Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ADA Tour de Cure, 6/12/2016

By Dennis Pedersen

I first rode in the American Diabetes Association's fund-raising ride in 2006, making this my 10th ride! Yes, I was really determined to continue this tradition and do my little bit to help fight diabetes, a disease that affects 9.3% of the U.S. population.

This year I have helped raise $861.00 thanks to the generous people who donated on my behalf. Many of them have been donating every year I have attended... thank you all so much! The ADA is a well-regarded charity, donating about 70% of their funds to fight diabetes (as rated by the BBB's Give.orgCharity Navigator, and others).

Greg Lemond and Fast Freddie
at the 6:15 AM start, with
the ADA's Karen Zimmerman
and Richard Alejandro.
This year, though, I rode on the West Marine team, since I quit HP last year. But I wasn't able to get enough momentum going, and West Marine is a much smaller company, so the team ended up consisting of just me. Even so, West Marine is growing and I plan on growing the team too. It'll take a bit of extra effort, but it's worth it. And a number of my new co-workers at West Marine donated (it's not too late to donate)!

On the morning of the ride I woke up at 4:30 AM, and was on the road by 5:00 for the 6:15 start time of the 120k route (75 miles). We started from the HP headquarters in Palo Alto, like usual, after breakfast supplied by Hobbee's and other sponsors. The weather promised to be perfect, with clear skies and moderate temperatures.

This year we had a special guest: Greg Lemond, the only American to ever officially win the Tour de France (3 times: 1986, '89, and '90), join us on the ride! I have a ton of respect for Greg, given his history of fighting for clean racing, unlike so many of his successors. He was joined by "Fast" Freddie Rodriguez who has joined the ride the last several years now.

The legendary Greg Lemond!
I said "Hi" to a few friends at the start, and moved to the start line so I could join Greg when we started the ride. I got to take a few photos of Greg and the rest of us as we rode along on the first section of the route, on Junipero Serra Blvd. to Alpine Rd. He doesn't ride much anymore, but was clearly comfortable on the bike, and we all gave him proper respect.

Our route was the same as last year's, and our first big climb was up Kings Mtn Rd. In the past I went all-out on these climbs as training, but I now only train for very short sprint races, including lots of weight training, so I took it as easy as I could on these steep hills. In fact, my 37-minute time up Kings Mtn was about 10 minutes slower than previous years! But I felt fine and enjoyed a brief stop at the rest station set up on Skyline Blvd. at the top of the climb, manned by volunteers from the Kiwanis Club.

Pescadero landscape.
After the rolling section on Skyline we turned right (by Alice's Restaurant) and onto the very fast descent down Highway 84 (I hit 47 mph), through La Honda, and down to Pescadero Rd. A climb up Haskins Hill let me warm up a bit, then we descended the rest of the way into the historic town of Pescadero. There was another rest station, and I had another small snack. It was a bit cool, but quite nice for riding.

We then rode along gorgeous Stage Rd., by cute farms with goats, cattle, horses, and pigs. My legs were feeling tighter than they ever did in previous years, thanks to my limited miles of riding this year: easily a third of typical years in the past. So I was wondering how I'd fare on the biggest climb of the day: Tunitas Creek Rd.

Beautiful Stage Rd.
I skipped the next rest station, by the Bike Hut at the base of Tunitas Creek Rd. I felt OK, and cautiously started up the steep climb that followed, through the incredibly beautiful redwood forest that lines the creek and the tiny road. Again, the perfect weather helped, and while my legs did feel rather tight, I never cramped. At the top of this long climb (41 minutes for me this year, vs. 32 minutes last year!) was the last rest station, the same one as our first one, just in reverse so to speak. I grabbed a bit of food, refilled my water bottles for the third time, and set off.

The Kings Mtn. descent is super fast, and luckily I had no scary flats this time. The weather was heating up into the 80s, but it was still nice as we rode along Portola Rd., and back to HP in Palo Alto. That section is far more crowded than the rest, as we combine the riders who are taking the shorter routes. My ride ended up being about 81 miles, all told (which is more like 130k), with over 7,500 feet of climbing. I was a bit sore, but really not too bad.

I almost skipped lunch, but I decided to stay, and hung out with some of my good friends from the old HP team; not all of them are still with HP either, but it was great seeing them.

The next day I was rather tired, but I plan on doing this again next year, and I hope you will all join me for the "ride!" Thanks again!

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