The Reason I am Doing It.

It was my brother's idea at first, he told me he had looked into doing a sponsored bike ride in England. The idea was to raise money for leukemia research because our mother had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2005. Since I enjoy cycling, raising money for leukemia research while bike riding sounded perfect. An evening of "Googling" later, I had found Team In Training, a group that fund-raise with endurance sports for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I initially registered for the 2007 Lake Tahoe event, but had to drop out when it became aparent that Mum was losing her battle with leukemia. This year I am back and intent on raising $5000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event I am training for is a 100-mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe on June 1st 2008. Because of the altitude (6,225ft.) and the distance, training is important. So, every Saturday for 5 months I will be getting up at 6:00 a.m. to join my team for training rides. There will be a lot of hills to climb!

So when the training gets tough, I look down at the top tube of my bike where I carry 2 names that inspire me to push on. The names are, my Mum – Ruth Davies, and my Aunt Meg, both of whom lost their lives to blood diseases. My Mum, as many of you already know, passed away last year from Leukemia (AML). I thank God for the 14 months of remission she had and the last vacation we spent together in February 2006. At the end of 2006, the leukemia returned and this time there was no stopping it. After wasting away, my mother died in April of 2007. Similarly, my Aunt Meg passed away in February of 1993 after an 11-year battle against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. What these two women endured is infinitely more than any discomfort I feel during my training.

To make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, go to: TNT Donate

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Week 15 - May 17th, 2008 - Distance 81.90 miles

Midweek Training: I rode after work on Tuesday, nothing exciting Just 8.19 miles around Simi. Thursday I did my usual routine, work and back, but during the afternoon the temperature hit 105F (40C) in Canoga Park. I decided was still going to try the ride home knowing that Judy was at happy hour in Chatworth with some of our friends. Then if it got too hot to climb the pass, I could call Judy for a ride home. By the time I reached Chatworth traffic was looking nasty. I elected to press on home. When I rode up Santa Susana pass I was passing the line of cars even when my pace slowed to 7mph. It seems the freeway was closed due to an accident. I passed every car going up the hill and more than a few on the downhill. It was sweet satisfaction and it took my mind off the heat. I felt so good I added a few more miles to make my ride a 30.66-mile round trip. When I got home I checked the calibration of my bike computer. I had suspected it was reading high since I always ended up logging more miles than the ride guide in recent weeks. It was reading high, but only by 1.7%. Now it is accurate again!

Group Ride: Today is our last organised training ride before Tahoe. We gathered in Long Beach (just barely, Seal Beach is across the bridge). The weather forecast was for warm weather (sorry, typical British understatement). It is supposed to hit 80-90F (26-32C) in the beach cities! As we were getting ready to ride at 8:00 a.m., we were already sweating! No arm warmers or jackets today! Our ride guide indicated we were heading to Laguna Beach for an 82-mile round trip. Wow, today's ride will be the furthest I have ever ridden in one day! My previous record, 80 miles, was set in 1980 when I rode from Shrewsbury to the top of the Horseshoe Pass near Llangollen and back.

We settled into a good rhythm for the ride as usual but at mile 22 we took a detour and rode the Balboa Ferry across Newport Harbour. It is just a short ride but it was fun and different. After riding the ferry we headed inland where we lost the cool ocean breeze and temperatures peaked at 104F (40C) according to a teammate's cycle computer, much of the heat was rising from the hot asphalt. I was leading through this section and surprisingly I felt good, but I was glad when we headed down Laguna Canyon Road as I was anticipating a cool ocean breeze. Mark picked up a flat tyre and Andy stayed with him to fix it. There was a stiff breeze blowing up the canyon that negated the downhill speed, however, it wasn't at all cool until we reached Laguna Beach. It was a tough few miles for me leaving my rear feeling very sore. At our SAG stop in Laguna Beach, many of the riders decided to cut the ride short and do a 60-mile option to get back. Andy knew that if I did the full length of 82 miles that this would be a peronal best for me. He polled the riders to see who else would join him and me in completing the full length.

Six riders left Laguna intent to compete the original 82-mile route. We headed up PCH and then turned inland for a climb up Newport Coast Drive. About 2/3rds of the way up the hill the temperature became brutally intense again, I was sweating badly and started to feel light headed. Not wanting to succumb to heat exhaustion I slowed my pace even more and eventually made it to the crest where the others were waiting. I wiped the stinging sweat out of my eyes in order to continue. We made our last SAG stop at a Ralphs parking lot where I ate again and drank an entire bottle of Gatorade. I left SAG feeling bloated and uncomfortable, I had too much liquid and food in my stomach. The rest of the ride then became very difficult for me and it wasn't until the last 10 miles that I got rid of the bloated feeling. By that time my legs felt shot and I slowed the pace right down and limped in with Jose and Becca (who was herself feeling dizzy). We all congratulated ourselves on a job well done!

As for myself, I feel equipped to break my new distance record of 81.90 miles in 2 weeks when we do the 100-mile ride in Lake Tahoe. Today's ride, with the heat being an adversarial element, gave us a taste of what is to come in Lake Tahoe where we will instead be dealing with the effects of altitude.

To make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or to learn more go to >TNT Donate

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brian, we are really enjoying your blog! We know that you WILL suceed on the ride because of who it is memory of. Remember to write that book after the ride - 100 miles in the saddle by Major Bumsore!
Love from J & L in Bonnie Scotland