Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday's TdC Chicagoland Bike Ride

Continued from yesterday's post...

Instead of getting to the start of the Tour de Cure bike ride at 6:30, as originally intended, we instead arrived fashionably late at 6:55 AM.  Cleaning up my knees was more important than being on time.  Plus, my team knew what happened because we texted them.

After parking, getting all of my biking stuff out of the car, and finding my team, I wanted to get my Red Rider jersey.  I found it a bit odd that they did not give these out ahead of time.  I went into the venue to get it, asked a man where they were, and was told the wrong way to turn.  Then I asked another volunteer where to go.  Instead, I got this response:

Old Man Volunteer: "You shouldn't ride with your knees in that condition."

Me: "I'm fine.  I fell running this morning."

Old Man Volunteer: "It is not safe for you to ride."

Me (already pissed off at this point): "Where are the jerseys?"

Old Man Volunteer: "There is a medical tent outside.  You need to go there."

Me: "I'm fine.  Where are the jerseys?"

Old Man Volunteer: "You shouldn't ride."

At that point, my frustration had gotten the better of me.  I was already late because of falling, and now this old man was trying to tell me not to ride.  If he only knew that whenever someone tells me something is not possible it only makes me want to go prove them wrong even more, perhaps he would have stopped talking.  Instead of yelling at him, which is what I wanted to do, I simply turned and walked away.  I eventually found the area, got my jersey, and headed back to my team, my friends.

At this point it was already 7:30, and the first wave was long gone, as they started at 7 AM.  Me, my running friend, and another guy were starting together.  After getting to the street, we contemplated which way to go, and ended up following the arrows.  We were the only ones on the path, which we thought was odd.  We weren't even biking that slow.  By the time we reached mile 6.5, both of their phones rang.  We pulled off the path to see who it was, only to find out that our other team members, still at the start, called to tell us we were going the wrong way.

At that point, we turned around and made our way back to the start.  By the time we got back, we had already biked 13 miles, and I knew the century would not happen.  However, I was okay with it.  It could happen another day instead.

By the time we got to the first rest stop, they were packing up.  All of us, runners first and cyclists second, found it a bit funny.  The there of us run well, and often finish near the front of races.  It was like we became the slow runners.  It was a different feeling, one that I didn't particularly like.

When we reached rest stop 2, the same thing happened.  By rest stop 3, we had finally (!!!) caught up to some other riders.  By rest stop 4, we caught up with two other people on our team and biked with them for a little bit.  At that rest stop was the dividing for the century and metric riders.  However, the century riders had to leave that stop by 11 AM to continue on the course.  We got there at 11, so we knew the metric was what we were going to be doing.

My running friend was starting to feel tired and her legs hurt at this point.  She started to bike slower, with one of the other teammates, and by the next rest stop decided she would rather take the sag vehicle back to the start than finish.  This was at 100k, or 62 miles.  However, the guy (D) who was biking with us and me and the other two continued on.  D and I biked the last 13 miles together.  I was getting tired, and on the hills he would pull me up so I didn't have to work as hard, which was very kind.  We ended up crossing the finish line together, wheel-by-wheel, 75 miles later.

My knees did not hurt at all during the bike ride.  I did, however, get many interesting questions asked:

Many times, people would look at me, up and down, and then say, "what happened to you?" or "does that hurt?"

My canned response was: "I went running before the ride and fell this morning.  I feel fine, and I am ok."

D and my running friend joked that I should just put a sign on my jersey that said "I am fine."

Even though the day did not go as I thought it would, I wouldn't have done it any other way.  To live with diabetes is to overcome an obstacle every single day.  Therefore, biking with scrapped knees is only fitting.  It was just one more obstacle to overcome.  And I can say that not only did I overcome it, I demolished it in the process.

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