Saturday, August 7, 2010

Riding the Tour de Nick

Today is a off to a great start! I rode the Tour de Nick this morning with some friends and am now about to shift gears, clean up and head to my 25th high school reunion. What a day this will be!

The Tour de Nick is a charity ride that takes place each year in Northfield, Minnesota. It's put on by the local bike club, the Northfield Bicycling Club, in memory of one of their riders, Nick Sansome, and benefits an organization called SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education).  Nick lost his life to suicide in the winter of 2003. I didn't know Nick but knew his mother - we were in a book club together for several years. I also sort of knew his father who was the doctor who checked Ryan out after he was born back in 2002. I think it's great that the Club has this ride every year (this is the 8th year) and am glad I got to be a part of this ride.

This morning it was raining when we arrived at Mike's Bikes for the Tour de Nick to begin. There was a bit of lightning and thunder but the radar showed that rain was going to be the worst of our worries so the ride went on as planned. Even with the rain a good number of riders showed up, maybe 30 or 40, and we all headed out a bit after 9:00 a.m. There were three ride options, a 10 mile family-friendly option plus a 20 or 50 mile ride. I opted for the 20 mile ride (as did most of the riders). Owen rode with me as  did my friend, Paul (who I will see again tonight at our 25th high school reunion), and another friend, Roxy, her husband, Mike, and their daughter, Molly.

Molly and Roxy pumping up tires to get ready for the ride.

The 20 mile route had some good hills and I found the ride a challenge but I did keep up with the group pretty well. It certainly helped to have some friends to ride with as we talked much of the way. Roberto, our group leader, made sure the slower riders (Me. Yep, I was at the way back) didn't get left behind and other riders from the club filtered to the back of the pack from time to time to make sure I had company. I never ended up riding alone - I'm glad for that!

Owen and Paul, just about ready to ride. Note the gentleman in the background wearing the very cool Tour de Nick jersey.
Guess what? You can buy one! Find the Tour de Nick Facebook page and get info on ordering jerseys there.

I must say that cycling in the rain isn't my favorite thing - but once I got soaked the rain didn't bother me much. The rain kept the ride cool. Cool is better than hot and humid any day.

Here are some highlights from the ride:

  • This ride was my first ever group ride and I sort of, kind of, kept up with the group
  • I got to ride with several friends which was really fun
  • My bike computer showed the magic number of 400 on this ride - that's 400 miles on my road bike since the end of March (500 total if you add my hybrid miles)
  • I only shifted down to the small ring once on this ride and that was on a big hill. This is a huge improvement over earlier this year and enormous improvement since I started riding last year. 
  • I learned, via Paul who has been very helpful with my riding, that I can think of hills as something to look forward to. I'm not sure I'm there yet but it's something to work towards
  • We had a nice, hot, latte at Goodbye Blue Monday after the ride
  • I feel good to have helped raise money for SAVE!
  • I had fun!
Thanks to all of the people who helped organize this ride - and to my friends who showed up to ride with me. I'm already looking forward to riding the Tour de Nick next year!

Here I am (the short one in the middle) with Molly on my left and Roxy on my right.
We're all wet and somewhat tired after the ride but very glad to have ridden (and very glad to be done!)

By the way, a few years ago one of the members of the Northfield Bike Club, Bill Metz, wrote a book dedicated to Nick. The book is titled Saturday Morning Rides - it's a collection of essays, art and bike ride routes and maps. It's a gem. Proceeds from sales also benefit SAVE. You can download it at the Northfield Bike Club website. Just click HERE.

Okay, it's time for me to take a shower and put on some "girl clothes" (a quote from one of my favorite movies, Always) and head to my high school reunion. How is it that I graduated 25 years ago when I feel so young? ;)

Oh, and if you want to see my senior picture I've included it below. 

Myrna Christine Gatheridge. Richfield High School. Class of 1985.


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