|Non-Tour de France winner on left|
OK, OK, so I’m not going out on a one on one bike ride with Lance tomorrow, stopping off at Sonic for a sweet tea mid-ride, chatting about our various athletic exploits. But, sort of last minute, I am taking off with 1,499 other cyclists, led out by Lance Armstrong and some of his fellow Team Radio Shack riders, out on a 100 kilometer (62 mile) ride through the Tennessee countryside in the Harpeth River Ride. I’ll even be tweeting about it during ride breaks @premierebrian.
How did this come about? Late one night last week, Krista saw on twitter that it had been announced that Lance Armstrong, who shares a Harpeth River Ride sponsor in Nissan, had committed to leading out the ride. I’d done the shortened version of the HRR last year, but hadn’t planned on doing it this year. But suddenly, Krista was not only informing me of the Ride, but trying to talk me into doing it. What’s this? Krista trying to get me to sign up for an endurance event, even though it would mean she’d have the kids all by herself for several hours on Saturday? What’s going on here? Then it dawned on me- her husband riding in the same event would make excellent blog fodder for her 1,000 weekly readers (and my 13-15 weekly readers :). Apparently a good blog trumps daddy-daughter time on Saturday mornings. Before I knew it, she’d signed me up for a 62 mile bike tour, which is more than double the longest distance I’ve ridden this year (25 miles).
Speaking of Lance Armstrong, this actually won’t be my first encounter. I’ve booked him to speak before, and even went to one of the events (hence the picture above). Very nice guy in person. In the lobby, I’d said hello to his manager, who’d I talked to a few times. Then up walked the Tour de France champ and said, “Hi, I’m Lance.” He did a great job with the presentation, inspired the audience, and got a surprise (even to the event staff) donation of a generous amount, from the rather unpredictable CEO, to the LiveStrong Foundation. Lance said, “I know you might not think this, but if you run a non-profit, and you get a surprise donation of $XXX,XXX to fight cancer, its a really good day.” Great event.
Back to the Harpeth River Ride- I’m a combination of excited and nervous- especially about one thing. I’ve never done a metric century before (a ‘century ride’ is the term for a 100-mile ride. a ‘metric century’ ride is 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, for pansies like me who don’t have the courage to sign up for the true ‘century’ ride.), but I think I can handle the distance, especially if I’m able to draft off other riders. You get rest stops in there, where they’ve got drinks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a variety of goodies. The temperature won’t be too bad. It’ll be 71 degrees at the 7AM start, and then ‘only’ up to 89 by noon, when I hope to finish.
What scares me a little happens on mile 33, the dreaded/famed Pulltight Hill. Its one of the highest places in Middle Tennessee, a hill that basically goes 400 feet up in a very short amount of time, the hill that I’ve heard other cyclists talk about with fear and respect for the 2 years I’ve been into cycling. I’ll have to tackle this big hill for the first time after riding farther than I’ve ridden all year, and then ride 29 miles back.
There are 2 or 3 rest stops, and I’ll make sure to twitter (reception allowing) from each one with an update.