It's been a goal of mine. Something I had to do for the great cause. Selfishly this first ride was actually more about me, and also about supporting my brother-in-law, Tony, who was recently diagnosed with a malignant myxoid lyposarcoma. I have been working hard on myself lately, changing all sorts of things in all aspects of life. Improving in lots of areas... which I will talk about many of those at later times.
Yesterday I rode my bike (well, actually Caitlin's bike) 51.3 miles in San Jose, California. It was hard. Harder than I actually imagined it would be. I've been training for about two months, but 20-25 miles a day is just not the same. Scotty told me it was just doing the Greenbelt ride twice... not exactly true, the Armstrong ride had some mountainous climbs that I wasn't anticipating. I climbed about 1,200 ft. in elevation throughout the ride.
It was a great feeling to cross the finish line! I met these goals:
1. finish a 50 mile Armstrong Challenge Ride
2. DO NOT take the SAG bus (the bus that hauls you up the climbs or too the next "fuel stop" when you get too tired to continue)
I'm physically in a different spot than I was even two months ago, so although this ride was hard I am proud of my accomplishments. I have lost 30 pounds, and have begun to crave exercise.
A few of my friends have asked me how I got started:
I was happy to discover that bike riding is an exercise that doesn't aggravate my Achilles tendon injury when our family would go on 10-20 mile rides on the Greenbelt. Running and step-aerobics (my previous favorite forms of exercise) were out of the question since walking even a 1/2 mile would leave me limping for a week.
I signed up for two rounds of physical therapy, had my tendon "scraped" to get rid of calcium deposits the size of a grape and then joined a gym to finish the therapy on my own. I set a goal to walk or ride 300 miles and realized I could complete the goal faster if I rode the bike. So for the past two months I've been riding our indoor cycle and my own mountain bike, at first 10 miles and then 20-30 miles a day. My tendon has almost completely healed, I feel better than I have in years. It feels great to be able to exercise! My only advice to those of you who wish to start cycling is to buy a padded pair of bike shorts... they are your friend.
The lessons I learned from the Armstrong Foundation Ride:
1. Strength train my quads
2. Carry TWO bottles of water or Gatorade between "fuel stops" - stay better hydrated
3. Start going to a spinning class to improve my overall cardiovascular strength and capabilities
4. I need a road bike; Caitlin's bike is too "heavy". It's 30 lbs. as opposed to 8 lbs.
5. I have a lot of very awesome supportive friends
6. Fear is meant to be conquered
7. Cancer survivors are very STRONG people, they are impressive!!
8. The Livestrong Foundation is an awesome organization that does some amazing things when it comes to helping to fight cancer!
9. (last but not least) I CAN DO WHATEVER I SET MY MIND TO. I AM STRONG. I AM CAPABLE OF ACCOMPLISHING GREAT THINGS ON MY OWN (with the Lord's help).