoulders were slumped, and she said, "I'm just really tired." I could see it in her eyes and face, just how exhausted she was.

Game over.

Even though I only had 16 miles left, I decided right then and there I was going to ride with Karen to make sure she made it to the finish. I've had crappy days on the bike and it is no fun being out on your own. And there was still quite a bit of climbing left. Nothing as steep as Reynolds, but enough up and down to wear a person out.

As we rode, we chatted about the day. I told her I had been on the road since 9:00. She had been riding since 7:00. And she woke up at 4:00 a.m. because she lived 40 minutes from the start. Karen said she's done the Reynolds hill before but it's only about 10-15 miles from her house, so she's used to going up it earlier in a ride, not at mile 76. And her longest ride of the year had only been 60 miles. I also found out her two girls are very good friends with one of my former students!

I noticed Karen wasn't drinking very much so I kept reminding her to drink. She would put her bottle with Gatorade to her mouth but didn't take much of a sip. After a few times reminding her and noticing she wasn't drinking much, I suggested we stop so she could switch her bottles and drink water instead of Gatorade.

We also had a State Trooper, with lights flashing, driving behind us. At first I thought the Trooper wanted us to ride single file, but then I thought maybe we were the last two on this part of the course. Turns out it was the latter. So the Trooper stayed with us until we got fairly close to the bike path and the last 1/2 mile of the course. As we crossed the line, I told Karen she did a great job and it was nice riding with her. She thanked me for riding with her; she was very appreciative I had stayed with her for the last part of the course.

Finish line at Kenyon College in Gambier! Day 1 and 100 miles in the books!

Nice little collage of me and R4.

Breakfast buffet from Bob Evans on Sunday morning. That's my colleague and friend, Dan, in the white and maroon jersey.

Breakfast was packed on Sunday morning. I think this is the largest group they have ever had coming back on Sunday.

At the start on Sunday morning.

First rest stop on Sunday, lots of homebaked goodies!

Ah yes, the long line for the porta john.

Cruising along, drafting off Dan.

Beautiful countryside.

Mike on the left, Zak (Z as he is known) in the middle. Mike has ridden all 7 years as well, and I met Z through Flying Horse Farms where he does a lot of volunteer work as well.

Another rest stop. The big blue container had bags of ice in it. Volunteers were putting the bags on the tables just in front of the container and then scooping up the ice into our bottles. They had to do it fast because the ice was melting so quickly.

Last stop before the final 18 miles!

Bob, Dan, and I got back on our bikes and headed out for the last 18 miles. Of course 10 miles later I had to pee. At this point, Bob had fallen back, so Dan said he would wait for him while I cruised to a bathroom at a park a few miles ahead. Dan got to the park a few minutes later and said Bob told him to go on without him. So Dan and I headed to the finish and Bob rolled in a few minutes later.

Me, Bob, and Dan at the finish. Bob was not doing well. He was pretty dehydrated and a medic came a few minutes later to check on him.

And of course my biggest supporters, love them so much!

Once again, a fantastic Pelotonia weekend! Thank you for your continued support!


R3 and R4