Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In the final stretch....

As I get closer to closer to the October 1 deadline, and the LIVESTRONG Challenge weekend in Austin, TX, the reality of the amount of work I need to do to hit my $15,000 fundraising goal is hitting me. I think it hit me this Sunday as I was in the final stretch of the NYC Century Tour. One year prior, I was ecstatic about raising under $2,000. And now, I'm committed to raise 7.5x that amount. And I still have a long way to go.

That being said, I thought with my back problems and lack of experience, it would be impossible for me to finish a mountain bike race. Well, I did that. And I finished in 4th place in my class for the season. After having to bail on my own LIVESTRONG fundraiser, ROCK the RIDE and RUN because of my back, and consequently, being benched from my road bike since April (officially), I had no idea how I'd fare for the LIVESTRONG Challenges. Philly's result didn't thrill me. My only consolation was that really no one finished the 100 mile Challenge as it was canceled due to weather. But I barely did 35 miles. And my back was in bad shape.

Which led me to really wonder about this past Sunday - the NYC Century. Last year, I couldn't finish the full 200 mile attempt. My knee gave out and my hamstring was injured. I was determined to ride the full 100 this year, but I knew going into it I didn't do the kind of training that I should have. I'd been torn between doing the kind of riding I needed to and nursing my back. I was afraid of riding and hurting myself, preventing me from riding at all.

Well, I did some riding. I rode 12-15 miles with Sound Cyclists last week just to test the legs. The results weren't what I wanted. I struggled. I walked up a hill or two. My pace was off. And the back was twinging. But I swore I would not take the Subway back to Harlem and I'd ride the century through.

I am happy to report there was no Subway ride back for me. Due to weather concerns, however, I didn't ride out the official 100-mile Century Tour. By the time we got to the final rest area before the finish, it was already getting dark prematurely because of poor weather. It was getting hard to see the markers, and visibility is notoriously bad in the Bronx stretch of the ride, apparently. Of the group that I was riding with, only 3 were ok to finish the 100 - one was a marshal, the others not only had done it before but lived in the neighborhood and didn't need the marked cues.

But here's the good news. I ended up riding over 85 miles of the 100. And, between the ride itself and getting to and from the train and the car, I rode 95+ miles. And the better news? My back was fine. I don't just mean ok, or tolerable, I mean fine. Thighs were stiff, tush is still numb and achy. But the back was fine.

SO... Austin, I'm coming for you. Which means, of course, cancer, I'm going to kick your butt. You may have thrown your thugs "back sprain," "defeat," "hit-and-run," and a variety of other distractions my way. But you have always been in my sights. For the dozens of friends, family and associates that I ride for, you may have dodged the bullet, but I'm still coming after you.

I'm going to ride you into the ground. In Austin, I'll be one step closer to having raised enough money and awareness to make you disappear. And if I have to go through it again next year to keep my friends and family safe and protected from you? I will.

And, if I have to do it again, I'm bringing friends.

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