Some people like to be taken care of when they’re sick. Others want to be left alone when they’re sick. And I think that pretty much covers everyone.
I don’t think, for example, there is anyone out there who, when sick, really likes to take care of five other people, some of which are also sick, and some of which are teenage boys, which is worse than being sick.
And in short, I would have really enjoyed being someone besides me for the past couple days.
An Excellent Excuse
Looking back, I now understand that I’ve been sick since Friday. In fact, in my post from that day I mentioned my first symptoms: a sore throat. I just didn’t realize that the sore throat wasn’t from the race last Thursday; it was the beginning of the mother of all colds.
And the truth is, I’m excited at the prospect of using what I now realize was the onset of illness to explain the fact that on the group ride Friday afternoon, Jill easily kicked my butt.
Which is to say, the largish group of us were all riding together until after the Tibble Fork turnoff, which is where the road really turns uphill. Jill, in a display of cruel kindness, stayed with me as everyone else dropped me hard.
“Go,” I said, “Don’t let them get away.”
And she did. Jill bridged the gap nearly instantly. That woman has a serious motor.
At the time, I thought I couldn’t hang because I’m fat and out of shape. Now, of course, I realize the real reason I couldn’t hang is because I was getting sick.
[Note to Kenny: You owe me big time for not making this entire post be about why your shoulder in the below photo is bloody. But I'm not going to talk about it because your point about "I hate riding with bloggers" got to me.]
Saturday, I woke up miserable. Sore everywhere, eyes runny, nose snotty, unable to breathe. I just wanted to go into a cave and be alone. I’ll come out when I feel better. Honest.
But the twins had other plans. I had promised to work with them on riding their bikes.
How could I say no to that? Or more to the point: even though I was sick, I didn’t want to say no to that.
So we found an empty parking lot, and got to work. And I’m glad we did, because yesterday was the day when it all finally came together.
Here’s Carrie, making it look easy:
And leaning into the turns:
And here’s Katie, with exactly the expression I want to see:
Thinking about how in a few years we’ll be hitting the singletrack together, I forgot all about being sick for an hour.
Arts and Crafts
Susan doesn’t have much use for things nowadays. Out of everything she owns, the list of things she actually uses on a daily basis is pretty short:
- Her powered easy chair
- Her down comforter
- Her Kindle
- Her iPhone
The thing is, when she’s in bed it’s been hard for her to reach the Kindle and iPhone when they’re laying on the windowsill being charged.
And so, Saturday, I managed to break through my brain cloud and come up with an easier way for her to reach — and charge — those two things.
Yes, it’s a pair of nylon pouches that hang from the rail on her hospital-style bed. I made it by cutting down a Banjo Brothers Pocket Messenger Bag, using a torch to melt the nylon at the edges so it doesn’t fray, then stitching it and fastening it in place with about twenty zipties. The charging cables are ziptied in place, too, so they won’t fall to the floor when not in use.
It’s as functional as it is ugly. Which is to say: very.
Cancer — or any other serious illness — can hurt you in two ways. The way everyone thinks about is by the damage it directly causes. But it can also hurt you through indirect damage — your body is designed to move, not be kept in one place and one position all the time. If you never get to move around, your body suffers in more ways than I would have expected.
And that indirect damage can be incredibly painful.
I don’t want to get into specifics, but starting Saturday afternoon, Susan started hurting pretty darned bad due to some of that indirect damage. By Saturday night, it had gotten unbearable. A nurse came out and helped improve things, and I headed north on a 20-mile drive to the nearest 24-hour pharmacy.
It was late at night. I was sick. My wife was suffering. I was in a dark place.
And then I found out that one of the kinds of medication Susan needs isn’t covered by our insurance.
Then at this pharmacy — the first time I’ve ever been to this particular pharmacy — the pharmacist asked for the patient’s name.
“Susan Nelson,” I said.
