Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Views from the top of the Hill

After 4 months of training, spilling my sweat on the roads, and my guts on the blog, the weekend went by in a flash. Emotional high, somewhat exhausted and yet replenished...odd how that works.
You couldn't have asked for better weather. Earlier in the week they called for rain so naturally I went out and bought rain gear...a sure sign that it wouldn't. Fern and I rode up talking about the recent months, and I actually got him to agree to pursuing riding next year on a moderate level.
We checked into the Westin to begin this last leg of the adventure.
Cocktails at Quintessence allowed us the opportunity to finally meet the other riders, to exchange hugs, smiles and stories. I also connected with my posse, the "Less than Elite" Riding Group.Luisa, Catherine and I became a formidable block of average riders committed to the max. Catherine is Sarah Cook's aunt and was back for her 2nd year of riding. Sarah was recently diagnosed with a recurrence of her cancer at the young age of 17. Our thoughts are with her and Catherine's persistence at this difficult time was heartwarming. The true devotion of an aunt.
Fern and I attended the dinner and thanks to all of my team we were among the top 5 fundraisers, which placed us at the table with Lance. As I have mentioned before I am more of the Livestrong Lance fan than as a cycling phenom. I truly do appreciate his decision to walk through the public door with his cancer and to undertake this huge global vision for the disease. We are often encouraged to think outside the box but he has collected a huge array of creative thinkers around him that have a vision for cancer that is truly inspiring.
Lets just say my pre-ride sleep was not completely relaxed. The little man in the my brain kept running back and forth screaming.." It's not too late"..."Don't do it"..."What were you thinking".
Relax I told myself, you've got Luisa and Catherine...life is good.
The morning of the ride went quickly with Media interviews ( all in French) and the pre ride tension. More hugs all around, the presentation of the Yellow Jersey - Dr. David Fleiszer who raised $82,000 and we were off.
There was an amazing surge of energy when we took off and when I realized that we were riding at 33kms/hr. Hmmmm...not sure I can keep this up. Do your best...just do your best.
Lets just say, that the region is hilly and Lance rides quickly....okay downright fast. For someone who trained at 27 kms/hr realizing that the peloton was at 40k/hr was initially overwhelming. Finding comfort in my posse we soldiered on at our own rhythm in our own way. It was great to see the people on the sides of the road waving us on and ringing the cowbells to encourage our efforts.
We broke once at 50kms for a group picture and the peloton continued on the return. Arriving in Huberdeau we were welcomed by a large group of people and it was great to see Fern and Marlene on the sidelines cheering me on. The home stretch seems to go quicker since you are counting down towards the end...pedalling faster to get back.
Let's just say I wasn't at the front of the peloton. Luisa and I made our own way back probably 30 minutes behind the leaders, happy, and relieved to have completed the journey.
With a little bit of hindsight here is what I realize:
1. I am not a speed freak..I am just as happy cycling at 27 kms/hr as I was at 34kms/hr..maybe even more.
2. Everyone has a story...we need to listen
3. Cancer needs to be a global concern..Lance has it right.
4. Terry Diab gives great hugs and is a champion in all ways
5. Caroline Rhea is a mensch and funnier than you can imagine.
6. The feeling comes back eventually but it can take up to 48 hours.
7. There are flat parts to Quebec and you can ride there too.
8. Bad/Sad things are going to happen without any effort on our part...It is up to us to create Joyful moments...they don't seem to happen spontaneously..you have to make them happen.
9. Now that I've cycled with the best...time to look onto a new challenge...hmmmm maybe Swimming with Michael Phelps...I think I can beat him.
10. You can never say Thank You enough. I could never have undertaken this insanity without your support. From Andrea shopping the bike, Marlene and Sandy taking me on training rides, my lunches with Simon, Fern telling me I could, the countless emails and words of support from you, my friends and family, each and every step has been as part of a team. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You...
Stay tuned the blog will continue as we prepare for 10*10*10....in the meantime I better go get a Speedo...Michael are you listening?????
Thank You..you made it happen.

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