Monday, June 22, 2009

Livestrong - Father's Day 2009

While standing in line at the first rest stop waiting for the normal fluid exchange routine, I struck up a conversation with a young woman. "Nice day for a ride. Heard we've got some hills in front of us..,' that sort of thing. Then, I explained I was riding in honor of my brother-in-law Tony, who passed away last March 15, and whose daughter was having her high-school graduation party today on Father's Day. The young woman then told me that she was riding to honor of her Dad, and choked up.

Lots of those moments today. Riders who were cancer survivors, (“Ten Years, Given No Chance!”), riders honoring their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends, husbands, wives, partners…..

Yes, it was a great ride on a tough course, well described here by Lisa and the mysterious RiderX. Yes, it was a typical Seattle June day, with clouds, a shower or two, and more headwinds than tailwinds. Yes, the course was well-marked and the rest stops staffed with friendly and helpful volunteers.

But the event started the day before at the packet pickup, where you had to be impressed with the Livestrong organization, all the volunteers in yellow, and those who kept coming in and filling out the cards ‘In Honor Of….’ and ‘In Memory Of…’

Because I had joined Team Fatty to add the totals of those who donated in support of Tony to a larger group, I was invited to the Fundraising Appreciation Dinner, where I caught up with friends Claudia and Shaun, plus met the Petersons and Fat Cyclists, all of whom shared the motto, Win Susan! The guest of honor was Lance’s oncologist, Craig Nichols, who took questions from the MC, Betty Otter-Nickerson of the LAF.

The highlight of the evening was when Steven Peterson led Team Fatty to the podium to be honored for most fundraising dollars, most fundraising members, and highest individual donor. We watch the video from Fatty Himself, Elden Nelson, who is not Stanley Tucci, and then heard from Steve’s brother, Scott, cancer survivor. Inspiring, and what a way to get you focused for the main event the next morning.

Congratulations, Team Fatty! from Fat Cyclist on Vimeo.

Started from home early (5:45) to get to Seattle Center in time for the line up and the 7:00 a.m. start. Dan the Man Wilson blew the start horn and we were off, down 2nd, no wait, 5th Avenue (slightly off track, but what a way to start), through downtown and onto the I-90 onramp to head east in the Express Lanes through the tunnel, across the Lake and then for the circumnavigation of Mercer Island. From there, it was Bellevue, then points east, including past Squak Mountain, to Issaquah, and up the infamous Montreaux Hill. Halfway up the monster, I stopped for water and to suck in some badly-needed oxygen. The Sag Wagon stopped and asked how I was doing, probably to see if I needed help. I told them, “This is why they call this a challenge!” Up to the top, to by met by Beelzebub, and then downhill to Newcastle and around the south end of the lake.

At the end there’s a relatively easy way to get back downtown, through the I-90 bike tunnel, but why do the easy thing when this is a challenge, not just a pleasure ride. Up and over the ridge to Yesler we rode slowly as the thighs burned. The Bleriot, with its granny gears and big rear cassette performed like a champ throughout.

Finally, got back to Seattle Center, and was met by Cynthia and Max, as wonderful a father’s day present as any Dad ever received. I had a hamburger, Cynthia drove home, and I napped, with my best dog by my side.
Thanks to all who supported me, and donated in honor of Tony and others. And, thanks to the Livestrong Challenge folks for organizing such an amazing event!

1 comment:

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

That photo of you and your dog sums up how I expect to feel after the San Jose ride...happy and exhausted! Great ride!