Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tour de Cure 2013

Just happy to see the sun!
After a year's hiatus, Marilynn and I returned on Sunday, June 9th, to ride with Team BMS in the Princeton Tour de Cure, a fund-raising event that benefits the American Diabetes Association.  In 2011, Team BMS was somewhat of a fledgling group.  That year, our team photo consisted of only 13 riders, but we still managed to raise about $18,000.  Not bad at all, but what a difference a couple of years makes!  Under the guidance of Laura Shemanski, Team BMS has grown to over 100 riders.  At last count, we raised almost $64,000 for the ADA this weekend!   Quite a testament to Laura's organizational and managerial skills and the generosity of the BMS family!

All revved up with 64 miles to go
I've participated in this event since the mid-90's and, as I've said many a time, there are five key elements to a successful ride (in order of importance):
  1. No one falls and no one gets hurt (other than sore muscles)
  2. No flats, broken spokes or other bike problems
  3. Good riding weather ... not brutally hot and no rain!
  4. No one "bonks"
  5. No one gets lost
For the most part, we batted 5-for-5 on this Tour.  Well, Marilynn jammed her chain twice on two particularly nasty hills (causing her to topple over once), and my back tire somehow released itself and damn near fell off at around mile 60, but those were extremely minor difficulties. 

The weather was absolutely perfect -- a major miracle considering the monsoon-like conditions that New Jersey experienced before and after the ride.  It couldn't have been a more pleasant day:  the sun was shining, the roads were dry, and the temperature was in the low 80's for most of the ride. What more could a biker ask for?

Bonking wasn't a problem either, thanks to four well-stocked rest stops.  The photo below gives you an idea of what each of these stops looked like: 

Everything except an ice cold beer
The first rest stop also featured an emergency bicycle repair tent manned by Hart's Cyclery of Pennington, a very nice touch.  And at the last rest stop, we had a chance to meet "Buddy" (see below).  I'm not sure what kind of dog Buddy was (Terrier?), but I heard his owner say that he was 13 years old and had diabetes!  Whether or not that was true, there's no lying that Buddy was very cute and friendly.  And I was also told how to properly pronounce his name.

"Hey Buuuddy"
Marilynn and I stopped at every rest stop, even if we weren't particularly tired or hungry.  To ride by one without stopping would have been bad karma.  You never pass up a port-a-john opportunity.  Never.  By the way, unlike prior Tours, there were 2 port-a-johns at every rest stop, even at the first one (which all bikers know is crucial). 

Always a sight for sore eyes ...
The route was publicized well ahead of time and made available electronically via MapMyRide.  Below is a screen capture of our ride:

At least we didn't have to climb Poor Farm Road!
There are a couple of things worth noting about the route. 
  1. Mile 42:  At this point, we hit one of the best downhills of the entire ride.  Me and two other guys flew down it, braking only minimally.  As we hit our peak speed at the bottom I heard one guy yell, "We just missed a turn!"  Yep.  It was at that point (and at only that point) that the designers of the tour decided that directional guidance was not needed.  There was no painted red arrow on the road or orange traffic cone at the corner telling us to take a left onto Garboski Road.  Thankfully, one of the guys I was riding with was also on the route committee, but he had no explanation for the lack of signage.  In retrospect, though, it was just as well.  It was a hell of a lot of fun blasting down that hill!
  2. Mile 50:  It was at this point, after almost 4 hours on the bike, that the Tour headed into the Sourland Mountains. Yep.  I kid you not.  Check out the change in elevation on that map.  Marilynn knew it was coming though, and dug deep.  A real trooper. 
Other than the Garboski Glitch, the route was exceptionally well-marked.  And even if we had gotten lost, each of us had a cue sheet and an emergency phone number to call for help.   

By the time we returned to ETS, both Marilynn and I were more than happy to get off of our bikes.  Five hours on a bike is a long, long time.  Our legs were stiff, but other parts of our anatomy were in much worse shape.  It was tons of fun though, and we're looking forward to doing it again next year!

Happy to be off the bike!

A small subset of Team BMS!

RPM has arrived!!

Reece Patrick Mullen was born on Friday, April 12, 2013, at 4:04am to Jonathan and Lacee Mullen.  Little Reece was 5 pounds and 18" long at birth but, as you can see from the photos below, he has grown fast!

Congratulations to Jonathan and Lacee and welcome, Reece, to the Mullen Family!