“Is that by any chance the ‘WIN Susan’ Susan Nelson?” he asked.
And of course it is.
He expressed his concern, wished us the best…and waived the cost of the non-covered pills.
I have lost count of how many times people — sometimes people we know, often people we don’t — have been kind and generous toward us, but I appreciate it every single time.
I’m still sick. And it’s been a very hard weekend. But there have been some good moments.
If Dug were a car racing video game, he would be one of those where you have to earn your turbo boost — but once you’ve got it, you get to keep it.
If I were a car racing video game, on the other hand, I would be the kind where you have Nitrous and Turbo Boost right from the first moment of the game, but you only get a finite amount of each. I would also be the kind where somehow the console senses you’re about to press Start and immediately turns on the Nitrous, Turbo Boost, and mashes the Gas button clear into the controller without asking whether you really want to go that fast right from the gun.
And in short, in spite of the fact that Dug clearly explained before we started the race that he was going to hang back and let me cook myself to a crisp, I went right to my redline and kept it there. By the time I got to the bridge that signals the base of the big climb on the first lap — Clark’s — I had already put enough distance between us that I could no longer see Dug.
And I would not see him again for the rest of the race.
Whaddaya know. My total lack of a strategy and boneheaded approach to racing worked. While Dug suffered badly for the big climb, I put enough of a gap between us that even though I knew I had a good chance of completely discombobulating on the second lap, he wouldn’t be able to catch up.
Theory of Subjective Speed
This is not to say that I did not crane my neck around ten thousand times (usually at switchbacks, sometimes where there was a long straight section behind me) to see if Dug was closing in. Because — especially during the second lap up Clark’s — I felt eminently catchable.
Which brings me to a couple of things I noticed during this race.
First, in the absence of any kind of real measuring device (a bike computer, GPS, or even a watch), my sense of speed got incredibly subjective. During the first ascent up Clark’s, my iPod played about three songs: I started the climb halfway through one song, listened to two complete songs, and finished about halfway through another.
On the second time up Clark’s, I was certain Dug would catch me. At several of the mini-summits, I nearly stalled out. I was weaving on the trail. I had nothing that even resembled a cadence.
And yet, I started the climb about halfway through one song, and finished about three complete songs later.
In other words, I did the climb in three songs when I was fresh, and 3.5 when I felt completely broken. Now of course, songs can be of variable length and I might have been more than halfway through a song at the beginning of one of the climbs and blah blah blah, but still: while I felt like on the second climb I was twice as slow, in reality I probably was just a minute or three slower.
By the way, I have just now decided that from now on I shall measure all climbs in Song Units. Please do likewise.
More Subjective Speed Theory
Actual amount of time notwithstanding, it felt like I was crawling during the second climb up Clark’s, and multiple times considered getting off my bike, resting while I waited for Dug to catch up, and then proposing that races are stupid and that we’re both closer to our mid-forties than early forties and what business do we have racing one another?
But I kept going. For you.
During this subjective crawl, I noticed that I was noticing things (which is pretty darned meta, I admit). I noticed, for example, that the distance between trees was greater than I had previously suspected. And that the distance between a couple of landmarks on the climb — a signpost and a gate — is about eight feet, where I had always before thought of them as being within just three or four feet of each other.
Also, I noticed a lot more false summits than usual.
Adrenaline is Not My Friend
Of course, since the course is a loop, it can’t be all uphill (and if a loop course were all uphill, I’d be mighty upset). The big downhill was Ghost Falls, a switchbacky, wide, clean stretch of singletrack with several bridge crossings and a few whoop-de-doos up top.
The first time down Ghost, I was terrible. For two reasons. The first — and most important — reason is that I was still all amped up. I wasn’t riding the trail, I was attacking it. And on a twisty course like that, that just doesn’t work. I kept overbaking the switchbacks, surging in any little straightaway, and in general was a herky-jerky mess.
