America's Most Beautiful Ride - Tahoe Century - Done
America’s Most Beautiful Ride – Lake Tahoe Century – June 1, 2008
What a wonderful weekend event in Tahoe. We arrived Friday, May 30th and all luggage and bikes made it there as well. Friday evening the Georgia TNT Team rented a catamaran for a sunset cruise and dinner on Lake Tahoe. We had a great time even though it was very cold. Saturday morning we picked up our event packets and took our bikes out for a 20 mile ride to make sure everything was in working order – it’s called the shakedown ride. Of course we had to stop at Izzy’s for a greasy burger on the way back – GA team tradition…. We had a few hours in the afternoon to try to relax before all the festivities began – tough to relax though since I was so nervous.
Saturday evening was the TNT Pasta Party – there were actually 4 parties as there were so many participants there. We had the first seating at 4 pm, and it was a great time. There were several speakers all inspiring and a great dinner. They told us that were 3200 riders and 1800 were from TNT and we raised a total of $7.5 million for the cause. The GA TNT Chapter raised over $300 Thousand – final numbers are not in yet. From the Pasta Party we headed to a team meeting where we were given last minute encouragement as well as instructions for the morning to come….
Sunday, June 1, 4:30 am – wake up call and the day of the unknown….Dressed and as ready as I’m going to be to meet the team at 5:30 am for a team picture and then head to the start line. 6:25 am and we are on our way…..The ride was beautiful, however, I spent a lot of time looking at the road as the conditions of the pavement were not so great. I had to really concentrate on my breathing. The ride was tough, really tough….I know I trained for it, but I think I needed some more training – I’m not the greatest on the up hills…Debbie was great – she rode with me the whole way. She held back, which I know was hard for her and somewhat frustrating – She’s a super-star and a real trooper!!!!
I had to get off the bike several times during the day (not at rest stops) just to give my legs a break and catch my breath. I just had to do it at my pace and not worry about what everybody else was doing. When we finally reached the lunch rest stop at mile 70, I decided that
I would take a little van assistance for the next 10 miles – 8 of those 10 miles is an up hill climb that I knew my legs would not take me at that point. So I got a ride to the top for Spooner Mt., and waited for Debbie, the 2 coaches & 2 coaching assistants. Once they were at the top, we all rode the last 10 miles in together!!!
What and awesome experience crossing that finish line!!! As we crossed the finish the whole GA Team (37 riders in the GA Team) was there waiting for us – they ROCK!!! After crying like a baby and checking into the TNT tent we joined the team for hugs, pictures and beer. Or ride time was somewhere just shy of 9 hrs – this includes all the stops and everything.
A big THANK YOU goes out to Debbie for everything and the coaches and support staff - I wouldn’t have made it without you!!! As Neil (head coach) said on the last up hill climb, your not letting cancer beat you, don’t let this hill!!!!
Ok, so after the ride we had to get back onto the bike and ride to the hotel – yes, I’m not kidding you – boy did that hurt! Thank god it was only around the block. Showered and ready for a celebration dinner with the team – a good time was had by all.
Monday, June 2, 7:00 am – bike drop off for shipment back to Atlanta. Impromptu breakfast with team members and then off to the Reno Airport for a long flight home – arrived in Atlanta at 10:05 pm and home in bed by 12:45 pm. What an awesome weekend. One that I will never forget. I’m not sure that I will do another century ride, but I will definitely keep up the biking. I think my body has a limit for about 60-70 miles, but only time will tell.
Oh – I forgot to mention that all the TNT Teams from around the country decorated their helmets with something that resembles where they are from – It made the ride entertaining and fun – we wore peaches on our helmets, the MI team wore the Redwings logo, the Las Vegas team’s ornament lit up…..there were several good ones.
I took a few pictures, but not many as I was concentrating on keeping myself on the bike as well as breathing. I’ll post what I have on a share site that I will send info out about shortly. I’m sure others on the team got some great pictures, so hopefully they will share theses with me.
And now you know the rest of the story……..
Thanks again to everybody for all the support!!! Both financially with the fundraising and emotionally – what a ride!!!