Last weekend was the time and Columbia , Maryland was the place for riding a long time on "The Circuit of Suffering".
As events go...it's not a race although some treat it that way. It's not Ultracycling, but there are some UC's out there crawling into that little space they go to.
It's not a party, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone say it isn't. It's full of bike posers in the latest kit with 6K bikes and full of folks on cruisers with out a stitch of spandex.
What it is, is a group of people coming together who have been touched by cancer. Their Mom's or Dad's, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Sons, Daughters...themselves, touched by the disease.
They ride to raise money for the LAF and the Ulman cancer fund, great organizations that do so much to help cancer victims with quality of life issues.
It was up in the air that I would even be able to ride this year since, having broken my ankle, I was still on the mend, when i started building milage to get ready for the event. With the Doc's Ok, I could cycle and so I started with about 7 weeks to go. Lots of hours on the trainer in the basement. In fact most of my milage was done down in the dungeon. After a few weeks, I got the go ahead to begin cycling outside...which was a huge rush having been limited to what I could do during recovery (NO running!)
In a few weeks I had built up to 150 mile weeks, which is nothing compared to what I had built up previous years. I would be enough though.
On the events weekend, after a week long taper I was off to Columbia in what would prove to be just stellar weather. Riding began about 1 in the afternoon after speeches and and what not.
The first miles were nice... settling in and getting used to the flow. I tend to turn inward at events like this..saving energy for what's to come. A few hours pass and the crowd thins out. It's HOT and I think it's taking a toll and I even hear a few folks talking about bagging it and coming back out in the evening after the sun goes down. Dinner break REALLY drops the numbers out on the loop. I stop for a nosh but am back out quickly. I had been coming in regularly for fresh bottles of Infinit and pocket snacks. Dinner break just came at a time when I needed to break, or I may not have stopped.
Miles fall away and it's fun to see the other folks riding...Full kit bikies hammering the loop. It's obvious they are taking long breaks on a regular basis. They come out fresh, mash for awhile, whip past you, then disappear for quite a bit of time. If you're not stopping, your either getting passed on a regular basis or you're doing the passing. I talk for a bit to a couple of UC's (Ultracyclists) quietly cranking out miles. Turtles and rabbits, and we all know how that turned out. 1 in the morning...2 and the number of riders thinned out to the point that for awhile I feel like I'm riding alone.
For my part, not much to tell really...just a quite spin paying for the donations so many kind folks made in my name for the event. Keep pushing food and fluid, keep checking the color of my pee to make sure I'm not dehydrated. Crawling into that little space in my mind.
100 miles, 120, 150, 180 and I'm done. The lack of time for proper training, which includes getting my bum used to being on a bike seat, takes it's toll. I tell my self to get some sleep and see what the morning will bring. It's 3:00. At 5 I'm up and decide that's it.
No worries. Very happy to have been a part of the event for another year.
Not going to wax on about mom or dad or the other folks I know who have died from the disease or who battle it now. Death is, after all, " Just another path. One that we all must take."