Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tour de Cure 2010

Team CSH group photo

Tour de Cure Day 1

Early on Saturday morning, I met with Team CSH at the start. Most people were riding the 75 mile route, which was actually closer to 80 miles. Lisa, Stan, Jim and I were all doing the 100 mile route. The route went from Cary to the Pinehurst area. The 75 mile route went directly to the host hotel and the century route did a loop by Pine Needles and rejoined the 75 mile route before going to the finish area.

I started out riding with Stan and Lisa. At about the halfway point we here a ping and it turned out that was the sound of Stan's front spoke breaking. We were near a rest stop and he made it there. Fortunately Steve K. from Bicycle Chain was there. Of course he didn't have a spoke that was the exact length of the broken one! Steve K. managed to jerry-rig it so that Stan could finish out the weekend. Stan, Lisa and I continue together until about mile 60 and then, when it was my turn the take the pull, I was riding along on an incline and glanced back -- no Stan and Lisa. I slowed slightly and the decided to ride my own pace (the incline was not bad but it was about 5 miles long and we had a headwind) until the next rest stop and regroup.

102 miles done!
I got to the rest stop and Team Cheeta was there along with my TdC friend, Tracy. This is the rest stop where people turned off for the century or continued on for the hotel. The Cheetahs were waiting for a straggler and Tracy was ready to go. Stan and Lisa pulled in and I asked if they were continuing on the century. Stan said, "I'll let you know in five minutes." Tracy said, "I'm going." I told Stan and Lisa that I was going to continue on with Tracy. Tracy and I rode side-by-side and talked for the fist bit, which was downhill. Then I pulled for a bit and we got to a water stop. Tracy wanted to stop and I was good with that since we were rejoining the route in time to do the 5 mile uphill headwind section again. Tracy said when we get to the hills, let's go at our own pace and we did.

Happily, DH had already checked us into the hotel and turned on the air conditioner in our room. DH and I hung around in the afternoon and went to the TdC dinner in the tents outside of the hotel. They did a much better job with dinner this year and the beer was a major upgrade -- Fat Tire and Carolina Brewing Company!

Tour de Cure Day 2
Sandra, Mark and Doug from TdC before the start of the ride on Day 2

On Sunday morning, I grabbed some breakfast at the hotel and then gathered up my gear. A group of us met in the parking lot to head back to Cary. Today everyone that I knew was doing the 75 mile route. Jim and I talked and wanted to ride with Team CSH, if possible. We did hang with the team for about 10 miles and got frustrated. Steve L. was sitting on the front and holding the riders at and even pace, not an even effort. Both the pace and the effort were not what we were looking for.

Jim and I pulled off and three guys came with us so we had a nice little group going. We joined up with the Sandhills Cycling Club group for a while and then there was a split after Sanford. Jim and the others were in the first group and I was with the SCC group for a while. Then it started to feel disorganized and I went off on my own.

I was having a really good ride and generally enjoying myself. I was nearing "home turf" and almost to the last rest stop I planned to use to top off my water when it happened. My foot felt odd. I looked down and saw nothing abnormal. I decided to unclip and reclip thinking that something might be in my cleat. Much to my surprise, when I unclipped, the entire crank arm came off! Uh oh...

I am not experienced with this sort of mechanical problem. I called the TdC SAG number and left a message. Some riders passed me and I asked them to leave a message at the next rest stop. I put on my cleat covers and started walking. A few other riders passed me and I gave them all the same message -- rider with crank problem needs assistance. Then a group stopped. The had tools! We got the crank on but a part was missing -- the star bolt cover piece apparently came off somewhere along Lower Monrure Road. About this time the mechanic from the rest stop came and he said it looked secure enough to ride into the rest stop, do that and he'd look at it there. He tightened down the two screws on the crank. The mechanic reiterated that the star bolt wasn't really need and I was good to go for the next 20 miles.

A few miles out of the rest stop the crank detached for the second time. Rick, who got me on the road the first time, stopped and helped me again. The crank came off again a few miles later. A SAG vehicle was just behind me and I flagged it down. I asked to be SAGged forward since the mechanic at the rest stop behind me had been unable to help. Steve K. from Bicycle Chain was at the rest stop that we pulled into (yes, he of the jerry-rigged spoke the day before). Steve fixed me up and I was able to ride the final bit of the TdC. I was so happy to get back on the bike! I *really* wanted to finish! I am slightly disappointed that I didn't get to ride the whole thing without issues since I had a good ride going but I'm please that I persevered.

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