About mid-May, I got an email from Obliteride regarding their bike ride in August. I’d been contemplating riding again but just wasn’t quite ready to commit. I rode in the event back in 2014 and absolutely loved it. Last year I took a break from fundraising but when I got their email something made me think I needed to do it again. I reached my minimum in a week’s time thanks to all my fabulous friends and family. Now I all needed to do was train.
Seems simple enough, go out put in some miles in the saddle but life kept getting in the way. Work, volunteer work, family, weather…I just wasn’t finding the time to ride. For me, riding or running is 90% mental, 10% physical so I knew no matter what, the day of the ride, I’d be OK. I knew whether I trained or not, it’d take me about 8 or so hours to finish. I have to keep telling myself, it’s not a race. Same day finish.
For those not familiar with Obliteride, it’s a fundraising event for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. This organization is very near and dear to me considering I benefited from the research that happens there and I also spend a lot of my free time volunteering with researchers. This was the 4th year of the event and I’ve heard they’ve raised around $7 million towards cancer research. Amazing!
The day before the ride, the event organizers hosted a party at Gas Works Park. They had dinner prepared by Tom Douglas, beer brewed from Elysian Brewing, and tons of great music. I laughed when I went over to grab a beer…the guy handing it to me apologetically said I could only have 5. I thought he meant 5 drinks period (including bottled water) but nope…he meant I could only have 5 beers. Ha! Ha! If I had 5 beers, I wouldn’t have been able to ride the next day. And for the record, I had 2.5 beers.
The next day started early. Up at 5 AM to start getting prepared and ready to ride. I made sure my tires were pumped, my chained was oiled, and my bib was on my bike and my clothing. The hubby dropped me off at the starting line and I headed to the starting area for a quick breakfast. The Obliteride folks had breakfast burritos, oatmeal, bananas and coffee for all the riders. I sat down and starting eating when two guys came to share the table. We talked about our training (or lack there of), where we were from, who we were riding for and what distance we were riding today. These guys came all the way from Bozeman, MT and were riding for a little girl who lost her long battle in April.
As it got closer to 7 AM, I made sure to stop at the port-a-potty one more time and then headed to the start line. There was about 300 riders lined up either riding the 85 or 100 mile route. We listened the police talk to us about safety and then a few words from the event organizer. To get us motivated we heard a story of inspiration. This guy was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and first started receiving treatment at Dana Farber after his doctors told him they couldn’t do anything else, he found a trial at Sloan-Kettering and when that didn’t help, they told him to come to Seattle. It was at Fred Hutch that they found a researcher trying some new treatment and it was here where he was cured. Today, he rode the 100 miles with us. It was so inspiring and confirming that Fred Hutch/SCCA is one of the best places in the nation to get treatment. After the national anthem, it was time to ride.
We started down the streets of Seattle with a police escort and headed for the ferry terminal. 300 riders boarded the ferry for Bainbridge Island and it was a gorgeous morning. Once we unloaded the ferry we made our way around the island. It was beautiful and I think I might have found my dream home.
After we left the island, I honestly couldn’t tell you where I was but it was a good ride. There was hills, there was water, there was mountains. Here’s a snapshot of the route and the elevation. The elevation may not seem like a lot but it was about 7,289 of elevation gain.
The first 50 miles were good but the last 50 were hot and super hard. There was an opportunity to switch to the 85 mile route after we crossed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and honestly, I considered it. However, I immediately thought of all my donors who contributed to my ride and I couldn’t let them down. I couldn’t let myself down. I said I was going to ride 100 miles and I needed to follow through. I also started riding with this girl named Jaclyn from Ellensburg and she helped me finish…actually we helped each other. Talking, sharing our stories, and pacing each other we crossed the finish line together. I’m very grateful to her and my donors to motivating and supporting me.
Every time I do something big like this, I feel like I’m giving cancer the finger…I feel stronger and proud that it won’t ever take away from me what I love doing. So will I do this ride again? I think so but I need few days to cool off. I’m a fair weather rider and love riding in the heat but 92 degrees might be my limit. Stay tuned till next year!
If you’d like to donate, there’s still time. Here’s my site.