Friday, July 18, 2014

Ride to Remember - Day 1

After months of training rides and anticipation, it's time for the 2014 Ride to Remember.  The past week has been as much about forcing myself to not ride as the previous 4 months were about riding.  While I know that this ride is going to test my ability to manage efforts over multiple days, somehow it just didn't matter once we got to the start line.  Waking up early, packing up the van, getting everything together for a multiple-day ride.  Gathering at downtown Simpsonville, it was awesome seeing all of my team mates there and excited to ride.  While I've been on rides where the starting area was well over 1,000 riders, somehow this crew of 220 people that signed up to trek all the way to Charleston seemed special.  No professional riders to draw the crowds, no massive fanfare.  Just a couple hundred people uniting for a common cause - to help those that suffer from Alzheimer's.  

As we rolled out, the pace was fast, and we had a great lead out by the Simpsonville police.  Some of them were even on bicycles!  The weather wasn't ideal to head out, with rains coming through a few hours before the start.  Wet roads were going to have to be dealt with, and with a number of treacherous train tracks early in the day, it meant being extra careful.  Everyone in my group had no major issues getting past the tracks, and we had no major events up to the first rest stop.

One of the challenging things on a ride such as this seems to be keeping with specific people.  With the large group of folks at the start, our band of merry suffers ended up being split up.  Over the course of the 68 miles we gained and lost folks, and had a good time.  The PB&J sammiches at the 3rd rest stop were a real treat!  They definitely helped with energy levels as we continued to trek towards Newberry.

Once of the unfortunate incidents happened closer to the front of the pack.  As the story has been retold, one of the riders ended up going through some grass clippings and uncovered a stick that caused him to wipe out.  His day was done, as the bike was not rideable, but he was in good spirits.  In fact, he is intending on riding tomorrow on a spare bicycle that his girlfriend is bringing to him this evening!  

After the ride was over, one of the sponsors of the ride hosted a gathering at his lake house.  Good music, good food and good friends, all in a very relaxing environment.  Then it was back to the hotel to make sure that clothes for tomorrow is laid out, cycling clothes from today are washed, a quick shower, and wind down for sleep.  Tomorrow starts early, with another 80+ miles to go.  It also is reportedly the hardest day of the trip, as we go through the heartland of South Carolina heading to Orangeburg.   

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