Sorry I couldn't post more during the weekend - just couldn't make the technology work.
Dear Team Indiana or Hoosier Daddies or Bending for a Cure (as you can tell we are in need of a catchy name, Team Indiana just doesn't quite do it, so give that some thought on your next long ride),
We had a great trip to Killington, Vermont, despite the wet weather (more about that later). I wanted to thank the Indiana riders for being great fun and making it yet another memorable adventure. I want to give a special thanks to Dawn for coming out with us to keep us entertained and to cheer us on; was great to see your smiling face at the Warren rest stop and to hear the cow bell and I know Mark appreciated the dry clothes, even if you couldn't help given your one arm situation. Thanks to our elf, Joel, for his enthusiasm, starting on Thursday at the Indianapolis airport going all the way through Saturday's celebration - always glad to meet a fellow Journey fan, although could have done without the lemon drop. To Mark & Chad, it was great to finally meet you, definitely true Team Indiana members and thanks for dragging Joel along on the ride. Kevin, so glad you decided to join the ride and I'm glad to hear you will be back - I told you we should have stayed out longer on the rained out training ride, we needed the practice. It was also great to see Ted S's smiling face more than once, in fact I believe I have a photo of him and didn't even realize I had taken it.
As far as the actual ride, well I'm sure that you will hear plenty of stories once we get our bikes back and can ride with you, but here is a recap. It started raining at 10pm on Friday night as we went to bed. It was raining at 5am when we got up. At 6am they postponed the start from 7am to 8am and guess what, it was raining at 8am, but "the heavy stuff wouldn't come done for a few hours." The temperature was 55 at the start. Everyone had every bit of cold weather gear they could scrap together, I for one had 5 layers on. The first 12 miles was basically downhill which was a bit scary in the rain. They sent us off in 3 groups with coaches controlling the pace. I was asked to head down in the middle of pack 2. One lady riding with me said this was the most she had ever used her brakes. There were no incidences on the hill despite the fact that the rain continued. From the 1st rest stop at 12 miles we had rolling hills, plenty of green moutains, oh yeah and rain. The traffic wasn't bad, but there were some very rude drivers along with some very nice ones. We had a small section of gravel to cross (you guys will need to stop harrassing me about the training rides that involve gravel - I'm just trying to prepare you) and then more rolling hills to the second and then third stop which was at about 30 miles. From there we had an uphill climb that was about 2 miles long, abit like the hill in Death Valley, although slightly different scenery. Then there was some more downhill and then a slight uphill to Warren where we found Dawn. At this point the course did a 20 mile loop that I didn't take, I'll let the guys tell you about that, but my understanding is that there were some real hills in that section. Then it was back the way we came, which meant some uphill before we got to the downhill and did I mention the rain kept stopping and starting. The rest stops were quiet as I came through with those who were cutting it short having already turned around and those who had done the loop still a bit behind me, although slowly catching me one by one. The rain seemed to clear between the 2nd & 1st rest stop, but the temperature didn't get above 60 and I never saw the sun or my JDRF jersey for that matter. Then it was time for the 12 mile climb. I did the first part with Chad, Mark & Joel who had caught up with me and then a part with Julie from Minneapolis who was trying to do a metric century on her very heavy hybrid bike. The uphill was relentless and about 5 miles out she had to stop and climb in the SAG vehicle. Good timing on her part because just after that the hills got steeper and I can only describe them as brutal. I saw on the road going up one of the final hills writing that said VT IS NOT FLAT - don't need to tell me. The finish line was a relatively quiet because no one wanted to stand around in the rain and it was a mile from the resort where we were staying, but there were some great volunteers cheering you in and taking your bike. Check out my photos: http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLanding.action?c=wytd589.6luf2zr9&x=0&y=8mu49i&localeid=en_US
Despite the rain, it was a beautiful and challenging ride and the spirit of the ride was the same as every other Ride to Cure, infectious and encouraging and full of life. Once again, I am grateful to have been able to participate and to do so with some incredible people - Dawn, Kevin, Chad, Mark, Joel & Ted, you are my heros.