Friday, July 01, 2005

SCOOPED!

It’s true, I have been rather amiss in posting and was intending on finally sitting down to write my MS Tour de Farms experience and link to the pictures I received yesterday. Being the magnanimous person I am, I sent the link to the team (well, okay I really just wanted everyone to see the infamous "Body Glide Moment"). Optimistically, I thought I could make it home from Bosco's this morning, post, link and "TA-DA!" Unfortunately, someone beat me to the velvet rope and spoiled my surprise!

Well, here are the pictures and I'll follow it up with my own little tale of the weekend!

FRIDAY 6/24
It was a very hectic pre-tour day for your narrator as in addition to normal rider queries, "Should I pack the red bandana or the green one?" I had my Assistant Captain (or Ass-Cap as it were ;) duties to perform and one large orangutan of a freelance gig to finally kick to the curb.

Quitting my job proved to be more involved than I had anticipated; my 1pm departure quickly became 1:45pm. It was sweet, despite the management’s botching of my termination and mandate I tell NO ONE (as of this morning no official notice has been sent out!) my co-workers, upon hearing the sad news STILL dashed out somewhere to gather a card and a stunning bouquet of tulips. It's nice to be recognized for a job well done!

A quick dash home in 95° heat commenced, Tulips, Desk Accessories and Bosco (who I picked up at the bus stop) in tow. The next crisis was the acquisition of a proper pair of cycling gloves as mine had shredded themselves an early grave. A plea for a ride in the heat from El Capitano was denied, "You have 30min at least!" This was quickly eaten up, as a 2-mile roundtrip trek in blistering heat is not a journey of speed. Sure enough, El Capitano was 2 blocks from my apartment upon our return. Speed packing commenced; Water for Tulips, Food for Kitty and I managed everything except my last minute deep breath and check...this is something I always do, and it will become obvious later why!

Off to Aurora we sped, and by sped I mean crawled through the weekend traffic of Taste of Chicago, Pride '05 and who knows what else was churning in the city! We did get 3 urban carwashes on the way to the freeway, I was happy that the gunfire in those related neighborhoods was cooled as well (something unnerving about driving by a "This is a NON-shooting House" sign). It was soon after this that the earth-shattering news was discovered. I FORGOT MY BIB NUMBER! Sure enough, neglecting the last minute check had left my number languishing away, alone on my desk. A freak-out fest began, as well as some choice words between me and El Capitano; thankfully Bosco has an excellent sense of humor and settled back, virtual popcorn in hand to watch the show. Against my better judgment, it was decided to send team members A and T to get the errant numeral on their way out of town. We later found out, as I suspected, that a whole new number kit would have been issued to me at the ride. D'OH!

A peaceful evening commenced; unloading, reloading, getting those attractive yellow bracelets attached to everyone...it was easy to overlook the atrocious dinner...WHAT IS it with the Friday night dinner? Last year's ride featured a closed kitchen and a whole lot of blonde jiggle flaunting NASCAR tickets. This year had food, it was late, or wrong, or extra...but it was food. I'm bringing takeout in a cooler next year!

SATURDAY 6/25
Despite a pretty early alarm, (at 4:30) we still managed to be late and miss our team picture; tardiness seems to be a challenge for some of the team and the captains didn't bring cattle prods with this year.... I did grab one at the Fleet and Farm in Sycamore, so watch out next year!

The ride began with very little hullabaloo, and soon we had completed the first 10miles to the Kaneville rest stop. I actually thought "Hey, this is kinda easy...maybe I COULD do 100miles?" Silly me. We hit the next two rest stops in quick succession, pulling into Sandwich, IL around 10:30 for a SANDWICH of all things. The team also witnessed B getting it on with the Body Glide which proved for limitless quips at poor B's expense...hey, I never heard him bitch about being chaffed!

Leaving Sandwich, and my last happy memories for a while, we took off for Rollo. I attempted to keep pace with several of our faster riders, and quickly lost that campaign. In mere seconds, it seemed that the climes had suddenly morphed from just a little warm and humid to blast furnace levels...and I was the pig iron! This 16.6 mile stretch was the longest we were asked to trek without a rest stop; foolishly I had not checked my map and only had 1 water bottle on me. This ran out at mile 10. The delirium and nausea of heat exhaustion started to set in as I blindly sought an end to this self-induced agony. One reprehensible farmer was actually SELLING water...not that it would have helped me as there was no point to carry cash on the ride, a lot of nasty words in his direction for trying to profit off a charity ride! I pressed on with everything I had, following a trio of nurses from Evanston Hospital to keep my legs churning. It also seemed prudent to have witnesses when my body fell off the bike and rolled into one of the adjacent cornfields. Mere moments after I was about to pull over for a SAG, the familiar orange flag appeared over the horizon to wave us into the Rollo rest stop. I teetered in, more under gravity than my own power, threw my bike at El Capitano who had already arrived and announced "I'm going to go puke now!" This was a tad melodramatic in hindsight, as it only took 20min under the mist hose, a SnoCone, 4 bottles of water, 3 bottles of Gatorade, a PowerBar, a PowerGel, 5 wet bandannas full of ice and a cup full of Goldfish crackers to recover. Setting off once more, I picked the moderate pace of some of our team and forced myself to follow them. My need for speed had contributed toward my previous calamity and I WOULD NOT BE SAG'd! This modest speed continued until Elva, the last rest stop before the finish. Then, I went chasing rabbits. My fellow teammate DB was also craving some velocity and he provided an excellent Lepus Cyclistica for me to hunt all the way to DeKalb.

Camp was thankfully rockin' upon my arrival; all the tents were upright and the hops were on ice...I could only wistfully look though, mind said "BEER!" body said "WATER!". We showered and ate in the college cafeteria, which brought some folks back to their colligate days; my cafeteria was 5million times better and if this is what the rest of the undergrads were eating, I feel your pain! The anti-climactic nature of the evening continued as we all proceeded to pass out in our own little tents. It remained a peaceful campground until about 3am when a windstorm whipped through the prairie, thankfully we were spared the rain as most tents were lacking in tarps and rain shields. The whole team commented on the shaking of their tent walls and wailing of the gale force winds.... except Bosco, our beloved tent-setting-cabana-boy had slept through the whole thing!

SUNDAY 6/26
A late start (WHAT IS it with the dilatory nature of this team?!) contributed to my succumbing to the 35mile option instead of the recommended 75mile course. While I am grateful to my team for talking my off that ledge, thus allowing me to complete the Tour under the power of my own wheels with no SAG's or injuries, I was melancholy at settling for an MS110 instead of MS150. Sulking, I followed the passive pace and had an easy and fairly enjoyable ride. Crossing the finish line seemed bittersweet as it was a far cry from my initial goal of 175miles, (wildly unrealistic) and didn't even muster 150miles (realistic, but I was unprepared). A low-key afternoon was spent getting my medal, meal and massage (mmmm, massage) and waiting for our 75-milers to get in. T and L arrived first and considerably later B and D roared up (considerably long enough to get sunburned shoulders, OUCH!) looking at them both covered in sweat and looking pretty threadbare did ease my mind about my lessened mileage, but only slightly. The team quickly dispersed and a placid ride back to the city lulled me to sleep.

Overall, it was a really wonderful opportunity and quite fun. I am already anxious to make it even better next year...complete with 150miles.

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