I’d guess that I was slower than when I just ride this trail normally, flowing with it and enjoying myself.
The Worst Downhilling Song Ever
The second reason I did so badly on the first descent was that my iPod chose to shuffle Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” into play.
Now, let it be known that I love this song. Cash brought soul and an ache to it that makes his version vastly superior to the original (and I like the original too).
That said, I cannot imagine a worse song to downhill to. However, just for fun, I just took a look at my “One Good Gig” playlist (a carefully-chosen set of songs to fit on a 1Gb iPod), and decided that if my iPod decided it really hated me, it should play the following songs from that list the next time I’m on a nice, long downhill:
- “Hurt (Nine Inch Nails cover),” Johnny Cash
- “Loser,” Beck
- “Under the Milky Way,” the Church
- “Round Here,” Counting Crows
- “Baby Got Back (Sir Mix a Lot cover),” Jonathan Coulton
- “Superstar (Carpenters cover),” Sonic Youth
- “Pennyroyal Tea (Live),” Nirvana
I am curious as to what songs you have on your PMP (that’s “Personal Media Player” for all you non-tech-savvy people) that you dread having turn up right as you’re turning down.
As long as I’m at it, though, here are the seven songs on my “One Good Gig” playlist I would most like to get shuffled into play during a downhill:
- “Renegades of Funk,” Rage against the Machine
- “Don’t Take Me for Granted,” Social Distortion. (As an aside here, I’d like to proclaim that this is my favorite song from my favorite album from my favorite band. This song is the archetype for straight-ahead rock and roll.)
- “Under My Thumb (Rolling Stones Cover),” Social Distortion
- “Uncontrollable Urge (Live Version),” Devo
- “Nice Guys Finish Last,” Green Day
- “Whisper to a Scream,” Icicle Works
- “Bad Reputation,” Joan Jett
Also, as a note to myself, I need to do a post about the hardware I’m using to listen to music when riding nowadays, because I believe it may in fact be the most perfect solution for cyclists possible.
I Contemplate Cheating
After climbing up Clark’s, there’s a mostly-downhill stretch of dirt fire road connecting you to Ghost Falls. As I rode along it my second time, I noticed something on the left: new trail — which I hope will be named “J-Line” — has been cut. I already knew that it empties back into Ghost — about two-thirds of the way down.
I had not ridden that trail yet. And I was sorely tempted.
It looked soft and would probably have been slower than taking the route I was on. And it would have been clearly a disqualifying event to head down it.
So I didn’t.
Which means, I’m pretty sure, that my priorities are screwed up.
Defiance of Physics
After climbing Clark’s and descending Ghost Falls, the race course had us doing a short little loop of Singletrack I call “Last Dance” (I’m not aware of whether it has an official name) because it’s generally the last thing we ride before finishing the ride.
Last Dance starts with a climb, and then drops down to the main Corner Canyon artery trail.
It’s that climb that boggles me. For some reason, it’s the easiest climb in the world. Even though my legs are cooked from a hard climb and working descent, I seem to just float up that climb. It only lasts a minute or two, but — even on the second lap of a race, where I was fully out of gas — I zipped right up it.
Later, I asked Dug if he noticed the same thing. He did.
It’s a climb that rides like a downhill. Weird. And wonderful.
I am not, generally, an intense person. But I am when I race. I take each and every race very seriously. So I finished the race pushing myself as hard (albeit much much slower) as when I started, and kept looking over my shoulder to the very end.
Reaching my truck without Dug in sight, I hurriedly put my bike up on the rack, took off my helmet, got out a drink, folded down the truck bed’s gate, and sat down, doing my best to look like I wasn’t in danger of throwing up.
A few minutes later, Dug rolled through the parking lot, no-handed and casual. We sat and talked for a while, while Dug picked off the dozens of caterpillars that had accumulated on his jersey.
