Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dempsey Challenge Ride

I'd like to start by thanking everyone for helping me to raise funds or who sent words of encouragement for my participation in the Inaugural Dempsey Challenge. A ride, walk and run fundraiser put on by Patrick Dempsey, for the Dempsey Center for Hope and Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, ME. I rode on the Team Ali's Rack Pack, in Honor and Memory of, Alison Dumont, a life long friend who sadly passed away two weeks before the event. Even though I hadn't seen her in several years, when I learned she was fighting Cancer, and that her close friend Kim was organizing a team for her, I jumped at the chance to get involved. Alison was a great person and she fought cancer very hard, especially in her last few weeks. She was a brave soldier and for many more, the fight continues on. The way I see it, I had the easy part, the ride! In today's tough economy, you all gave from your hearts and I appreciate it very much. One Hundred Percent of the funds raised were given to the center for patient care. While I rode, I had many people on my mind who I know have crossed the battle line. In 2001, I gathered with family by my Grandmother's side as she slipped into eternal life from her quick battle with Lung Cancer. I thought about that a lot on my ride, life changes you after watching a loved one, someone, or anyone die. I think I had a couple of moments along the way where I had to hold off some emotions thinking about Memere and Alison, but also probably from some of the pain I was putting on myself. This was part of my plan from the start, ride hard and try for a personal best time over one hundred miles. One never knows how they'll feel starting, continuing, and actually finishing a long ride like this. From the start I rode pretty fast and quickly caught up to Dempsey's VIP group who had started about three minutes before everyone else. He was pretty much surrounded and I wasn't interested in chatting, but it was pretty cool to see Professional Cyclists Ted King, George Hincapie and Dave Zabriskie riding in this event.

After riding with the VIP's for a few minutes, I latched on to a fast group and never looked back. I rode past the first rest stop eleven miles into the ride and planned to stop at the second at about twenty three miles. My life long friends, Jason and Jim Roy along with Steve Jalbert were volunteering mechanical support for the riders, I was glad to see they were super busy. I was pretty cold and wet since the roads had been soaked with rain water from the start. Thinking ahead, I strategically stashed some chain lube and dry cycling clothes in their truck the day before, so I took five and lubed my chain, but didn't change any clothes, knowing I had more rainy weather ahead. They were to be stationed at mile seventy five, so I knew having dry clothes near the end would give me some comfort and incentive to finish strong. Pretty much from this rest stop to the end of the ride, I was riding on my own. Plenty of time for thought and reflection when "throwing" yourself out there!

At mile Fifty, around the other side of Long Lake in Harrison, the sun came out and the roads were drying up. I took a long break and ate some much needed food at the rest stop. All the rest stops were well staffed with volunteers and plenty of goodies for the riders to eat, Bananas, Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches, Oranges, plenty of Water and Gatorade as well. They could have had more "salty" treats (which I suggested in a post ride survey they sent out).

Arriving at mile seventy five, I was getting my ass kicked, or kicking my own ass, giving it my all and riding hard. In a typical century ride, I wouldn't have the opportunity to change from rain and sweat soaked clothes, but man, was it nice to get into some dry shorts and a dry jersey for the final twenty five miles. I loaded up on food to get me back to Lewiston and set off on a blistering pace for the final stretch. Some where around the back side of the Auburn Airport, I saw a sign that read "Twenty Miles to go"...What? Oh No! Twenty more miles I thought? I had calculated about twelve, so that hit my psyche pretty hard. Muscle through it I thought to myself....

I rolled across the bridge into Lewiston feeling great and honestly ready to be off the bike. The event was pretty much done and there were just a few folks lingering around. I still had to ride my bike a couple of miles back to my car.

Thanks to my friend Kim Laverdiere for organizing Team Ali's Rack Pack, Thanks to the Roy Boy's for letting me stash some dry clothes and chain lube in their vehicle, Thanks to all the volunteers and event organizers, Thanks to all my sponsors for your donations and words of encouragement, Thanks to my Mom for letting me crash at her house the night before, Thanks to all the Cancer Soldiers for fighting so bravely and continuing that fight! Thanks to Patrick Dempsey for giving my hometown some limelight and starting this great event. I am looking forward to next year's ride for sure.

My ride stats were-
Total Mileage- 102 miles
Total Elevation Gain- 5743 Feet
Total Elevation Loss- 5368 Feet
Ride Time- 6 hours and 35 Minutes

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