While I much expected the Longmont, CO Tour de Cure to follow suit of the SoCal Tour de Cure that I did in May, I was much surprised to see that this one was better organized from the moment I walked onto the fairgrounds, actually, let’s back up, to the moment I drove onto the fairgrounds. There were people directing the traffic instead of making us fend for ourselves in the parking lot (which is what we did in CA, we parked wherever we wanted because there was nobody out there directing us in any kind of civilized matter, of course I didn’t blog about the parking in CA because it wasn’t important at that time, but now that I have something to compare it to and CO’s parking situation was much better. I feel the need to mention it. But I digress.)
When we got out of the car and got my bike put together I noticed that my front tire needed some air. It had been a long time (several years) since I had to use the hand held pump and I couldn’t remember how attach the pump nozzle onto the valve. I had it backwards. When I was a kid the pump we had the lever had to be up and when you put it on the valve you pushed the lever down. That’s the thinking I had when I tried to attach the nozzle of the hand held pump to my tire valve. It wasn’t happening and I knew that they would have bike technicians to help me out. Sure enough, as soon as we entered the fair grounds there was a young man servicing bikes at the Schwab Cycles Tent. I told him that I needed air in my front tire, he lifted the bike to his work stand, added air to the front tire and then proceeded to check the air in the back tire and check and adjust the brakes on both tires as well as check that the gears were changing properly.
And into a world of friendliness. People had no problems talking to you. People I didn’t know. I knew my grandmother she was with me. And I had met like 3-4 others that I actually remembered their names the night before at early check in. I’m going to say that this friendliness spawned from two things: first, it was CO and not CA so people weren’t as full of themselves; and second, I was a RED Rider and I had the jersey, so people knew I was riding with diabetes (I blame that on Mari Ruddy).
Since I had gone through the registration process the night before the ride (preregistration is a great thing) there was no need for me to visit the registration table on the day of the ride. Which was great, because the lines, well, there were lines and who wants to stand in line
Although, I do have to say this, their registration process was very organized compared to CA’s registration process. Here they had all the stuff we needed in envelopes, our numbers, our maps, etc. We just told them what team we were on (because that’s how they had us organized) They asked us for our emergency form and our fundraising envelope and they gave me my envelope and I was on my way. (And this was the way it was on ride day too, anyone who had registered online they had an envelope for.)
Since I had previously checked in (previously being the night before) all I had to do was get my goody bag and t-shirt. What was cool about this is that before they would give me either, they wanted to know that I had, 1) checked in and 2) that my bib was properly attached to me. They marked it off and gave me my goodies and sent me on my way
Grams and I walked around for a bit after checking my bike into the valet parking lot (something only available in CA to those of us that had raised $1k or more) But it was cool to be able to put my bike somewhere and not have to watch after it while I’m waiting for start time.
After having parked my bike we went and checked out the RED Rider tent to see if there was anything that Grams could help with (I mean, it was going to be at least 2.5-3 hrs before I returned back to her and she didn’t have much to do except read a book and crochet)
The RED Riders tent was right next to the start line so of course I had to go stand there and have a picture taken.
10am was start time and at about 9:45 we all started to congregate and line up. I was able to start a conversation with a nice man named Ross, actually, he started a conversation with me. The whole nubs on the mountain bike that I shouldn’t be riding in the first place on the road…yeah, that starts conversations (note to all: if your riding on the road with your mountain bike, get slicks)…
When it was all said and done, and we were allowed to go, it was about 10:15. The coolest thing about them taking their time to get us started (they had a lot to say) was that they told us to recognize the RED Riders. If there was someone in the special jersey (see me in my jersey above) we were supposed to “Whoop! For the RED Riders” I think this really drew us all together. It was cool to be riding along and as I was being passed I’d hear that. It was like each of us had our own cheerleaders riding along with us and cheering for us.
Ross and I rode together and talked for about 4 or 5 miles, which was where I met with my first hill of the ride and couldn’t any longer keep up with him (of course, had I been able to keep up with him at that hill, I would’ve fell behind later on because he didn’t stop at any of the rest stops.)
The first rest stop was at approximately 9 miles into the ride. I didn’t waste any time, I got off my bike, took a picture, checked my blood, ate a hammer gel, drank some water and went on my way.
What sucked about this stop was that immediately after this stop I had to go uphill. What was great about going uphill is that I got to go downhill (and I would’ve tried for my 30mph except that there was a curve in the downhill). The bad about that downhill was that I then had to go back up a hill. That hill, I checked, I was going up at 3mph, it sucked, but not as bad as this other hill, that I’ll discuss in a bit.
At 14.5 miles I got to stop again (at the top of a hill of course). I did the routine rest stop stuff: took a picture, checked my blood, ate a hammer gel, drank some water and went on my way. And actually, it was at this rest stop that I picked up a new group of cheerleaders. They took my picture and whenever they would pass me they would encourage me by saying, “come on Albuquerque, you gotta make it to the end so we can say that you rode the entire way”. They were cool, I’d pass them at stops but they’d quickly pass me (as was the case with all stops and people that passed me and I likewise passed)
This leg of the ride between the 2nd and 3rd rest stops was the roughest for me. The hills were brutal. There was this one hill, it was awful, I couldn’t have been in a lower gear (cause there was no lower gear to go into). I was pedaling so hard and I was barely moving, but I was moving. There was this one lady, another diabetic. I didn’t ever get her name, but she encouraged me all the way up that hill, she was awesome. What was cool about this hill was the down hill that preceded it. I almost got to 30mph, I got to 29.9 mph, and had I not arched my back to look down at my speedometer, I probably could have made it to 30 mph, I was so close.
The 3rd rest stop was at approximately 22 miles. I didn’t get a photo here. I was exhausted. I did my stuff, had to get more water because I had gone through my entire camelbak, and my water bottle. I wanted to get back to the start as quick as possible, this was probably my shortest rest stop at less than 2 minutes (where the other stops I maybe was there 2-2.5 minutes)
The last stretch wasn’t too bad, it was about as good as the first stretch. It was cool to see skydivers on the way back, of course at about the time I yelled out “oooh skydivers”, my cheerleaders rode past me and yelled “focus Albuquerque, you’re on a bike, you don’t have time to stop and watch”
I finished the ride in 2 hrs 44 minutes (and 24 seconds if you must know) actually, that was my ride time, so if you factor in my 2 minute stops and what not I think I was at 2 hrs 50 minutes. The total distance was 32.01 miles. My avg speed was 11.6 mph my fastest speed (as I previously mentioned) was 29.9 mph. It was a very good ride. Much more enjoyable than my CA ride. And I think that was totally due to the the “Whoop! For the RED Rider”