#Obliteride Recap – RSC Rode 105

Well I did it.  Last Sunday (August 10th) I got on my bike and I rode 105 miles.  It took me 8 hours.  It wasn’t a race but on some levels I was racing – with myself and with those who said I couldn’t do it.  The event was Obliteride and I raised $1600 for research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.  It was the best day I’ve had in a long time – warm, sunny, and a beautiful bike ride.

Packet pickup was on Friday evening at Gas Works Park.  It was a great party – great entertainment, amazing food, and perfect setting.  The park was showered in orange and bikes.  A huge sign was stationed in the middle for riders to put who they were riding for. I ride for my YSC friends, I ride for those that survived, those we’ve lost, and not to sound selfish but I ride for myself. I’ve participated in a lot of fundraising events but this one was off to a great start.  The folks really made sure to appreciate every single rider – no matter the distance they signed up for.

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Once I got my packet, I rummaged through it and found my jersey and an envelope with a number for my bike, for my jersey, for my helmet and for the back of my bike.  The one for the bike was just my name – there were actually two – one indicating that I was just Rebecca and one indicating I was Rebecca, survivor.  Hmmm…do I want to be just Rebecca for a change or do I want to be Rebecca the survivor. Interestingly enough, I ask myself that question a lot but that will be for another post. I opted for the survivor – since this event was benefiting research at Fred Hutch, the place that made me a survivor.

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Sunday morning came quickly, I can’t say I wasn’t a little nervous. As with any event I do, I always have nightmares the night before – you know, getting to the starting line late, forgetting a key piece of equipment that I need – this time  the dream was forgetting my helmet.  I got up early, fueled my body and had my hubby take me to the starting line at Magnuson Park.  My nightmare didn’t come true – I had all the gear I needed and I wasn’t late.  In fact, it looked like it was going to be a perfect day.

As with the party Friday night, the starting line was equally amazing and didn’t disappoint.  There was plenty of bagels, banana’s, breakfast burritos, and coffee. Since I was nervous, I only ate a banana. The bike repair station was up and ready to help anyone who needed it.  I was good to go.

At 7:10, I headed into the corral to listen to the Obliteride speakers.  One told us about the route we would be taking – and politely apologizing for the extra 5 miles due to construction. They thanked us for raising funds and the impact it will have and they told us to ‘climb with purpose’ – a phrase I feel will stick with me much longer than just this route.  We listened to a story of survival and another story of loss.  Everything was inspiring!  It was hard not to be excited about the 100 (or 105) miles in front of us.

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We left Magnuson Park and headed south around Lake Washington – all along hearing everyone cheering for each other. I was glad I had put Rebecca the survivor on the back of my bike. My pace was steady so to make sure I could save my legs to last all day. I’m not a fast rider anyway.  The route was clearly marked with signs to turn and a nice touch was signs for those survivors riding.  I kept an eye out for my name and finally found it mid-way through the day.

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Somewhere around the lake, I ended up meeting up a with another survivor.  Turns out she was a 15 year breast cancer survivor. 15 years!  As we briefly chatted, I started to imagine my life 11 years from now telling someone else I was 15 years out.  It still seems a little surreal at this point.  She opted to stop at the first rest stop but we agreed we’d meet back up somewhere down the road. I kept going through Renton and to the first hill – slow as usual up the hill but I remembered the phrase ‘climb with purpose’ and I just kept repeating that phrase in my head.

I opted to stop at the second rest stop to prepare for climbing up and around Tiger Mountain. Rehydrate, fuel, and a quick stretch and then I was off again.  Climb with purpose. Climb with purpose.  Climb with purpose – I chanted over and over in my head.  Turns out, the hill wasn’t as bad as I imagined – I had done some training rides with equally challenging hills.  An unexpected spectator, a deer, was at the top cheering us on.  He twitched his ears and I swear he was smiled at me as I passed.

After having the large hill behind me, the route took us through Issaquah and north on East Lake Sammamish road to Marymoor Park for lunch.  I met back up with my new survivor friend and we decided to ride the rest of the route together -down the west side of Lake Sammamish back over to Lake Washington.  Typically I ride by myself but it was a nice break to have someone to chat with along the way – we shared our stories and talked about other rides and events we had done in the past.  It was a good way to pass the time.

At the last rest stop, I stopped only to text my hubby – letting him know I’d be about an hour from finishing so he could meet me at the finish line.  Unfortunately, there was a slight headwind and wasn’t going as fast I could have or maybe my legs were just tired or maybe I was distracted and slightly jealous of all the people swimming in the lake.

I finally crossed the finish line 8 hours after starting and I’ve never felt stronger.  I celebrated my ride in the beer garden with my new survivor friend.  We earned it!  What and amazing ride!  I can’t wait to sign up for next year.

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