Sunday, July 12, 2009

San Jose Livestrong Challenge 2009 Ride Report Win Susan!

$64,286.90 is the amount of money raised by Team Fat Cyclist for the Livestrong Challenge in San Jose this year which was more than any other team participating in the event. One of the perks of being the top fundraising team is being able to line up at the front of the "ride" directly behind the Police escort. There were some pre-ride instructions and for a brief moment they opened the mic to our Team Captain Matt Chapek and gave him a minute to explain who Team Fat Cyclist Fighting for Susan was. He did a great job as Captain, thanks for all the time and effort in getting us organized, well done. After Matt was done there were more instructions "This is not a Race", we were told not to pass the Police escort and off we went.

Riding behind the Police escort was great, they kept us at an easy pace for the first 15-20 miles. It was nice to ride as a team for the first while and be able to talk a bit. After a while I noticed a lot of green jerseys forming at the front, little did I know at the time but these guys and gal would serve as my personal domestiques through the majority of the ride. I later found out that these guys were from team Beat the Clock.

A small gap began to open between the green jerseys and the rest of us. This is just a "Ride", yea right. I made a break for it and was able to bridge the gap, my plan was to hang on the wheels of the lead group as long as possible until I cracked then I would sit up and take a more leisurely pace and enjoy the ride.

Around mile 40 the group had thinned to 10. We pulled into an aid station to refill bottles an fuel up. We talked briefly and were off again. Usually I start to hit the wall at about mile 50 but today I felt strong, I even made a couple of token pulls on the lead group. It felt good to be at the front but I was obviously the weakest rider of the group and quickly found myself sucking wheels again.

At Mile 60 we went through some rolling hills and I started to fall back, I looked up and one of the guys from team Beat the Clock was coming back for me, I got on his wheel and he reeled me back in to the group. I wish I had a picture of this guys legs. It was all I could do to hang on his wheel and I am pretty sure he wasn't even breathing hard. I have never met these guys in my life yet they were treating me as if I were one of their team members.

Metcalf Road was around the 70 mile mark, I got dropped hard. I actually did the walk of shame three times before I got to the top. That thing is steep. "If I only had one more gear..." At the top of Metcalf was an aid station where I could see team Beat the Clock gathered, I figured that I would continue and soon enough they would pass me and I would get dropped again.

After the summit of Metcalf was a screaming down hill, I was glad to be able to ride it alone big groups make me nervous, it was supper fun. As I suspected my break didn't last long and the lead group came screaming by me, one of the riders yelled out grab a wheel as they went by so I did and was able to ride on their coat tails to the finish line. The lead group of ten all crossed the finish line together with a time of 4 hours and 48 minutes which is by far the fastest century I have ever done and really the only one that I felt relatively strong all the way to the end. It's amazing what riding at 7-9000 feet will do for your fitness at sea level. I had one of the best rides of my life today, it was amazing.

I just want to say thanks to Elden and his supper power. You know when he asks you to do something you have to do it. This year our family summer vacation had a purpose. At the appreciation banquet for the top fund raisers Matt Chapek shared this from Elden's Blog, a post about what he would say to cancer.

"I've got a lot of friends, and we're working together to help fight it. Sure, it's just a little drop in the bucket, but there are a lot of us. And we're all going to put or drops in the bucket. And someday that bucket will be full, and we will have beaten you, cancer. And that's a good reason to do this.
Because I can't bear the thought of my kids having to someday face cancer themselves."
Here are some links to other team member ride reports.
Others coming soon as I find them.


  1. Sigh. I dropped a bottle at mile 12, bent over to pick it up and by the time I was pedalling again, you all were long gone. I spent the entire day in the first chase group, about two minutes behind your group. So frustrating!

    At least Mike was up there, representing the light blue and black of Mission Cycling!

  2. Ryan, that is SO cool!!! Love that you were able to stick with those guys...even better that they adopted you into their team. That's awesome. Great meeting you and your family at the picnic!

  3. Ryan!!! You really did us PROUD! It was great to meet you finally, and thanks for all the kind words. I won't lie and say it was all easy, I think I almost had an ulcer by the time of 'race day'...and I wasn't nearly as fit as I would have liked. I got dropped by YOUR group, then the 2nd group and finally found some of our team that more fit what I was able to do (note: after riding like mad for the first HOUR trying to hold a place with the police escort, I realized I had to back it down to survive the final 80 miles. Ok...92 miles. But Andrew was there for a while, then Max and Mike were my saving grace...Max pulls like a TRAIN into the wind on his turns... THANK YOU! But we finally lost Max at the top of Metcalf. But I was faltering at the end, he was like a horse that smelled the barn! Anytime we had anything like a piece of road with no stops, he fired up that BIG diesel engine of his and accelerated away like he was on a friggin HARLEY! I'd somehow latch onto his wheel and we roared the final 20 miles, except for all the stupid stop lights. I think I finished with a 5:44 or something like that (ride time, not TOTAL time). Your time was phenomanal! So glad you found a group that you meshed with and were able to put in that kind of time! Anyway, it truly was an honor and a privliege to help Elden out with the team and to meet you all! What a great weekend...we of Team Fatty were treated like Rock Stars by the LAF people! Note to everyone out there: DO ONE OF THESE EVENTS! You will NOT regret it!
    Matt C.
    Matt C

  4. great report, and fantastic ride, Ryan.


  5. Awesome story from the front of the pack. Team JD brought up the rear but it was our first century and we rode Metcalf bottom to top.

  6. Way to hang with the front riders. If you're interesting in some other views from farther back in the 100-mile pack, check out my latest blog post.