For the fifth year in a row, I rode in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure on Saturday, Sept. 21. The temps started out in the 60s and ventured north into the 70s, blue skies with very little wind … it was a perfect day for riding.
For me, it was like riding around in my backyard. The start line was 10 minutes from my house and the route took us in and around Black Forest, Flying Horse, the Air Force Academy and Tri-Lakes … all areas that I am very familiar with and have ridden through quite a bit the last few years.
Each year there is something about the route that makes it memorable. In Longmont that first year it was the ascent and descent at the Carter Lake Reservoir. For the century it was ‘the wall in the road.’ In Woodland Park it was ‘the climb out of Deckers.’
This year we rode up and down the entire length of Roller Coaster Road, starting at North Gate and going all the way north — through Black Forest, past Flying Horse, Fox Run Park and Tri-Lakes — up to Palmer Divide. For those unfamiliar, Roller Coaster Road is a road that makes you feel like you’re on a roller coaster. When I would take the family up to Fox Run Park in the car on that road, we’d always would raise our hands on the numerous downhills and scream like little girls. And with every steep downhill would come a steep climb.
I often wondered what it would be like to ride that road, a place many a cycling team would go to train. I wondered, but never actually went on the road; there’s no shoulder. It’s a tiny two-lane, but on Tour de Cure Day, you feel a little more confident on your bike, having your fellow riders all around you.
I purposely didn’t look too closely at the route this go around. It seems in the past scouting the route too closely only worked against me; I’d get psyched out by a particular hill or stretch. Not scouting helped because riding west on Palmer Ridge, which becomes County Line Road, into Palmer Lake features several steep descents, which, as we all know, I don’t care for. A couple of times I’d be riding, looking up seeing all of the Rocky Mountains, then looking down and getting the feeling like I was heading down a slalom ski run. But like all things that make you nervous, you just roll through them and they are never quite as bad as you think and over before you know it.
I had a great group of people that I rode with. On my Longmont rides, you start out with a group, talking and supporting each other, and then at some point, the pack and the pack mentality would disperse and you’d be on your own. This year the group pretty much stayed together, stopped at all the rest stops and left together, so that was nice.
I think this was my most enjoyable Tour de Cure yet. I did the 50K route, which ended up being just 30 miles or so. I’ve now done … the century (106 miles), the metric century (62 miles), 30 (this year), 25 (after my crash) and the family route in Woodland Park of 14, when I was the ride chair.
It was probably the most enjoyable because it featured all the things that I like about doing these rides … I was unsure, scared, uncomfortable, strong, powerful, confident and … happy. There was perfect weather and it wasn’t a sufferfest.
My goal with riding or exercising for that matter isn’t to peak at some point for some monumental goal, like a century or a marathon, it is to consistently and regularly do it and maintain a certain level of fitness and a certain weight. That’s good for my health overall and very important to control my diabetes.
For the fifth year in a row, I rode as a “Champion” meaning that I raised over $1,000. In the five years, I’ve raised over $10,000. (Gina was my date at the Champions dinner.) For the SoCo TdC, I’ve worn the #1 bib twice and the #2 bib once, which signifies where I ranked out of 300 or so riders.
That’s all thanks to my family and friends. Thank you. I appreciate your generosity.
This year it looks like I’m just outside of the top 10 fundraisers. If you’d like to contribute, we are accepting donations for a couple more weeks.