Wow! it’s been one crazy summer! I think you might be able to tell that because I’ve not updated my blog in months! (Many, many months!) So much has been happening over the past few months that I am not going to be able to talk about it all in one post, so I’ll focus on the MAJOR thing that I did this summer…
I think many of you know that my Mom has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, and my aunt had passed away (almost ten years ago now) from Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Ever since Mom got her diagnosis I’ve been donating to the Leukemia, Lymphoma Society (LLS), a not for profit organization that provides funding for research, education, and services to those affected with blood cancers. Well this year I decided it was time for me to do more then just sit there, in my comfortable life, and donate. This year, I decided to be more active in working to make a difference. This year, I decided to join LLS in the fight to find a cure for blood cancers by participating in Team in Training (TNT). For those that don’t know what TNT is, well they are the major fundraising branch of LLS, and how they raise funds is by training participant for endurance events. In return, the participant commit to raising a certain amount of money for the society, and over the past 20 years participants have raised close to 2 billion dollars for the society. Pretty amazing huh?
Anyway the event that I trained for was the Honolulu Century Ride, a one hundred mile cycle event along the coast of Oahu. Oahu, wow…. what an amazing destination! What a treat to be able to ride in Hawaii! But in all honesty, while it was an amazing event venue…. I discovered that the journey over the summer, to be ready to ride that distance under those conditions, was the best part of the event!
It really started last year, when I was approached by my friend about TNT. He had been participating in TNT events for three years, and had been trying to get me to do one with him. Well, he’s a runner, and me… not so much of a runner so there really wasn’t an event that I was interested in. That is, until he told me that TNT has cycle events. Cycle events! That was right up my alley! Rick and I love to ride! So after discussing it with Rick, more like telling him that I was going to do it, I started gathering more information on TNT, cycling, and all the stuff that I would need. I discovered that I was woefully unprepared for a major cycle event (possession wise), so I did what every girl does… SHOP! New bike, helmet, gloves, pedals, shoes, bike shorts… I was prepared (or so I thought), and happily spent the rest of that year (i.e. winter) telling everyone I could about my plans to ride 100 miles.
In the spring of this year, I signed up for the event and training started towards the end of May (for the September ride). The training started off with short rides, 17 miles, and quickly progressed in length and difficulty. Not only were we training to be able to ride a long distance, but a hilly ride also (um, hello, it’s Hawaii… of course it’s going to be hilly!) so we spent a lot of time doing hill repeats and interval training. Every Saturday was dedicated to group training rides, where the team trained together, learned the fundamentals of cycling, basic maintenance, and got to know each other. In addition to the group training rides, I trained almost every night and by the end of the season, the training had almost completely taken over my life. Somewhere in all that training, I had to raise funds also! So, almost every spare minute was taken up with fund raising. I did everything… bucket shakes, letter writing, restaurant partnerships, collection buckets, vendor parties…. it seemed to never end!
Bucket Shakes and The Last Group Ride Before Boxing the Bikes!
But it did! Finally the day came when all the training was over. The bikes were packed and on their way to Hawaii.
The fund raising commitments were met, and we were on our way to Hawaii! WOW! Rick was able to go to Hawaii also, and while he wasn’t participating as a part of the team, he was invaluable through the event weekend! The weekend itself was amazing, from the team dinner at Dukes the Friday before the event (where we sat outside, right by the ocean… and it rained off and on!), the training ride on Saturday (where we got a much later start then planned due to issues with some of the bikes, and then had to battle horrendous heat and traffic), the pasta party the night before the event, and the event itself!
Pasta Party and Hawaii Training Ride
Amazingly the event went very well! Team Indiana rode strong for most of the day, and we stayed together in a double pace line (which was a first for the TNT chapters. Historically, the chapters train together, and then split up into groups for the ride… faster, medium, and slower riders but Team Indiana mostly rode at similar speeds, so we were able to ride together). There was only one mechanical issue with the bikes during the ride, one of the riders flatted and broke the rim tape. That delayed us about an hour because rim tape isn’t something that is normally carried in a repair kit! The rider ended up being SAG’ed to the mechanic, and the rest of the team met him at the SAG. After that was fixed, we were back on out way… and had passed the half way point! We rode together for another 23 miles (or so) and split up at the last SAG stop (one of our riders had gotten ill and another was injured, so they were slowing down a bit). We all agreed to meet back up at Diamond Head (about 3 miles away from the finish line) and ride across the line together!
25 Mile SAG and On the road, towards the end of the event
What an amazing site. Team Indiana, 15 strong, riding across the line as one. Amazing!
Rick and I spent part of the next day in Wikiki, and then drove up to the North Shore with some team mates. We had rented a condo, and stayed for the rest of the week. It was a great time! We snorkeled, hiked, snorkeled some more, cliff jumped… what a wonderful time! The day that we flew out, we made a special trip to Pearl Harbor so that we could visit the USS. Arizona Memorial. All I can say is that it is an awe inspiring site.
But ya know what the best part of the ride was? Knowing that Team Indiana raised $75,000 for blood cancer research.