Did we make it? DID WE MAKE IT? Yes, we rolled in about 5 or 5:30 to the welcoming party in the square. They had a marching band, cheerleaders and a karaoke machine. Someone must have known we were coming. Just kidding. Keep reading and you’ll find out why the square was deserted! Regardless, it was a great weekend for the American Diabetes Association.
Day 1 was pretty routine with some headwind, and naturally the finish with the ride up the mountain. Donna did a great job volunteering and Mark Cooper came out and helped! His mother had diabetes pretty bad, and it was a great way to honor her without having to ride 150 miles with a mountain in the middle. I wish I had not forgotten my real camera. Keith and Dan may have a different recollection of the return ride on Sunday, but here is mine!
Sunday morning, up on the mountain, the rain continued to pour. The ride officials canceled day two – the return trip from Monteagle to Murfreesboro. Keith Walker and Dan Belser were constantly checking their handheld Internet weather and their weather reports were making me feel quite disappointed. We were the last hold-outs, the last three intending to ride without support – no rest stops, no support vehicles, no one checking the route.
About 10:30, the Internet was showing rain all the way to Tullahoma, with thunderstorms developing. We were the only participants left on the mountain. We decided to pack it up and take the last SAG back to Murfreesboro. The volunteers waded through ankle deep water to stack our bikes in the truck. The whole time, I thought how my bike was going to get torn up banging around in that truck. As Keith’s bike was going on the truck, the rain suddenly stopped and to the west side of the mountain we couldn’t see any more storms coming! Give us our bikes back! We jumped aboard our bikes and rolled out of there. It was cold and the roads were wet, but it felt good to be out pedaling. We were the great fearless adventurers! I had that funny feeling – the one that makes you wonder if your cell phone works, if a tornado will come along, or could we find food and water? That’s why I look for opportunities like this – to overcome that feeling, to find where my limits are.
The mountain descent was wet and had been scraped for repaving – about as dangerous as it gets. That wasn’t the worse of it. A gigantic torrent of chocolate milk rainwater was gushing out the side of the mountain. It turned down the side of the road, hitting large rocks and made some large rapids, then turned and crossed the road like a river! Small rocks were rolling along with the water, and a sheriff’s car was there running his lights warning vehicles of the danger. I briefly wondered if it was safe, then found it was deep enough to soak both of my feet as I pedaled across.
Safely off the mountain, the weather warmed up. We found the TdC had help with their route painting before we got to Decherd (the first ‘rest stop’.) The clowns must have thought it was hilarious when they were properly painting that left turn where you weren’t supposed to turn left! Ha ha ha… very funny….. We figured it out after a mile or so. While we were figuring it out, a huge thunderstorm drove us to find some shelter. Dan knocked on the door of a house and they let us wait in their garage. They were so nice. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the people we go flying by on our rides through the country! To meet those people was worth the 2-3 mile ‘excursion’ we made.
It kinda felt funny rolling by places that are supposed to have food, water and welcoming volunteers. But, we still found several convenience stores. The rain fell, stinging our faces as we descended into a deserted Dickel. After repairing a flat tire, we stopped in Bell Buckle for Blue Bell ice cream (I sure missed Phil. For four years straight, he’s stopped with me for ice cream, so I sent him a camera phone picture of us!) It was fun to tell people along the way "the three of us are the Tour de Cure."
We finally did roll into downtown about 5 or 5:30, but no one was there. I know how Spongebob Squarepants’ feet feel – my feed were squishy wet. Some a-hole redneck was sitting there doing nothing and wouldn’t take our picture. I think he was homophobic about three soaking wet grown men in lycra shorts. So, we took pictures of ourselves with our camera phones. When I got home, Donna gave me shit about being so stubborn and we were so dumb for doing that! After ten years of being married to me, I would think she would be tired of giving me that lecture over and over again!
If you haven’t donated yet, here are the links for you to do so if you’re interested. It’s easier to write a check or donate online with your credit card. It’s harder to get out there and do something, but you can leave that part up to me and our team. Thanks everyone for your support.