June 11, 2006 is the day of the big Tour de Cure ride. I folded the rear
bench seat down in my van and I took out one of the second row captains
chairs to make room for our bikes. Pete and I tried to talk others into
joining us on the Tour de Cure ride this year, but it ended up being just
the two of us again. I took off the front tire on my bike and loaded the
bike and tire into the van. Next stop Peteís house to pick him up for the
ride over to Brighton where the Tour is taking place again this year.
It was around 6:40 am when I got to
Peteís. Pete took his front tire off and we loaded his bike right next to
mine. We had plenty of room in the van, I probably didnít need to take
out the one seat. Pete was almost awake when we hopped into the van and
took off. We stopped at a McDonalds to get some breakfast to eat on the
ride across town.
The weather appeared to be turning
out just as I hoped. A little cool with a slight overcast. I think we
were going to luck out again weather wise. Last year we got rained on
quite a bit during the ride, but that was actually good because without
the rain it would have been a much tougher ride due to the heat. This
year the temperature was going to be perfect for the ride.
We got to the Island Lake Park
around 7:30 am. We paid our entrance fee and followed the signs to the
parking area. This year we had to park off to the side in a grassy area
that isnít normally used for parking. It appeared to be an over flow area
to accommodate extra cars. I brought Dianeís camera to take a few
pictures before and after the ride to be able to share visually with you
some of this experience. I will post the pictures I took this day at the
bottom of this page.
Once we parked we took out our bikes
and reinstalled the front tires and made sure everything was lined up and
working properly. Pete parked his bike directly in the one lane they
had for cars. At least one car had to veer off in the high grass before
he realized his mistake and moved the bike out of the way. Pete didnít
notice that he had moved his speedometer sensor so that it wouldnít work.
We rode over the short distance to
the registration tents to sign in and get our numbers. I pinned Peteís
number on his back and he returned the favor for me. We looked around and
found the TRW tent so we headed over there to see if there were any other
TRW riders hanging out. It was deserted so we headed over to the start
line to get in position for the 8:00 am start of the 30 mile ride. Last
year if it wasnít for some confusion near the end of the ride, Pete and I
would have easily won the 30 mile ride. We set a record for average speed
for a single club ride last year. We have never come close to the 14.5
mph pace from last years ride. I could tell by the look in Peteís eyes he
was planning to not only win this year but he was also planning to beat
our average speed from last year. This wasnít a good sign, I was
concerned about getting burned out too early and struggling at the end. I
remember the hills at the end were somewhat challenging.
It didnít appear there were as many
riders doing the 30 mile route this year. Last year Pete and I missed the
start by a minute or so and we got behind a lot of riders. We ended up
passing all of them, but it took a few miles and maybe that is why it
seemed like more riders last year. This year we were near the head of the
group and we passed almost everyone within the first two or three miles.
Pete was pounding on his speedometer while pedaling trying to get it
working, but no luck. I figured if the darn thing wasnít working he might
slow down. Pete started out setting an extremely fast pace.
About a mile and a half after the
start one of Peteís shoe laces came untied and he had to stop to tie it.
I kept riding at a somewhat slower pace knowing that Pete would catch up
quickly, which he did. It was amazing how quickly we passed the few
riders in front of us. You could tell some of these riders didnít want me
and Pete to pass them because they actually sped up and tried to hold us
off. This kind of action just motivates Pete even more and we kept
pressing on until we passed everyone in sight. It was definitely a fast
We were making such good time that
we actually stopped at the second the rest stop and enjoyed a few snacks
and filled up our water bottles. Last year we didnít stop at any rest
stops, and I think we missed out. It was more enjoyable making a couple
stops this year. Once we got back on our bikes after the rest stop we had
to pass a couple riders again that made shorter stops than us. Pete
wanted me to mention that the give-aways were power energy bars that not
only looked like cow pies, they tasted like cow pies. Apparently Steve
likes these and eats them before playing hockey on Friday nights. Maybe
if Steve reads this he will join us next year.
