Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tour de Cure - WOW!

Well, the 1st (hopefully) Annual Watkins Glen Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association is now history. I rode with the team of miscreants in the pic below as Team NS Thoroughbreds and from where I stand, I think we rocked the world!

The cast of characters goes like this from left sort of to right:
  • Dr. Alton Annabel - AKA 'The Good Doctor.' or just 'Doc'. My main man in the bicycling world. Riding partner and training guru, source of endless inspiration and hilarious mishap photos. He hung on through 2 broken spokes and a set of prize-winning saddle sores to finish the 85 mile loop and then had enough juice left to go on a search and rescue mission at the end of the day to total out with 101.48 miles. Large and in charge as always.
  • Angie White - My wife's sister and novice bicycle rider. She took on the 65 mile loop after only riding a few weeks on a borrowed bike. Her enthusiasm for this madness was contagious. Even though the initial 6 miles of 5% grade just about did her in, she soldiered on and got almost 20 more miles before she finally had to surrender. Even then, she stuck around and was moral support for the rest of us and keeper of wet cell phones.
  • Hiding in the back is Gary Thomas - More commonly known as 'Root' for reasons that will remain undisclosed in this context. He's an engineer like me but only recently got back on a bike. I'm particularly impressed with him since he only gave up smoking in April after being on cigarettes since he was 14. He's now is trying to lose the weight he inevitably gained when he quit and actually thinking about living longer. He bought a helmet, borrowed a bike, couldn't find Watkins Glen (how you lose a tourist trap like Watkins Glen I'll never know but that's another story), ponied up the entry fee and rode the 11 mile loop. He even managed to climb out of the valley at the end of the day to ride the to the rescue with Doc and I. We'll have him hooked for good by the fall.
  • In the black shirt is Jessica Bottoms - ADA Tour coordinator and leader of the cheering section. She managed to answer all our dumb questions and still have time to cover all the other silly details like developing routes, organizing the SAG people, setting up the rest stops, you know...coordinator stuff. She insisted on being in our team photo and frankly, we wouldn't have it any other way. Now about next year...
  • The big galoot in the back is our Red Rider, Mark Krukowski, fondly referred to as the uh...Big Galoot. He's also an engineer and another one that surprised me by signing up to ride right out of the blue. Unlike Gary, he at least has a really sweet bike to ride and has been out and about figuring what to do with 24 gears. Being pretty new at the bicycle game too, he teamed up with Gary and rode the 11 miler as a warm-up for greater things. He's another one that finished his loop and then went up the hill hunting for missing teammates. We're going to keep him on the team next year for intimidation purposes.
  • Down in front, smiling like a lunatic is the blogger himself. I think one reason I was so happy was because I was finally off that pointy little saddle but the main thought at that moment was how proud I was of the team. Ya done good gang!
  • Right behind me is my younger son, Connor. He's fallen for the bike bug pretty hard lately and put on a great day with his new Diamondback. He went on the 65 miler too and banged his way up that first climb non-stop. Then he hung on with the pack and did some pretty impressive ups and downs out there on the hills. He had to call it about 30 miles out but still really kicked butt in my book and showed an awful big heart for such a small guy!
  • Behind us is of course...Captain Chris - Leader, head honcho, chief herder, team banker and prime motivator. She got hooked into being Team Captain by virtue of not waiting for me to sign on the computer when we first decided to do this and since first on is Captain by default...she got the prize. It's lucky she did because I'm too idiotic to figure out the donations, envelopes, permission forms etc. All the stuff that she did while Facebooking, texting and volunteering for everything that wandered by all at the same time. On top of that, she led the 65 milers out of town until she broke 2 spokes and had to be patched up and caught up by the SAG wagon. Back in the game after roadside repairs, she shared the same sudden downpour, thrown chains, goofy detours and bizarre rest stop adventures with the rest and still managed to finish. All this without an iPod. She always was and still is a keeper.
  • The next two to the right are Dave and Norma Jayne. Probably our longest-lasting friends from way back in the bad old days when we had nothing and knew even less. They're another pair that fell into biking fairly recently but fell hard nevertheless. Dave went from a Target special mountain bike to a Diamondback Podium in nothing flat and Norma gave up the Sears hybrid even quicker. This by way of a pair of mountain bikes which we occasionally beat up in the woods for a change of pace. They also did the 65 and banged it out to the very end. To go from just about zero not that long ago to 65 miles is pretty darn impressive, especially since they did the rain and fought all the obstacles along the way. I figure they've got some bragging rights over the bike elite that showed up with unobtainium bikes, biometric computers and snazzy bib shorts but hung it up when the deluge started.
  • Way out on the right is Amy Bishop - Mrs. Bish to most everyone because she works in the same elementary school as Chris and if you remember that far back, no adults in elementary schools are allowed to have first names. She's put in an lot of hours on her bike getting in shape and pounding out miles. She and I had a long talk about gears once because I found out she was staying in the big rings all the time for a 'real workout' which; since she's damn strong, led to ripping the spokes out of her drive wheel and early bonks going uphill. She's a tough one and despite fears of looking like a bike snob by wearing a jersey or padded shorts, she put on the colors and rode an honest 65 through thick and thin. Someday maybe, we'll wear her down and get her beyond chamois shorts and into clipless pedals. One thing at a time.
  • And last but far from least is Karyn Freund - our faithful SAG driver who stayed with the team to the very end. She wouldn't leave them and even when there was talk of sweeping them in when the course closed, she stayed right there with her bright red VW bug protecting their tail and helping them along. She wouldn't let anyone else replace her because those four stragglers were hers and she wasn't letting them go. We made her a member of the team in gratitude, smothered her with sweaty hugs and dragged her over to be in the photo with the rest of the mob. A friend indeed for friends in need. Thanks Karyn!
  • Not pictured is Karin Stamy - She's our contact at NS Corporate who hooked us up with the jerseys, pointed us in the right direction on how to get started, answered a zillion email questions from the northernmost branch of Team NS Thoroughbreds and even admitted to being a trainmaster once-upon-a-time. We'll be hunting her down and running with her and the big dogs down in Roanoke one of these days.

All in all, it was one of the most fun, crazy, exhausting, exhilarating and inspiring things I've ever done. I'm not much of a 'team player' and don't really 'join' much of anything very often but I'm sure glad we did this. It kind of restored a little of my faith in people and maybe, just maybe...helped the world in some small way.

Thanks to all of Team Thoroughbreds! You guys are THE BEST!

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