“CAR!” my friend, Steve yelled, but it was too late.
We didn’t see the car in time. I had just enough time to turn my front wheel and suddenly I was flying through the air and the “WHAM!” I hit the pavement and the back of my head whiplashed into the asphalt, cracking my helmet.
My first thought was: Wow! Helmet’s actually do save lives. Followed by I’ve gotta get an Advil and get back on the bike!
I wasn’t riding just for fun. I was riding in memory of my Grandmother, who had passed away from Diabetes related complications. Two months earlier I had written an article called “The Last Words I Heard my Grandmother Speak” and sent it out to a few hundred family and friends asking for donations towards Diabetes research for the American Diabetes Association. Close to 60 of my friends and family had been kind enough to donate money towards the cause and I had committed to riding 100 miles.
Fortunately, for me the Good Lord was looking out for me. Moments later a medic on a bicycle who happened to be riding along the trail at that very moment stopped and checked me (and my bike) out. He concluded that I didn’t have a concussion, but that I should go back a few miles to the medic station.
I was a bit annoyed. We were only 35 miles into it and had found some good friends along the ride from India. We had a good thing going as we had been drafting off each other. To turn around was so frustrating for me. However, after some convincing from the medic, I realized he was right and that I should go get checked out.
It just so happened (like I said, the Good Lord was blessing me) that a lady across the street had seen the accident and she had a pick-up. She came over and offered to drive me to the aid station. She happened to be a retired physicians assistant, so she had some good pointers for me along the way.
The medic checked my vitals and everything was fine. I had a slight headache, but he determined it was from the heat and had me drink a bottle of watter and Powerade. A few minutes later, Steve and I were back on the trail. We were at mile 35 and had 60 more miles to go.
The next 22 miles were the hardest for me on the whole ride. I had rested for over 1/2 hour and my legs had stiffened. I wasn’t sure if I could go on at some points. However, with a few prayers and sheer determination, I was able to make it.
God was with us again as we pulled into the rest area. The people manning that location had thought all the other century riders were gone and they were literally starting up their motorcycles to leave. As we pulled up, they were very glad that they had seen us. They took our information and called all the aid stations letting them know there were still some riders on the trail. The stop on at the aid station had set us back about 45 minutes from the other riders. If we hadn’t met this motorcycle gang (they called themselves the Lollypop Guild motorcycle gang read about them on Facebook here) at the rest area, we would not have had any more Tour support while we were riding the most brutal portion of the course starting at mile 62 in the foothills of the Cascades. Praise God they were there!
A few miles later, we were winding our way through the foothills of the Cascade mountains. This was the second time I seriously wondered if I could make it. The elevation gain was about 3000 feet. That combined with the heat, and perhaps my wreck caused me to get a bit light-headed and my nose started to bleed. I barely stayed on my bike, wobbling up hill after hill.
At the next rest area, about 64 miles into the ride, I was able to get some Alieve. This helped my aching muscles, my sore knee, and my slight headache. After that, I felt like a new man and Steve and I kept pushing through the ride.
All was well until about mile 84 when we hit a monster hill. The hill is a category 5 (on a scale of 1-5) and it was 3 miles long. Somehow we muscled our ways up that bad boy and made it home.
When we got there, our lovely wives were there to greet us.
It felt so great to fight through adversity and with a lot of help from Providence and very good people I was able to finish the ride. Not to get too philosophical, but it was like a mini example of our journeys in life. We work hard and do all we can, but the Lord picks up the slack and usually helps us back on our feet through using other people.
I am grateful for a wonderful Grandmother who set such a good example for me in my life at a young age. It was her memory that kept me going. I am also grateful for all of the wonderful people who donated to support the cause. Together, we were able to earn the “Champions” medal for the amount of funds we raised ($2,440 so far).
Here are some pictures of the ride for you to enjoy:
Here’s the very first video around 8:00 a.m. when we first started the ride:
This is the point where you commit to either riding the 70 or 100 mile route…
Three miles after we decided to ride the 100 mile route, I got in the wreck, cracked my helmet, and scraped up my hip and elbow. I’m blessed that nothing more happened. Here’s my helmet and scraped elbow:
Here’s the best video! Riding into the finish line with our wives to greet us:
Here’s Steve and I after the ride
Our Indian friends we met along the way
The Lollipop Guild Motorcycle Gang
My jersey number (jersey number was yellow to signify over $2000 in donations…thank you everyone!)
Champion for Diabetes medal due to funds donated…thank you all once again (if I had made it back in time, Detlef Schrempf was the one who gave out the medal. Becca, my wife got it instead and was able to meet Detlef).
Finally, my beautiful bride, Becca (she rode the 45 mile route) who initiated getting a team together for the Tour de Cure. Without her, I wouldn’t have done this.