Despite a gallon of orange juice, echinacea and rest, I woke up in the middle of the night Friday with a 100º fever. My brother was fast asleep on the couch, having driven in that night so we could take the PATCO train to the City to Shore start together Saturday morning. I took a bit of Motrin to fight the fever and tried to sleep it off. I woke at 5am as planned; my temperature was down to 99º, but in the process, I got a migraine. Aaron and I headed out to the start of the ride, hopeful that I'd miraculously feel better.
This ride was important to me for a number of reasons. First, it's for an incredible cause. And the more I prepared for the ride, the more people I learned had been directly or indirectly affected by the disease. Second, I met my fundraising goal of $1,000 the day before the ride. So many incredible friends and family supported me in my efforts, and I can't thank all of you enough! Third, it was a chance to do something with my really amazing little brother. I'd planned to ride with his company's team, and was so looking forward to doing the ride with him. And finally, it's a loooong bike ride, and an incredible physical challenge. If there's any kind of physical challenge involved, you can bet I'll be into it!
The ride ended up being an incredible experience, just as I'd hoped. the 79 mile course wound through beautiful New Jersey countryside, through small towns, and around parts of the state I didn't know existed. The ride was extraordinarily well supported and organized. All the holes in the road had been circled with orange spray paint to help us pick them out. Volunteers were cheering for us the whole way, and it was inspiring to look ahead of me down the road at a wave of brightly colored jerseys for the entire route.
By the time we got to Ocean City after 7 hours on the course, five on the bike, I was completely out of energy, but absolutely elated. I've never been so happy to get to the Jersey shore! The finish line festival was great. All the riders got medals and t shirts, hot dogs and pierogies, and they had a live band playing. It was a really fun way to end the day, and the entire event seemed to go off without a hitch. The whole team found their luggage, which had been shipped to the finish line by truck during the day, and headed off to the house they'd all spend the night in before riding back the next day. The 79 miles that day would be all I'd manage for this year's City to Shore. I jumped on a bus provided for riders who only planned to do half of the ride, and made it home just after 6pm.
I was so disappointed I couldn't do the whole thing, and still feel, to an extent, that I let my supporters down a bit. I wish I'd been able to complete it. I hadn't been sick in so long, it was so disappointing to have the illness hit when I really needed to be healthy. But I learned the consequences of not managing my stress and not taking care of myself the hard way, and I'm so incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to participate at all.
Congratulations to everyone who participated! Have you done this event, or something like it?