The Tour de Cure (TdC) is a two day cycling event to raise money for diabetes research. The main route is 75 miles each day and two other routes are offered as well. I participated in the "240k challenge" which is 150 miles.
This was my third TdC and I've enjoyed it each year. I think that this year was probably the best organized of the three years. The volunteers were great, the banquet on Saturday night was pleasantly to the point and the camaraderie was outstanding. I hooked up with a great group of Gyros, Qualcomm, NetApp and unaffiliated riders and on Sunday and we were all pretty good about staying focused at the rest stops and not lingering too long -- figuring that the as the day progressed, it would only get hotter.
The route was pleasant, crossing Falls Lake at about the halfway point, and I enjoyed the minor changes made to the Cary/Apex/Morrisville portion this year. The Masonic Home for Children in Oxford was a great host as well.
It was hot. I tried to ignore it when the weather forecast called for temperatures over 100 degree on Saturday and Sunday. I contacted fellow riders on Friday and they were already changing their plans. A coworker of mine, K1v1n, and I still planned to ride. Our strategy was to minimize our total amount of time outside by riding a steady pace and not lingering at rest stops to socialize. Some groups take a really long time at rest stops and that is never something that I enjoy because the longer I stop, the harder it is for me to get going again.
Both days everything was good until 11:00 or so and then I started to think, "It's hot." By noon both days I started to think, "It's really hot!!!" By 12:30 each day I was thinking, "Dear Lord, is it hot!!" Fortunately, I rolled in between 12:30 and 1:00. Even so, temperture was 97 and the heat index was 102 when I finished on Saturday and even higher when I finished on Sunday.
On Saturday's ride to Oxford I was with a the NetApp group until the middle rest stop and when I was read to leave, the Qualcomm group was leaving so I went with them. Unfortunately, I was dropped going into Creedmoor. I completed the final third of the ride as a solo effort. When I finished, I noticed that a lot of people were coming in alone and I was far from the only solo rider out there. In fact, after taking to K1v1n at dinner, I found that he had much the same experience.
On Sunday morning when we gathered at the starting line, those of us there noticed that we had lost half the riders. This was confirmed by the TdC organizer who also said that the riders alone had raised over $150,000. That's a lot of money.
At the starting area, I found found the Qualcom/Gyros group that I wanted to be with and lined up with them. As we rolled out of Oxford with our police escort, I noticed a girl wearing red shorts with CHE ER on the rear. These were not cycling shorts, just shorts. Wow, that had to hurt. After a few more miles we found out out that her she was a 14 year old high school freshman. The group I was with kind of took care of her and started to call her "Megan the Machine." She made it all the way back to Cary with our group. As someone else in the group said, she didn't know that it was supposed to be hard!
On Sunday morning the most unusual thing happened on my bike ride. I was participating in the Tour de Cure and it was the second day of the tour. I was riding with a group of about 15 cyclists and someone yelled out, "Slowing! Deer!" Then several other riders yelled out, "Deer! Deer!" It was a fawn running on the road in the same direction as we were going. We continued to slow as the fawn continued to run for its life and finally ran into the field to our right. It was still young enough to have spots along its back.
I've seen deer on bike rides before but never had one join the peloton before!
Up next, the Firecracker 100k.