Rochester Hills PCT Bicycle Club

June 12, 2005
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Sunday June 12, 2005 was the Tour de Cure in Brighton Michigan.  Joining me for this event was Pete.  The Tour de Cure is a fund raising bicycle ride sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.  Apparently they do these bike rides all over the country in different cities of different states through out the year.  This one happened to be scheduled relatively close and the company I work for, TRW had a team planning to ride.  I found out about this ride through an office email.  They offer many routes to meet everyone’s capabilities.  When I signed up a few weeks ago I decided I would do the 30 mile route.  I thought the 30 mile route would be challenging and it wouldn’t take up the whole day.   

TRW was the largest fund raising team at last year’s ride and they wanted to have a good showing this year as well.  TRW did not match our individual contributions, but they made a one time donation of some large sum of money, I’m not exactly sure how much they kicked in.  The team leader was able to get a few sponsors to help pay for actual bicycle jerseys to be used during this event.  She didn’t get enough money to pay for the  jerseys completely, but with each of us kicking in a little we were able to get a real bicycle jersey.  So, now Pete and I have matching Tour de Cure bicycle jerseys from this ride.  I feel like a walking billboard wearing the jersey, but actually they are pretty cool and they are made out of high quality wicking material so they are quite functional.  I plan to get good use out of my jersey. 

The check in time for the 30 mile ride was 7:30 am.  I picked up Pete a couple minutes late around 6:40 am, but we still had plenty of time to get over to Brighton to get Pete registered and start on time.  I folded the rear bench seat down in my van and took out one of the second row captain’s seat so that we had enough room to fit in mine and Pete’s bikes.  We were each thinking a like, we each brought a change of clothes just in case for the ride home.  The weather lately has been very warm.  This has to one of the warmest springs I can remember.  It has also been very dry the past few weeks.  Finally the forecast included rain, with any luck we thought we might just get in the ride before the heavy rain rolled into the area.  It only sprinkled on us for the last couple miles which felt really good.  It also rained a little harder after we finished for a couple minutes before we had lunch, but was all the rain we got. 

After I picked up Pete he told me he hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and wanted to stop at the drive through of a McDonald’s for a breakfast meal.  I knew we were tight on time, the beauty of this event is if we were a couple minutes late no one would care.  We were just basically riding for the fun of it.  After getting Pete’s Breakfast we were headed to “Island Lake Recreation” where the event was being held.  The place was close to the freeway so it was easy to find.   

I brought Diane’s digital camera so I do have a few pictures from this event to share.  See this link for the pictures.  I planned to take some pictures during the actual ride, but Pete and I ended up riding at such a fast pace I wasn’t comfortable taking pictures while pedaling.  I know Steve would have gotten some pictures while riding, I just didn’t feel confident enough to man the camera while riding. 

The 30 mile ride was out on a few main roads and quite a few secondary streets.  We crossed over the freeway many times during the ride.  We went through downtown Brighton and at one point we actually rode right passed the subdivision entrance to one of Pete’s sister and brother in laws.  The route also included a rails-to-trails section that reminded me of Paint Creek Trail (PCT), but this trail was completely paved with black top making the riding easier than PCT.  We rode maybe 3 or 4 miles on this trail and for what seemed to be about a two mile stretch we averaged around 19 mph which is a very good pace for us.  They had marked the route with small signs on the side of the road and red spray paint in the streets.  

Even though this event wasn’t a race it was obvious that Pete and I weren’t the only ones trying to win.  A lead pack of maybe 30 riders started out a minute or so ahead of us.  We quickly caught and passed quite a few riders.  Through out the entire ride we slowly caught and passed everyone except a couple bikers.  After riding about 3 or 4 miles we were out on a relatively main road with out any traffic in sight when a full size van pulled up next to us and the lady driving yelled at Pete.  Apparently this person was a volunteer riding along the route making sure everything was started out OK.  One of the rules was you were supposed to ride single file in the street.  We were riding side by side at the time and she yelled at us to stay in single file.  We followed this rule for the rest of the ride except when we were on side streets or the trail.  The first rest stop with water was at about the 8 mile marker.  I asked Pete how he was doing and if he wanted to stop at the first rest stop.  He told me he felt good and wanted to keep riding, so we zipped right passed the first drink stop.  We passed quite a few riders that were ahead of us while they stopped for a rest.  Pete led most of the way, which he likes to do and which I actually like him to do as well.  Remember one of my rules of thumb when riding with Pete is for safety it is best to always keep him in your sight.  

