Last week, I finished my first 100 mile bike ride and raised $1,555 for cancer research. With all the riders, we raised over $1 million. It feels great to have been a part of it, and once again, I want to thank everyone who donated. My cancer is treatable because of donations like that, more on that later. Something else I’ll describe later is how I probably have to go on a diet after this ride.
For now, I’ll describe a bit a bit about the ride. I didn’t know what to expect because this was my first organized long ride. Before that, I cycled on my own a lot and ran some marathons. A long bike ride is different than a marathon because riders get spread out a lot more than runners. Looking back, makes sense because cyclists have a wider range of speed than runners, and cyclists go farther. That combination means there’s more time to increase the distance between fast and slow riders. I like that because the fast riders were so far in front of me that there wasn’t a chance I’d see them.
I did get to see a lot of the Minnesota countryside, though. I also enjoyed talking with other riders. I’ll let the pictures and captions tell that part of the story.
I took this before the race just to catch the “before ride” atmosphere, of two ordinary friends having a nice early-morning chat. I didn’t notice the prostetic leg until after the race. Maybe he lost the leg to cancer, maybe not. But he’s still an ordinary guy having nice chat.
This was a typical “before race” shot. It still feels odd to see myself in a cancer jersey, but after spending a 100 miles in that shirt, I’m getting used to it. I even like the way it looks.
The ride started out slow, on suburban streets. The riders spread out a lot soon after this picture.
This shows some more of the miles in suburbia, with less riders in sight.
This is one of the people I talked with for a while. He noticed my jersey since he’s doing some work with prostate cancer.
The guy from the previous picture pointed out some fields he hadn’t seen before, with no corn or beans. My guess is that they’re veggies & flowers grown by Homng, who I enjoy buying from at local farmer’s markets.
This was the first rest stop. It showed a very well organized ride. They had lots of treats, which made me think I might be gaining weight on this ride.
After the rest stop, we were back on long roads in farm country.
It was fun seeing small towns show up, reminded me of Holdingford and other towns where I grew up.
Another rest stop, with more treats.
I’ve stopped by this winery before. It has very nice wine, good thing it wasn’t a rest stop. Wine & bikes don’t mix, especially on long rides.
Sometimes, the trail became more remote, like that.
This was lunch, where I really started worrying about gaining weight.
Another picture from the same stop. I thought it was the normal lunch, but it turned out to be the “celebration meal” for the 50 mile cyclists. I was supposed to go to a much smaller, meal for the 100 mile cyclist going through. I didn’t see that tent until after leaving, honest!
The treats were REALLY good.
This was one treat I couldn’t enjoy, unfortunately.
This is Abby, who I met in the cycle shop at the U of M. She graduated weeks ago. I thought I’d never see her again, so it was fun seeing and cycling with her.
The countryside almost became routine.
Out of nowehere, something unique would show up.
This is one of the most ordinary pictures, but it’s also one of my favorites. It shows how distance cycling has moments where the road seems never to end, but eventually, it does, and something fun shows up.
More long roads, but I was almost done, so I started missing the ride.
This was the last hill before finishing.
The evening after the ride, my body ached when I bent much, but a day later, only my legs ached, when I cycled to work the next morning. I like to joke that I’m pretty fit, other than a bit of cancer.
That little health distraction is also moving on. For a couple of years, very good doctors and scanners haven’t been able to find my cancer. A couple of weeks ago, I had a special scan at the Mayo Clinic. They found something, but it was less clear than they hoped, so I’ll get another scan in a few weeks or months. I was really hoping to start my treatment in September, but now, it’ll be delayed. That’s disappointing, but it will allow me to try another 100 mile ride.
This one is in and around Itaska State Park, the starting point of the Mississippi. I haven’t spent much time in those woods for about 30 years, so it’ll be fun to see them again. If you want to learn about that ride, click here and keep watching this blog.