Monday, April 26, 2010

The View from the Saddle: Ovarian Cycle 100-Mile Ride!


Very happy, totally recovered cyclist here reporting in!

Ovarian Cycle Saturday was an amazing experience. I've never done anything so exhausting and yet with such an emotional high. What a day!!
 
Registration at the host gym opened early and we were greeted with a terrific goodie bag with an awesome T-shirt, towel, a bike jersey (if you'd raised above a certain amount of $$), a lot of coupons and a fabulous "Hope and Promise" makeup kit from L'Oreal (the event's major sponsor and a huge supporter of ovarian cancer research).  The event room was a huge, 2-story-high basketball court with an indoor track circling the ceiling level and six racquetball courts "ringing" the room at the floor level. There were almost 200 cyclists riding the whole 100 miles in our event, and the event staff had tied a balloon to each bike.  Most teams had creatively decorated their bikes, too. Our team had attached bouquets of beautiful silk springtime flowers onto the front our bikes and we’d tied teal ribbon bows onto our handlebars. I can't tell you how festive and really thrilling that gigantic fleet of bikes looked! Everywhere there were floating teal, pink and white balloons, and banners with each team's "Honor Roll" lists, a giant Ovarian Cycle sign and huge silver stars on the walls symbolizing the fact that this event was helping women "reach for the stars" in the search for reliable early detection tests and cures for all gynecological cancers.

I’m telling ya, this event was planned out to “T” and “I” perfection. 
Those volunteers really took care of us and were ready to do anything they could to make the ride more fun and comfortable for the cyclists. Throughout the day, they walked among the bikes while we were riding, bringing us fresh towels, picking up our trash and recyclables, and offering us water, Gatorade, PowerAde, orange slices, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches, crackers, power gels and energy bars. And one of the adjacent racquetball courts was filled with tables of water, drinks and food, too --- available not only to riders but also to family and friends who came to watch and cheer, so in addition to the performance food that the cyclists would prefer to grab there were brownies, pizza, chocolate chip cookies and all sorts of other treat foods. While I wouldn't ever plan on doing an all-day ride this way, you could theoretically have shown up with your clothes and shoes and been A-okay on food and hydration. The provisions were THAT generous.

Along the back wall there were also silent auction tables -- lots of very cool stuff -- and there was a masseuse doing complimentary 10-minute neck and shoulder massages. Ahhhhhhhh!

We started our ride at 9:00 sharp, and the day was basically formatted like 6 hours of spin class. We had a different instructor each hour, and 5-minute breaks once an hour to dash to the potty, change clothes, eat, fill water bottles, stretch, etc. Almost all of the music rocked, the instructors were great, and there was a lot of variety in the ride -- even if the scenery didn't change much. :-) We did seated and standing sprints, jumps, seated climbs, standing climbs, etc. Just about the only thing we didn't do that's a "regular" item in spin class was anything really slow and heavy, and I’m sure that's because to hit our mileage goal we needed to be riding pretty fast all day. Each instructor set the pace for us, and if you kept up, I think you'd have been pedaling at an average of around 15 to 18 mph, with sprints thrown in here and there.

The day ended with Eminem's "Lose Yourself" -- what a great cycling song — and that last couple of minutes was unbelievably emotional. My sweet hubby and DS #1 a/k/a Journey Boy came for the last 30 minutes and stood with a lot of other riders' family and friends on the sidelines, cheering us on. Looking around me, I could see that every single rider in the room had found one last ounce of legs and wind for that last song, and we were all standing out of the saddle, hill-climbing on cadence with that thumpin' bass beat at a pretty hefty resistance -- heaviest of the day for me! -- and singing at the top of our lungs. As the song ended we were all whooping and high-fiving. Then they played “We Are the Champions” and we shouted out that chorus together while we cooled down. The lump in my throat was the size of a baseball.

All day long there were photographers snapping shots of the ride, so I will post some pictures when they become available.  (The picture shown here is from the 2009 event held in the same facility, just to give you a "flavor".) But trust me, you do NOT want to see pictures (nor do I want to show pictures!) from the last hour or two — all of us were soaked through and looking bedraggled by then, and I had lost count of the number of bandannas I’d gone thru. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready for a hot shower, y’all.  I scrubbed and shampooed and held my face under that wonderful spray until the hot water ran completely out!

I am so, so proud to have been part of this awesome event. I raised more than $3,200 for ovarian cancer research -- can you believe it?? -- and finished the biggest athletic challenge of my life feeling strong and like I could have kept going.  Unbelievable for this little middle-aged mama!

Thank you all again so much for everything you did to encourage and support me. It means more to me than I can express, and I’m incredibly grateful. I'll definitely do this Ovarian Cycle ride again next year, and if OC’s doing a ride anywhere near your city I encourage you to give it a try. You can write to me and I’ll walk you through a training and nutrition schedule. And I promise you will thank me!!!  :-)

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4 comments:

  1. Lose Yourself is a fantastic spin song

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  2. Congratulations on this major accomplishment! I walked the Avon walk for breast cancer two springs ago so I can understand all that you are feeling! The amount of support from the staff and the "fans" is amazing! You've done such a good thing and your recap of the day brought tears to my eyes! Well done, Kathy, I am so proud of you!

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  3. Cripes, I spin for an hour three times a week, but I could never manage that, well done!

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