So, it’s the Wednesday after the Philadelphia Livestrong Challenge, and I’m spending some quality time at home with a tissue box — not for tears of joy or otherwise, but for the cold that I came down with the day before the ride.
Tommie and I packed up our Mini Countryman on Saturday and headed out with our bikes to go ride 100 miles for Livestrong the next morning. I was a little concerned about my head cold, but figured that if I could ride the 70-miler last year on only one hour of sleep, I’d be fine to complete the full century with a cold — as long as I got some rest.
Like last year we booked a room at the Normandy Farm Hotel across from the starting line, but this time I was smart. I got us a room in one of the outer guest houses so that if there were another wedding in the building we wouldn’t hear the noise and could get some sleep.
At 10 p.m. we turned on some Law and Order and crawled into bed. At 11 the party started. There are four units in our guest house, and what sounded like a college dorm party was happening in the unit next to ours. Around midnight the party ended (after I walked around and saw beer cans everywhere and smelled cigarette smoke from the non-smoking room), and so I went to sleep.
Maybe 40 minutes later the party started back up again, but this time it sounded like it was just getting started. I won’t bore you with the details of the numerous calls to the front desk, the various visits by security, the promises to call the police, the discussions about moving us into a new room at 2 a.m., or the wedding party best man who apologized to me profusely.
Next morning: Tommie and I only got a couple of hours of sleep, I still had a head cold, and we headed out at 6:15 a.m. ready to ride in the FREEZING COLD summer morning.
In regards to the ride, the thing that Tommie and I prepared most for was the climb to Landis Store — a mile-long uphill climb. I got a bit nervous when I started up the climb (the signs that read “It’s one mile, and it’s ALL uphill” didn’t help) but about a third of the way up I found my rhythm and I was breathing easy. My legs burned a bit, but other than that it was really not so bad.
That was around mile 56. I lasted another 14 miles, and then I bonked. I actually bonked 13 miles later but Tommie pushed me to get to 70. Two hours of sleep + head cold = me not being able to ride 100 hilly miles.
Feeling so proud of myself for making Landis Store my bitch, I was not upset that I had to call it quits at 70 miles. Tom continued on by bike, and I hitched a ride with a SAG van.
While driving back to the finish line I asked the guys in the van if they knew whether Lance Armstrong rode. He had welcomed everyone at the start and said something about planning to ride the 100 miles, but he was really hungover after a crazy night. I hadn’t seen him on the course and wondered if he rode at all.
One guy responded, “Yeah. He only rode 45 miles though. Apparently he hooked up with some bridal party and drank with them all night.”
I laughed out loud. “Lance was partying with a bridal party all night?”
“Yeah, he said he saw there was a wedding at the hotel and asked to meet the bride and groom.”
So, there you have it. We’re pretty confident (given that Lance was staying at our hotel and there was only one bridal party) that Lance was at the party that kept us up all night. He may even be the reason the party started back up after it broke up the first time.
Let me tell you, if the security guards would have just said that Lance was in there, Tommie and I would have joined the party instead of begging them to let us sleep.
In the end, I did not ride the full century, but I did climb up to Landis Store like it was nothing, and I did get to cheer Tommie in through the finish line — which was amazing. And, I got a great story out of the deal.
Thanks once again to everyone for helping us raise more than $6,000 to pick a fight with cancer.
And, eff you, Cancer!