The route was similar to last yearís
route and I remember some of the areas as we passed by. About half way
into the race we came up to more riders that must have left early because
based on their pace there is no way they could be that far ahead of us
without cheating. Pete and I labeled these riders as cheaters. We had to
pass a few more cheaters along the way, but then finally Pete and I were
on our own, we were way out front of everyone. Pete got a little tired
early, but the snacks and drinks at the rest stop was all he needed to
catch his second wind. I felt pretty good until near the end when I
struggled up the last hill.
A good portion near the end of the
ride is along a paved trail. When we hit this trail Pete actually picked
up the speed even faster. At this point I got a little behind Pete, I was
concerned this faster pace was too fast for me, I wanted to make sure I
didnít run out of energy before the end. I kept Pete in sight, but he was
still quite a bit a head of me. At one point he was at least 1,000 feet
ahead. Over the next few miles I kept riding at a decent pace, but I was
still losing ground to Pete. Finally Pete slowed down a little and I
caught up just before we entered what appears to be an old garbage dump
area. There is a long steady hill going into this area and then a fairly
steep hill as well. Pete started to pick up the speed again on the
gradual hill and my legs were just too tired to keep up. Pete put
distance between us again, and this would be the last time I would see
Pete until the finish a few miles ahead. As I was slowly making my way up
this last hill another rider passed me. This was an older guy on a road
bike that came out of nowhere. I think he was one of the riders doing the
50 mile route, he wasnít part of our group.
Once I lost sight of this new guy
and Pete, I wasnít sure of the last turn to get back into the park for the
finish. As I approached the final intersection I saw a bike rider wearing
biking clothes. This guy turned right so I followed him. After about a
quarter mile I quickly realized I had probably turned the wrong way. I
pulled out my cell phone and called Pete and he confirmed I turned the
wrong way. I turned around and headed back to that final intersection.
When I got there it was obvious the mistake I made. I got back on track
and within about five or six minutes I crossed the finish line. Even if I
hadnít gone the wrong way there was no way I was going to catch up to
Pete, the early fast pace just took too much out of my legs at the end.
Even with my goof up at the end we still set a new record for average
speed of 15.1 mph, which is very impressive if I do say so myself for a
ride of over 30 miles.
Pete ended up finishing first and I
came in second a couple minutes behind Pete. The next riders came in a
couple minutes after me, we basically blew away the 30 mile route field
this year. Next year I am going to have to make a better effort to keep
up with Pete at the end. Pete was waiting for me after I crossed the
finish line. He had already been there for a few minutes so he went up
and got our goody bags with the little free items and coupons they give
you. He also found out they were going to serve lunch a little earlier
this year. Last year we had to wait around for almost an hour before
lunch was served. This year the line was much shorted since most of the
riders were still out on the course while we were getting our food. We
were able to eat and hit the road sooner this year and since we were
planning to stop to help a guy with his Old Chicago pinball machine, we
would have more time.
The lunch was very good. The place
they get to bring in the food does a nice job. You only get one plate of
food which is plenty, but you get as many drinks as you like, which is
nice. Before lunch we parked our bikes over by the TRW tent. Once we
finished eating we went back to the TRW tent and took a couple more
pictures and we asked a guy to take a couple pictures of Pete and me
together in front of the tent.
Time to load our bikes back into the
van for the ride home. Both Pete and I really enjoyed this ride. It was
a lot of fun and definitely for a good cause. We ended up pushing
ourselves just enough to make it challenging and yet still enjoyable.
We did end up stopping at some guyís
house and we worked for about a half hour to 45 minutes on his game. He
didnít have a useable schematic, so it would be very time consuming to
figure out the electrical problem that was causing all the lights to not
work. We tinkered around to see if we could get lucky and stumble across
the problem, but we didnít. We did find and fix a few other problems
while we were there, but we finally said without a proper schematic we
just didnít have the time this day. The weird thing about this schematic
was it was printed in reverse, like you were looking at the back side. I
have never seen anything like this, I am not even sure how you would go
about making a schematic like this. It was virtually unreadable. We
laughed about the weird schematic and agreed Pete would mail him a proper
copy and then they would try to trouble shoot it over the phone and plan
another visit if necessary.
Following are the statistics from
this ride, 32.3 miles total, 30.0 max mph, 2 hour and 8 minutes time on
bikes and a new club record average speed for one ride of 15.1 mph.