Frankly, when I first got up this morning, I wished it weren't the day! I felt tired, and the prospect of fighting the wind for hours was no help. But I had made a commitment, and I was going to keep it.
I actually got underway somewhere between 8:00 and 8:30 am. There were yellow TdC notations spray-painted on the road at strategic spots, with arrows indicating direction, plus printed signs posted at the roadside. Therefore my pathetic cue-sheet-reading skills (UN-skills?) weren't a handicap.
The sky stayed overcast for much of the ride, which kept it from getting too hot. Here and there I ran into some fine mist, but it didn't rain. From about mile 40, in fact, the sun was trying to come out; enough that I put on my sunglasses.
Happily, the wind didn't seem to be as strong as predicted, and the trees along the way seemed to serve as a windbreak some of the time. I think I did better on the hills this year, although still not nearly as well as I would have liked. Since I don't live in hill country, I suspect I'll never be a good climber.
My average speed of 13.41 mph was less than last year's average speed, but last year I did the 25-mile route. Today I rode the 53-mile route, so let's not compare apples and oranges.
There were official rest stops at about mile 12.5; 25; and 40. These stops are staffed by volunteers, and riders can get water, Gatorade, snacks, and -- er -- visit Mrs. Murphy, as people used to put it. At mile 40, we got a lunch of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. There was lunch at the finish, too, provided by Abita B-B-Q.
My legs really started to feel it between miles 45 and 50. At that point sheer willpower was all that kept me going. But once I could see the red ADA arch at the end, I felt much better. What elation at crossing the finish line at the Tour de Cure!
Interesting sights along the way: I glimpsed a brown thrasher as it flew into a bush. I saw a group of what I think were black vultures. And I heard a chickadee's Spring call. I seem to have inherited my father's bird-watching tendencies.
It's VERY lucky that I recorded my ride data immediately after I got off my bike! I haven't quite gotten the hang of my new Garmin yet, and I might have erased everything, because I forgot about "Record Ride".
And let's not forget the TdC riders who really deserve our praises: Red Riders! Those who have diabetes. Good for them, I say!