The next rest stop was at about the 15 or 16 mile point.  Again, Pete said he was doing well and we continued on without stopping.  This time when we rode right by the second rest stop a few of the lead pack that stopped noticed we weren’t stopping so they quickly finished their rest stop and starting riding again.  I think they got nervous when they saw Pete and I go flying by without stopping.  The lead pack now knew they were in for a race if they wanted to finish first.  

I knew we were riding at a good pace.  Up to the 20 mile mark I hadn’t looked to see our average speed.  I guess I didn’t want to know in case it was really good, afraid if Pete and I knew how fast we were really going it might mentally make us tired, even though our bodies felt good.  There were still about 4 or 5 riders ahead of us and there seemed to be more hills near the end of the ride.  One thing I noticed and I pointed out to Pete was how we always gained on everyone during the up hill sections.  It was obvious to me that all the riding we do on hills in and around our home base area Rochester Hills had turned out to be excellent training for handling hills.  Pete confirmed that we were gaining on everyone at each incline.  I finally did index through my speedometer and found we were riding at an average speed of 15.0 mph.  This is an incredibly fast pace for us considering we had ridden 20 miles with hardly a stop.  The only stops we made were for a few seconds at two traffic lights that we couldn’t make before they turned red.  When I told Pete what our pace was I think it actually gave him a second wind because when we came to the third rest stop again we just kept on pedaling without even thinking about stopping.  We now were on a mission to finish this route without stopping which I never even considered before we started.  We also had a real good chance to catch the couple of riders ahead of us and win this thing.   

At about the 28.5 mile mark, according to my speedometer, Pete decided it was time to sprint.  We had been riding with these two girls for the past few miles since they were setting a nice pace along with us on the trail.  Pete took off so fast that before I knew it he was about 300 yards ahead of me.  At first I wasn’t sure what he was doing so I just held back , but then I realized he was getting farther ahead.  I knew I had better push myself to catch up so that we could finish together.  I really had to push hard to catch him, but I finally did and then we came across our only point of confusion about the route.  Nearing the end we came to fork in the trail that confused us on direction.  One of the girls we had been riding with went left and I took the trail heading slightly to the right.  When the girl that went left looked back and saw me going right she stopped and turned back toward us.  Pete was slightly behind me at this point and I stopped and waited for him to see which direction he thought we should go.  For some reason there wasn’t any marking at this point on the route.  After Pete checked the map we had finally convinced ourselves to go to the right when one of the lead riders came back toward us from the right.  Now we were really unsure which way to go.  We even started thinking we might have missed a turn well before this fork in the trail.  To get to this point we had just finished a long steep uphill and none of us wanted to go down the hill with the possibility of having to go back up the hill again.  Pete asked the guy that had come from the right if he was sure that wasn’t the correct way, he told us he went a few blocks and saw nothing so he was pretty sure it was the wrong way.  Well, it turns out this guy was completely wrong, he just didn’t go far enough to see the next route marking on the street.  Finally someone that we had passed many miles ago came riding up and he was from this area and told us he was sure the trail to the right was correct.  By this time 4 or 5 more people we had passed quite a while ago also passed us.  Due to the poor marking of the route we did not end up winning, but we did finish in the lead pack with a very impressive ride. 

At this point my speedometer was at 30 miles and we obviously still had a ways to go.  The route actually ended up being a little longer than 30 miles, which was all right with me.  Overall I had a great time on this ride, it was very enjoyable.  At one point I told Pete we were already over 8 miles and had more than a third of the race behind us.  Pete’s response was we still had two thirds to go.  I felt the 30 or so miles went by very quick and based on how I felt at the end I think doing the 50 mile route next year won’t be a problem.  The sun stayed behind the clouds for much of the ride which made the temperature feel much cooler than the day before.  If we had constant strong sun beating down on us it would have been a much more difficult ride.  

The total distance for this ride was 33.5 miles, 14.5 mph average speed, 29.0 max speed for a total time on bikes of 2 hour and 17 minutes.  The 14.5 mph average speed shattered our previous club record for a single ride and we also set a new club record for distance without stopping for a break.  

We finished around 10:20 am and we ended up having to wait until 11:00 am before the catering service was ready to start serving lunch.  Both Pete and I drank a few bottles of water waiting for lunch to be served.  The lunch was very good.  They had diced chicken is some kind of sauce, pasta with a red sauce, garlic bread sticks and Caesar salad.  They also had regular bottle water and flavored water along with diet and regular Jones Soda.  We also got a gift bag containing a water bottle, umbrella, chapstick on a string and a few coupons for filling out a survey.   

Again, I had a really good time and I encourage everyone to do an event like this if you have the opportunity, especially when it is for such a good cause.  If you haven't checked out the pictures yet, here is another link to pictures.
David Lindquist 

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