Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Ride to Conquer Cancer - Day 1

I wrote mini blog posts and a number of Facebook updates throughout today's adventure.   Will post all here in order, unedited.  Apologies for the font changes.  Consider yourself forewarned ;)

5:22 (that'd be am):  Ride to Conquer Cancer today! On about 4h sleep.... Wish me luck - or endurance. I may need more endurance than luck!

6:00 - And we're off! My wonderful mother is driving me to the race start at shortly before 6am on a sunny Saturday. Tires are pumped, chain is oiled, and I am thoroughly slathered in sunscreen and sporting super sexy RBC sunglasses ;). I'm also going on roughly 4h sleep -- frig! I tried though -- I was in bed trying to sleep by a civilized 10:00 last night. Here's hoping that becomes the only failure of the day! Lol happy peddling! 

7:00 - I'm here and it's an impressive organization! We're to meet for a team pic but was no one here when I got here so went exploring. Went to get breakfast when I realized my wrist band, which I'd been fiddling w in the car, was either still in the car or lost to time. Frig. Fortunately I'm not the only one to have done such silliness and getting a new one was a fast and painless process. Grabbed a banana and granola bar and good to go. The team is gathering - there are about 160 of us, two of whom I know... 

7:30 - team pic is done and back and corral now. It is insane! Glad I came when it was empty earlier :). High energy level and happy people. I'm highly amused at the variety of things people have stuck to their helmets - plungers, stuffed toys, flags, pylons... things newbies wouldn't even think of :) They have water bottles that I'd really like - but I'm not willing to give up my ice water so have to forego...

A great team!  I'm at the front, right behind the people with the sign...
7:57 - So I have my ride watch but I don't think it has enough power to run all day - fingers crossed!

Almost ready for the start of the pre-game show!
8:07 - The numbers are in: 1250 crew, 5042 riders, and $20,533,000 raised for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.    And personally -- thanks to so many of my amazing friends, your contributions totalled $3,240!  As I had a goal of $2,500 that I feared would be impossible, I'm still amazed and overwhelmed by the generosity of everybody!  Team RBC had an amazing total number, but I wasn't able to write it down at the time I overheard it ;)

8:32 - We're off!   Slowly.

9:50 - at pit stop 1 (20km) and so far so good! Weather is perfect :). I was feeling good and tempted not to stop but remembered my rule for surviving is to stop and eat at each stop and at least one bottle of water. Done :). I'm riding faster than planned - will likely regret that later but sobeit. Charlene came out to cheer - super excited to see her :). And all the other random cheering people! It was a slow start getting out of TO, but that actually made it less intimidating somehow.  A few traffic jams as too many riders tried to fit through small spaces, but it's starting to spread out now.  Okay - back to the ride!

11:13 - It's a lovely day for a walk. Lol did not make it up the hill after 4th line. Congrats to those who did! And the awesome people cheering at the top - esp dude w the jeep and 2 dogs.  All the enthusiasm!

11:20 - Stopped at the train by the farm where I used to board Lexi; have never been so grateful to see a train!

11:45 - at 50km rest stop. Was very hard to get going again after the last one but got better as I went. Shoulders are killing me but the rest is okay. I'm averaging about 25km on the flat but only about 10 on hills! One I had to abandon ship and walk. About 30km I was suddenly starving! So pulled out my energy chews - which are supper tasty - and then dropped them :(. So sad. Had to make due w moderately inedible protein bar. Ah well. The lineup for water is insane, but access to food is easy.  Okay back on the bike! After another collection of food. All the cookies!

12:50 - To the people at the top of #1 Sideroad w water and an optional sprinkler - you are awesome.

1:17 - It's a bad sign when you're doing 5km/h and asking the stranger next to you if he knows when the hill ends...

1:20 ...the hill ended at lunch :) 70kms - a new personal record! That last section was... hard. Really hard. All the hills. Steep hills, rolling hills, gradual hills that never end -- all the varieties. Awesome people at the top of one of the worst sections had set up a sprinkler on the road so we could ride through - myself and a few others ditched the bikes and just went to stand under the sprinkler. Physically my neck and shoulders are in pretty constant pain. The rest of me is tired but okay. I also seriously underestimated the amount of food that would be required to get me through this. I'm a little dismayed that lunch doesn't have any "take out" food (granola, rice crispies, trail mix, etc) so I can't restock my bike. I haven't made it from one rest stop to the next without replenishing yet so may be a challenge. This time I didn't feel hungry but I did feel like crying -- and I know from past experience that when that's uncalled for, esp if I'm active, it usually means I need food. Part of me wants to close my eyes and have a nap and part of me thinks that'd be a v bad idea. So on the bike I go...

2:22 - "A lot of downhill coming just around the next corner" -- if that guy wasn't lying, he's my new best friend.

3:12 - 90k - really struggled w the last 20. Although a 3 min break upped my speed significantly. At water stop, went through the line, filled bottle, went through the line again - and by the time I got to the front my bottle was ready to be refilled.

3:14 - at the start of this I was hesitant to let my precious bike out of my sight. Now it's approximately 3 blocks away in a ditch and I'm like "meh, if it gets stolen, I get a drive to the end" :) Also to the enterprising kids selling freezies at the 90km rest stop - I'd like you a lot better if I had any money!

3:15 - Rest stop: a banana, 2 orange slices, 3 cookies, a rice crispy square, and 3 bottles of water later and I'm ready to go. This is insane. And I'm taking another rice crispy square for the road.

4:07 I made it!  Thankfully pretty well the whole last section was downhill -- part of it quite steep (made 50 km/h without pedalling!). SO much fun.  The (thankfully short) flat section I was managing all of about 10km/h.  My quads are done.  Completely done.   But I'm in camp now, my bike is parked in row 29, and I've found food.  All good.   Shower, sleep, and do it all again tomorrow!   Admittedly *slightly* concerned about that, given how my body wanted nothing to do with the last 30kms, but here's hoping stubbornness, ummm I mean determination, wins out!

At first I dismissed this as the ride isn't finished,
But then I realized, I just completed my first century!
And that definitely *does* deserve a photo.


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