Now, the next morning, my throat is still raw from two hours of open-mouthed hyperventilating. I have a hard time walking down stairs. And I find myself worried at the prospect of this afternoon’s group ride to the summit of the Alpine Loop, especially since I told Jill she could borrow my geared road bike; I’ll ride my singlespeed road bike.
Oh, what am I worried about? I’ll be fine. I’m sure it won’t turn into a race.
Here is a universally-understood cycling axiom:
- Any time two or more cyclists of approximately equal ability share a ride, that ride will become an impromptu race.
And here are the universally-understood corollaries to that axiom:
- At no point shall any party to that race state that a race is about to begin.
- At no point shall any party to that race acknowledge that a race is in progress.
- After the race, the loser shall decide whether to acknowledge the winner’s superiority, or to instead make a lame excuse.
- If the loser makes a lame excuse, the winner shall treat the aforementioned excuse as implicit acknowledgment of the loser’s loss, and may in fact treat said excuse as more valid than an explicit admission of the winner’s superiority.
All those axioms and corollaries go out the window now, though. Here’s how it happened.
Last Sunday evening, I texted Dug, letting him know that due to the rain, I was seriously considering on bailing on the race at Corner Canyon the following morning. It just seemed unlikely that the trails were going to be good, and I didn’t want to pay $40 to ride trails I ride all the time anyway, albeit with much fewer people on the trail and with the trail not being a muddy mess.
I then admitted something: the only reason I was interested in the race at all was because I wanted to see who is faster: him or me.
Dug admitted he was curious about the same thing. (More about the reasons for our shared curiosity in a moment.)
So I proposed something I have never proposed before, in the history of my entire cycling life: how about — once the trails dried out — he and I race the originally-proposed Draper race course (with some minor modifications to remove the parts he and I agreed were strictly for traffic control and hence didn’t apply to us).
In fact, I don’t believe I can recall any instance of any two cyclists agreeing before the start of any ride that the ride was actually more than an “easy day,” and was in fact really a race. With an agreed-upon start and finish line, and contingencies for a tie (no finish line sprint, since our finish line is on the far side of a busy street — so if we’re together when we get to the street, it’s a tie).
But Dug agreed. So today, after work, he and I are duking it out. Two laps, Draper race course.
We’re going to find out which of us, right at this moment, is the less pathetic of the two.
Why We’re Interested In This Race
Dug and I have been riding together for 15+ years. Yeah, really: 15 or more. And at any given moment, we both had a clear idea of which of us was the faster of the two.
For the first few years, Dug was much, much faster than I was, both in climbing and descending.
Starting in my fourth or fifth year of riding, though, I got serious about climbing and became the faster of the two of us in climbs, although still lagging far behind in descending skills.
And that’s the way it’s been for several years.
This year, though, Dug’s outridden me or at least matched me on more than one climb. For example, he demolished me at RAWROD — not just in the climbs, but altogether. In our most recent road ride together, I was unable to shake him in the climb.
But that’s not the only change.
A switch has flipped in my brain and this year I’m finally at near-parity with my friends in descending speed. Part of that’s due to my owning some exquisite bikes. Part of it’s due to my finally having internalized some lessons BotchedExperiment taught me a couple years ago. Part of it has to do with my having found that I am about ten times more confident in my braking when I single-finger brake with my middle finger on the lever.
In any case, I can mostly hang with Dug on the descents, now. Or at least not lose major time.
In other words, for the first time in years and years, I don’t think Dug nor I would be confident in calling the outcome of this race.
And that is why it must happen.
Points of Consideration
Dug and I each have riding strengths and weaknesses. We’ve been riding together long enough that I’m sure he knows everything I’m going to list here (though I am terrified he is holding something in reserve that I don’t know):
- Dug is a slow starter: Dug takes a while to get his motor going. I have an easy opportunity to get to the long singletrack climb (Clark’s Trail: about 13 minutes at our rate) before he does, after which it will be difficult for him to pass me.
