Pelotonia has come and gone. After my tailbone injury slowing my training I had to cut the 180 mile ride back to 102. Even this length would be 40 miles longer than any ride I had completed. The lack of training for ten weeks showed me how much can be lost during that time as I was no longer able to keep up with my teammates on our training rides. I was often finding myself blown trying desperately to keep up. Confidence had been shattered. Women wept. Children were forced to work in factories making miniature statues of small children that were forced to work in factories. There I was at the top of a hill without hope, when Squirrel said the most inspiring thing. “Body massage.”
I kept going. After all I was doing things I had never been able to do before, and I stuck with the training that I had to do that Squirrel set out for me. The 20 mile rides quickly turned in to 40 mile rides. Then two 60 mile rides finished my training. I was as ready as I could be.
I got to Pelotonia early Friday afternoon and seeing how many people were flowing in I quickly jumped in to the registration line. After meeting numerous volunteers who were more than happy to misspell my last name I had a fancy looking box and stickers with my name. Off to find my teammates for a picture. Not that way. Or that way. The other, other way. After the photographer was able to make me look like a more virile Justin Beiber we grabbed some dinner and relaxed before the concert. The Counting Crows! After hearing them play an incredible cover of Mr. Jones I went home to get a good night sleep before the ride.
Team Speranza at Pelotonia 10.
Saturday morning. My first thought was to feed the pirate. My second thought was America! Fuck Yeah! My third thought was to find a rest room. After sharing the pirate’s liter box I prepared a healthy pre-ride breakfast. Bacon and hookers. I followed breakfast by donning my lycra battle armor and went to pick up Squirrel. He asked me to keep a look out for his black cat. In the dark. At balls-early o’clock.
After parking we quickly found the rest of the team. Shortly afterward some lady started shining a bright light in our faces. I would of punched her, but I had this feeling like I was being video tapped…..When they were ready to start us all off they started us off. Holy crap! There are four thousand people on a bike in a small space trying to walk their bikes in to each other. Pretty sure that could be a sport in itself. Or at least an adventure on the next episode of America’s Top Model.
I was amazed by how many people were out to cheer us on for the entire route. Incredible! So many signs of well wishing and inspirational quotes. There was one missing that I’d suggest they put out next year. “I ride so I never have to climb Starner again.” I expect Tom to get on that. Volunteers everywhere being extremely helpful. Officers of the law everywhere to keep us safe. Fortunately none of them recognized me in my lycra battle armor.
Lots of pedaling. I found success in trying to pedal with my right leg half of the time, and my left leg the other half. As I was rolling in to Amanda for lunch I had fallen behind the team from the wind but started realizing how well I was getting over the hills there. Hills that normally did me in. I was feeling good even as that one guy on a bicycle tried to run in to me at the Amanda finish line. What did he think this was? Rollerball? Amateur.
After a delicious lunch I downed my special blend of cocaine, speed, and crank. The pros would be proud. Shortly after lunch I successfully walked Starner hill. All the nice folks that live on that hill came out to watch us crazy people walk bikes up their road. Very touching. Going down the other side was where I could let my special physical abilities shine.
Around the 70 mile mark my legs were starting to get tired. The rain was making it slick, and I had a real hard time seeing through the drops on my glasses. I remember climbing to the top of a hill and telling Squirrel my quads were blown. And then I kept pedaling till the finish line. The farther I went the better I felt.
We crossed the finish line as a team. What an incredible feeling! I choked up a bit. Honest! And that’s an incredible amount of emotion coming from me, the guy who thought Ghost was a comedy. I completed my first century ride! People tell me I looked tired. Shocking. I felt much better than I looked. Eight months ago my longest ride was 18 miles, and two of those months were spent riding an ice pack on the couch.
Personal health goals aside it was such an honor to ride to help fight cancer for my family, for my friends, and for my teammates. Not to mention everyone else who has been impacted by cancer. I was able to raise $1,500 and helped my team raise over $30,000. Inspiring! Now we have the chance to do even more next year. To push farther. To have more fun. To raise more money. To fight harder. To fuel hope.
I can’t wait.
Take care and funk on.