Monday, August 24, 2009

Livestrong Philly

Starting ride at miles from the start to beat the traffic.

I blame Lance mostly. Apparently the organizers of the Livestrong Challenge in Philly received the memo and created a truly challenging route. More than 6,000 participants lined up in staging areas anticipating the start of the days events.

My event began on the way to the ride’s start. Traffic along the route to the event was backed up for miles. I jumped out of the car at the first parking lot we could pull over at, grabbed the bike and rode 4 miles to the start. The traffic delayed the official start time by 30 minutes allowing most of the participants to arrive and get staged.

The first 30 miles of the ride were a crash-fest. Saturday night’s showers left the asphalt wet under some shady patches of road. The wet roads combined with tricky descents and hoards of riders equaled disaster for some. Before the first rest stop, I saw several riders on the side of the road picking up the pieces form wrecks. At one sloping downhill, a rider was lying in the ditch with a dozen riders ‘assisting.’ The ambulance crews were busy throughout the day.

Rounding another corner, I felt a wheel hit my rear wheel followed by the sound of metal on pavement. The rider behind me was paying attention to the course marshals directing traffic instead of the obstacle in her way (me). She wasn't injured physically.

The course was hilly one blogger called the area (p)hilly. Several climbs were measured at 16-19%. Cresting a steep ascent was often met with another before recover. I got a kick out of this and realized the true meaning of Livestrong Challenge. Thanks for the laugh Lance.

Cheer Squad.

Drum and fife at rest stop.

Philly is the City of Brotherly Love. Evidence was everywhere. All of the volunteers along the route were kind and helpful throughout the event. Along all of the steep climbs there were spectators cheering us on. They all seemed to be ringing a cowbell. “I got a fever…” Other friendly people were sitting on their porches offering cool refreshments and children had their lemonade stands ready for weary riders.

There were so many riders that were inspiring. Survivors and friends and family members riding in honor of a cancer patients or those lost. Many of the participants were not avid cyclists. They just had a desire to get on the road and do something challenging. They wore reminders on their jerseys or written on their legs. On the steepest climbs, these banners of courage gave me a lettle extra boost to reach the top.

An inspiring day.

Finished! Good's getting hot.