- I run hot off the start line: I am blessed / plagued with massive amounts of adrenaline at the beginning of a race, and I will fly off the start line, apparently without effort.
- Dug is a strong finisher: In every race I have ever seen him, Dug seems to become less tired as the race progresses.
- I fade badly: If I don’t manage to rein myself in at the beginning of the race, I often find myself all out of matches long before the race is over.
- Dug is a better tactician: Dug will often think about race strategy during the race. He will make actual judgement calls and everything. I, on the other hand, tend to be a little bit…um…stupid in my race strategies. As in, I ride really hard until I can’t, at which point I slow down a lot.
In other words, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where I shoot off the front, thinking I’m winning for 75% of the race, only to have Dug pass me right after we climb “The Wall” for the second time and I have gone into survival mode.
What is at Stake
Since neither Dug nor I did early registration for the Draper race, we now each have a theoretical surplus of $39. The winner gets the losers race registration money.
But both of us know that the money is the least of what’s at stake.
And later this afternoon, we’ll — once again — know which of us is faster.
I’d like to go on record as saying that I would like it to be me.
As a person who is not a famous and award-winning blogger, you almost certainly spend more than half your waking hours wondering what it must be like to be me.
I can understand that. I can respect it. I can even sympathize, because I once found myself wondering what it would be like to be someone besides me, and you know what happened? I started thinking about what it must be like to be me.
Well, in order to satisfy your (completely justifiable) curiosity, today I’m going to give you a little peek into a dilemma I am currently working out.
You see, as a very famous, beloved, and award-winning blogger, I make a ton of money. Seriously, it’s just ridiculous. I mean, when I got into blogging I knew that it was lucrative, but really, I had no idea I’d be making money hand-over-fist like this.
As a result, each month I have given myself a monthly $30,000 allotment for bicycles and bicycle-related equipment.
And that’s where the hard part comes in.
For the month of June, I am thinking of focusing on road bikes. I am hence faced with a difficult dilemma: what should I spend my $30,000 on? I have narrowed it down to doing one of two things:
I could use my $30,000 to buy a fleet of high-end road bikes, including all of the following:
This leaves me with $1500 for upgrades. And let’s face it, there would be upgrades. That said, I think you might agree with me that this would be a fine road stable, and should keep me quite happy, at least for this month.
However, I can’t help but think that instead of buying four absolute beyond-dream bikes, I should perhaps buy this:
Yes, this is the Factor 001: For the serious athlete! And by the way, that “for the serious athlete” and the accompanying exclamation point is straight from the company site, which can mean only two things:
- This bike is for serious athletes.
- This company is very excited about the fact that this bike is for serious athletes.
I can’t help but be drawn to the Factor 001. For one thing, since it costs $28,000 (base model), I wouldn’t have to spend all that time — and time is money (and in my case, time is a lot of money!) after all — purchasing and fitting those other four bikes.
Also, the Factor 001 is not just any bike. No. It’s a virtual cycling lab, containing these very exciting features, which I am taking straight from the press release and then interpreting:
- Unique ergonometric data collection, logging and analysis capabilities: This means the cyclocomputer is included.
- Biometric, physical force and environmental data harvested simultaneously: This means the included cyclocomputer also measures watts. And, evidently, knows which way the wind is blowing and if it’s raining.
- Huge technology transfer potential to other sporting environments: This means they ran out of ideas for the bullet list, but didn’t want it to just have two items.
What they don’t list as a feature — but which I fully expect is included considering the price — is that the bike actually uses all this data to tell you how you’re doing. For example, if I’m not really applying myself, it might say, “I’m sorry, Fatty, but you don’t seem to be as serious an athlete as you ought to be.” Because, as noted, this bike is for serious athletes. Oops, I mean: serious athletes!
