The bike is all shiny, the chain is sparkling, the tubes and nutrition is packed and my gear is laid out. Tomorrow I'm helping those dealing with diabetes by riding 100 miles for Tour de Cure. I should be sleeping (4:15 wake-up call) but I'm excited to ride with a great bunch of people. Diabetes is tough because it's chronic. Once someone finds out they have diabetes or are pre-diabetic the damage has been done. But, and that's a big but because the body knows how to heal itself. If we give it the right medicine, damage can be halted and even reversed. This my friends is why the Tour de Cure exists, because it brings attention to the disease. The more eyes and microscopes, the better chance we have of understanding it better. So tomorrow for me is a challenge of my body and my spirit. I could have chosen a shorter route, raised the same amount and had no problem with the distance. But it's important for me make this bigger than a just a ride. It's a ride for awareness and understanding. I'll be thinking about my family and those dealing with this disease. I've found there is an endless well to gather strength from in everything we care for.
It's been almost a year since I've ridden within a group. My handling skills have gotten better with the daily rides to campus. The long rides in aero work my core where I'm sore the next day and I'm stable in all the hand positions though I will miss resting on my aero bars. I took them off because it's not safe to use them in groups due to the reduced handling. I'm aiming for somewhere between six and seven hours, though a part of me wants sub-six. I crunched some numbers earlier;
14.1mph = 7 hours
16.5 mph = 6 hours
19.8 mph = 5 hours
My last ride was 67 miles with an average pace of 17 mph. Tomorrow there will be introductions and inquiries on speeds and goals for the ride. It would be fun to find a group to work with. Drafting is great for recuperating after hard efforts while maintaining a decent speed sitting in the middle or back of a pack. Around mile 62 there starts a 20 mile flat section until the next big climb. I'm predicting this will be the most challenging part of the course. At this point three serious climbs and four hours will have gone by. It would be nice to have someone to pass the time with. Either way it will be a big nutrition test. The stomach cannot digest enough calories to replace the ones being used. The goal is to ride at a level where fat is primarily being utilized so as to not fully deplete glycogen stores. In this case it means I'll probably put down about 1,000 calories from bananas, gels, Heed/Gatorade mix and PB&J sandwiches. And whatever the aid stations have. It will be a glorious feast.
It'll be fun getting down with my buds Saturday night. A celebratory IPA will be high on the agenda list post-ride. And of course a trip back to the folks house for some Mother's Day brunch. Gotta give mom the love she deserves. Get on out there and make some Vitamin D this weekend.