Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tour de Pink 2013

A few weeks ago, my wife and I rode in our third Tour de Pink. This charity ride raises money to provide mammograms for women who could not otherwise afford them, detecting breast cancer while it still can be cured. Both the entry fee as well as the donations riders are required to raise work to this admirable end.

We rode the Tour de Pink in 2011 before I started this blog, so it never got posted. We rode 47 miles that year. The ride in 2012 was interrupted by the death of a close friend, and the post I did on that ride was more about cycling around the ebb and flow of life than the ride itself, a 12 mile ride being all the situation would allow. This year, we rode 63 miles, a lifetime record for my wife. To catch up a bit, here are pictures of us from the last three years:

My wife, me, and our friend SN, at the 2011 Tour de Pink
Me and my wife at the 2012 Tour de Pink
Me and my wife at the 2013 Tour de Pink

The ride started at 7 am, dawn at this time of year in Texas. The start and finish were at the Texas A&M University Prairie View campus, about an hour northwest of Houston. There were lots of decoration and enthusiastic students cheering us on:

We rode our usual Surly Crosschecks, me with my big bag on the back to haul anything either of us might need along the way. I like propping the bikes up against each other like this, it saves finding a fence or other object against which to lean them or laying them flat on the ground, which I find kind of creepy.

Teams are a big part of this ride. In fact, in Houston's Texas Medical Center (the largest medical center in the world), a number of teams form just for this ride. The jerseys my wife and I are wearing (shown above) are for one such team, that for Houston's University of Texas Medical School. The riders below are one of the larger such teams, that from Methodist Hospital's Cancer Center:

Pink is the color of this ride, as reflected in the balloon-based sign announcing one of the rest stops:

The picture below shows one of the rest stops (called "Pit Stops" by the organizers) which are found every 10 miles or so along the route. Besides the usual bananas, oranges, and PB&J, his one featured fresh cooked mini-sausages - yum!

Almost certainly the biggest challenge for the Tour de Pink is the heat. To help combat that, all of the rest stops featured bandanas soaking in ice water. You take one out of the ice water, put it around your neck, and off you go to the next pit stop.

Another feature of the "pit stops" is bicycle repair stations manned by the local bicycle shops (LBSs). This one is run by "my" LBP, West End Bikes:

The next picture is of rider wearing one of the iced-bandanas, perusing a copy of the route map, with special attention directed toward the difference between "You Are Here" and "Finish." The various routes have stayed the same for at least the last three years, and last year I posted a scan of the route map.

And finally, the one feature no pit stop can do without, especially for us older riders:

My wife was very well prepared for this ride, the longest bike ride of her life but no preparation can completely protect you from heat. Wisely, she has decided to cap future rides at 60-some miles, but to train for speed so that she can finish before it gets too hot. All and all, a truly wonderful experience, thanks to the organizers' enthusiasm and preparedness. Thanks, gang!

MAF Test Results

I have no new MAF test results since my last post, so there is nothing to report this week.

No comments:

Post a Comment