This $28,000 (or in my case, $30,000, because I plan to get the upgraded saddle) bike also has a very exciting feature: all new componentry. This is really good news, because I’ve been thinking lately that the scores of years and millions of dollars of research Campagnolo, Shimano, and (sure, let’s include it) SRAM have spent simply haven’t resulted in reliable, honed, time-tested parts. What I need is a bike that uses completely new and proprietary — albeit strikingly similar to what already exists — bike parts, designed by a car company.
Oh, and also I want the bike to weigh at least a pound more than any road bike that costs a fifth as much, and I want it to not be legal to race. Because, as you know, it’s silly to expect your training bike to have similar weight and handling characteristics to your race bike.
Above all, though, is the look of this bike. Pure elegance. Nothing says “sexy” to me quite like a lot of rectangles.
And that fork: ooh la la!
As you’ve no doubt guessed, I’ve made up my mind: I’m getting the Factor 001. The other bikes…well, they can wait ’til next month, I guess.
Unless I decide to use next month’s $30,000 to get that matching Arantix and Ascend I’ve had my eye on.
A Note from Fatty: This is the fifth in a series of who-knows-how-many posts about racers experiences with what I am now certain will be the annual 100 Miles of Nowhere. If you’re just now re-joining the blog after a long weekend, you may want to read previous posts to catch up. And if you were a racer and want to get your certificate, be sure to read this post, which gives instructions on what you need to do.
Another Note from Fatty: The Kona Cadabra contest is now over. This evening I will do all the necessary spreadsheet magic (more work than you might think), choose, and notify a winner.
You’ll be excited to note that when we began this drawing, we had raised $197K for the LAF. We have now raised $230K. That’s $33,000 in one week!
Thanks so much for your donations and work in raising money to fight cancer.
Ryan T: Riding Part of the Course on a Big Wheel Division
Ryan is a friend of mine from way back. When I first started riding, Ryan had most-trusted-mechanic status. He’s moved on to other things and it’s been a while since we’ve ridden together, so it meant a lot to me to see that he did the 100 Miles of Nowhere.
I was even more pleased that he did the final lap on his Trek Mod — an adult-sized Big Wheel, basically.
From what I understand, Ryan and his friends now do night descents down Squaw Peak (the same descent where Kenny turfed it a couple years ago) on their Mods. I am evidently invited to joint them sometime. I just have to bring my own light setup.
I admit trepidation. But also intrigue.
Read all of Ryan’s race report on his blog.
Bruce B: Extra Mileage Division
Bruce had the outstanding idea of turning his race into a fundraiser, with the promise he’d do extra miles for extra donations. So he rode 111 miles on the block surrounding Heritage Park on Randolph Air Force Base.
One of his co-workers ran a half-marathon opposite him–so they saw each other about a zillion times.
You can read the complete report — including a torrential downpour, visits from friends, and contemplations on a dead bird he passed 120 times at Bruce’s site.
Jon S: On the Road, But Still Going Nowhere Division
Jon didn’t want to miss the great riding weather Saturday, so decided to take his rollers on the road:
Here’s Jon riding the rollers up Squaw Peak:
Almost made it…
And now, on the flats as he goes around Utah Lake, he’s just flying:
Says Jon, “I cheated and took off all the resistance (and pumped up my tires nice and firm) so I could lock in a hard gear and ride like mad.” Jon finished in 3:36:20, with a 27.7mph average. Nice!
I’m a little concerned about the fact that he chose not to wear a helmet, however.
Michael M: Internally Geared Hub Pugsley Division
After dropping my son off at the dayhome, I headed home to gather up my gear and head out and see how far I could push my Pugsley in a day. My plan was to ride around the neighborhood and map all of the streets and alleys within 1 km of home with my GPS. However, I couldn’t find my GPS. I searched the house several times but to no avail (I did later convince myself that the number of times I did those stairs should count for 2 km). No worries though, I know the loop at the local park is 8 km long and it’s a 2 km long downhill jaunt to get there.
