Archive for June, 2012

Living with Elaine requires a few concessions.  Number one on the list is that I will be participating in Team In Training.  Elaine lost her sister, Donna, to blood cancer several years ago.  Raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been her passion since, and she is damn good at it, netting over $65,000 for the cause.

On June 3rd, Elaine’s team rode America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride.  AMBBR is a very tough and mountainous century around Lake Tahoe.  This sounded like a lot of fun, so I signed up, raised my money and helped out with the team training rides where I could.

For the most part, our group from Raleigh rode together, recollecting after the first major climb at mile 20. This took us up and around the stunning Emerald Bay.

At North Lake Tahoe the 72 milers turn East and the full century riders head toward Truckee and Donner Pass (the birthplace of the Shit Cube and a future blog article) on North 89.  This is a boring, hard, windy, out and back on a four-lane highway.  The drivers are cranky about the cyclists and the evidence of the budget crisis in California is clear as the road is absolutely horrible. Coach Marc and I tried almost everything we could think of to organize the team so that we could safely take turns pulling in the wind and finally found the right groove about halfway back.  The cyclists in the team were amazing.  I am just so proud of how well they rode.

Marc coached this, and many other events for LLS, because his sister is in remission from blood cancer and his cousin had been suffering from Multiple Myeloma since February, 2006.

At the end of the Truckee section we were all mentally spent and frustrated about the crappy road.  Each of us swore we would never ride it again.  The remaining ride took us the rest of the way around the lake and included the ascent over Spooner Pass.  The elevation at the top is 7,200 feet and a couple of us were feeling the effects of the altitude.  Thankfully, for me, it passed quickly as we descended the other side toward South Tahoe and home.  Overall I had a great day. Elaine rode impressively and I am so proud of her.  The rest of the team really showed their hard work of the previous weeks.

At the finish we all celebrated our success and swapped stories.  Nearly everyone complained about the road to Truckee, but no one was louder than me. Blah, blah, blah – stupid road – never doing it again – can’t believe they sent us out there – so unsafe –  blah, blah, blah.

A couple of days later coach Marc sent out a very nice note of congratulations to the team.  He also explained that, literally while we were riding the road to Truckee, complaining and whining, his cousin Sue lost her battle to blood cancer.

I feel so badly for Marc and his family that this happened.  I know how Donna’s death affected Elaine’s family years ago.  But, I have to say that I am embarrassed for complaining about the road to Truckee.  It was nothin’.