LIVESTRONG Challenge Day 2: Race Day and Lance Armstrong!

Race day started bright and early at 5 am. When I woke up, I wanted to open the hotel drapes and let the sun in until I realized I was up before the sun; needless to say, this was a first. I was a little anxious but excited. When we arrived to the parking lot, it was packed with cyclists. Some of these bikers were peddling bikes that cost more than my car; I was intimidated. 

Before the race
When we finally got to the starting station, the reality of the day set in. It was a mix of excitement, nerves, and being overwhelmed with the greatness of the event. It was empowering to be around other individuals who were all there for the same reason. Before we started, a man next to me said "I'm so pumped that Lance is here." WHAT. I asked him if I just heard correctly, and he said casually "yeah, that was just him on the intercom". I am at an event with Lance Armstrong and he's riding with us, this day automatically reached a new level of awesomeness. Luckily, my mom was able to take a few photos with her camera phone.


The first 10 miles were great; and for a split second, I was debating on riding the 70 mile ride. A few large hills quickly diminished that idea. We rode down a hill that tested the ability of my breaks, a near by rider said "Woah, thank god we don't have to ride up that hill. That would be a cruel trick." Little did we know that the second half of the ride is re-riding the original route. Hills were tough but people would stand outside their houses and cheer us on which made every second worth it.

We had had 4 power stops that were equipped with snacks, bike mechanics, music, massages, Potty Queens, and lots and lots of water stations. These became break meccas after the 30 mile mark. All the volunteers were really accommodating and so nice.

With 5 miles left, I was starting to feel the past 40 miles. When going up a hill, 2 policemen on motercycles past me and a cyclist say "on your left" and passed me within a couple feet. I didn't think anything of it until the rider next to me told me that rider was Lance Armstrong. OMG...my motivation for the rest of the race: find Lance. I finally saw him riding opposite the road of me, ahh! what do I say to the god of biking? I love you? You are the best cyclist in the whole wide world? Hi? All I squeaked out was a wimpy heyyy! But he waved to me and time stopped. My life is complete.

Crossing the finish line was an out of body experience. Everyone was cheering and expressing how appreciative they were t; they even announced my name on the intercom. It was a really rewarding end to my ride.

I plan on doing the LiveStrong Challenge again next summer, and hope to possibly take on the 70 mile ride. Plus, I'll be able to raise more money if I start fundraising at the beginning of the summer. This experience was life changing. It gave me the opportunity to participate in something bigger than myself. I started the summer with the achievement of my first 5k and ended the season with my first bike race. From start to finish, it was a summer of personal victories. Plus I kinda-sorta-in-a-way met Lance Armstrong, which (of course) was the cherry on top of a perfect summer.

Giving the bike a break, good job Colbie



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