Prior to taking off, I decided to weigh my bike and associated gear (snacks, gatorade, water, rain gear) to see how much weight I’d be pedaling today. It came in at an even 50 lbs! (Is there an additional category for heaviest bike?)
I got the usual stares associated with riding 4″ tires, but I think some people were just curious why they kept seeing me over and over again. If they’d asked, I’m not sure what I would have told them. I returned home at the 52 mile (read: km) mark for some lunch. Cold leftover pizza and chocolate bars, a true meal of champions. After watching the beginning of The Dirty Dozen, I returned to the Pug and the seemingly endless loop through Edworthy Park. By mile 70 (km) I started to think my newish Brooks saddle was finally broken in (I later concluded that the nerves in my @ss were just numbed).
I returned home at mile marker 98 (km), tired and aching, but not too bad. Good thing I had those 2 km of stairs earlier to top me up to 100 km! I told myself I could push for 100 miles, but I had to cut it off there as it was time to pick up my son again (I also had several other excuses at the ready in case I needed more convincing). I know 100 km is well short of 100 miles, but I figure I’m not selling myself short since my tires are at least 4 times the width of most other bikes in this race, and my bike weighed in at what is likely twice the racer average.
My overall time (minus lunch) was approximately 4.5 hours. I credit my win to selecting a category requiring an obscure bike that is likely the least desirable long distance road bike ever created (and I knew that Jill Homer was like 3000 miles away from her Pugsley).
Denville, NJ Tag-Team Division
Team Phillips, riding in the Denville NJ division, were split between two categories. Mrs. Team Phillips, an amateur by her own admission, was riding in the women’s not-quite-40-by-mere-days category. Mr. Team Phillips was competing in the men’s more-than-40-but-nowhere-near-50-thank-you-very-much category.
Mrs. Team Phillips, while fully committed to this event, was not able to complete a full century, but did ride for 2.5 hours (3.5 hours total elapsed time). She admitted to “feeling weepy” near the end of the ride, saying “I was becoming physically whipped, my blood sugar was low, and besides, watching ER (the TV show) always does that to me.”
Despite the fact that legally she did not finish the race, the rules were consulted… and it turns out there were no rules. Congratulations go out to Mrs. Team Phillips for her gutsy win. In her post-race interview, she specifically thanked Fat Cyclist for dreaming up this insane concept, her husband, Mr. Team Phillips, for buying her the trainer (which can now be found on Craigslist for $12), and especially to DZNuts, for “not being specifically formulated for the male anatomy.”
Mr. Team Phillips was confident he could complete all 100 miles, but in his own words, “not on some [expletive deleted] trainer”. To his credit, it was quite a beautiful day in northwest NJ, and he took full advantage of the regularly scheduled shop ride to complete the 37 mile first stage of the race. The second stage was 19 laps on a 3.4 mile loop, with minimal climbing (although steep, requiring him to get out of the saddle on every loop), beautiful scenery, and the warm spring sun (resulting in a distinctive cyclist’s tan by the end of the day).
Although Mr. Team Phillips provided his own support (drinks, food, gels, and even an extra bike), he did get some additional support and photographic assistance from his friend Jay, who even rode along for 6 laps. Total riding time for both stages was 5 hours 50 minutes, with an average speed of 17.3 mph.
Without question, Mr. Team Phillips was the clear champion of his more-than-40-but-nowhere-near-50-thank-you-very-much category. In his post race interview, he muttered something unintelligible about “the alpacas” and thanked his wife, Mrs. Team Phillips, for encouraging him to sign up for this particular brand of torture.
Team Phillips celebrated with a nap, a hot shower, and a lovely dinner at a local Italian restaurant, where “scads” of pasta and bread were consumed. In reflecting on their respective wins, the members of Team Phillips were united in their emphatic statement: “This was never about us, it was about all the people who are fighting the good fight against cancer. We are just glad we were able to partipate in some small way in this battle. WIN Susan!”
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