The same year I was diagnosed, which was 2009, my roommate helped get me out of the spinning studio and onto a road bike. I’d started teaching spinning in the 90’s when I lived in Northern California, but now I was ready to get out of the gym and onto the road, with a little help. Pink Ribbons provided the basic training to get on the road and as long as no one was in my way, I was just fine. Stopping was scary, but long rides were so fun. I loved being outside and by 2011 my longest ride was the Katy Flatlands were I finished 50 miles. Soon thereafter, I bought my own bike. Rocco became my “hot date” as I felt like I could fly when we were together. Thanks to my friend Cynthia at Bike Barn, I was set up and ready to go!
Fast forward to earlier this year and while at C4YW (Conference for Young Women with Breast Cancer) in Seattle and add in the fact that I’d become a YSC State Leader, I was introduced to the original Tour de Pink! YSC started these rides even in Texas, but today we (YSC) host them everywhere but Texas. The West Coast ride is 200 miles but with a shorter distance option bringing the total mileage down to 165 over three days. The kicker is that the entire trail is along the coast and PCH1 (Pacific Coast Highway 1) which meant it was stunning! You know when you die and you get a montage of the highlights of your life? Well, all I know is that my eyes were wide open with full video that I just KNOW will be in that montage because I was in heaven. The beaches, the trees, the smell of flowers as we went through Malibu and all the towns in between north of LA all the way down to Ponto Beach.
All we had to do was raise $2500 and get ourselves to Thousand Oaks and then the full experience was master planned for three days. Everyone was amazing from the fabulous pit stops with PB&J sandwiches (which I had sans the wheat and on bananas with nutella!) to the SAG rides with friends offering to take me shopping or for a cocktail, our hotels were gorgeous and the massage therapist was booked solid. They moved our luggage and took care of us for three days of pure heaven. To my surprise, during the award ceremony I raised the most money as a survivor, while a caregiver who lost his fiance to breast cancer raised $60 thousand! Together we raised more than $440 thousand for the Young Survival Coalition while wearing survivor jerseys sponsored by Harley Davidson, Giant, Celgene, and a host of others. Liv is Giant’s line of women’s bikes and they even had a survivor design this years complimentary bike for survivors to ride. But you know I brought Rocco with me and together my max speed was 41.8 and boy was that addictive… I am ready to purchase luggage for Rocco so we can travel more often, well, anywhere where there are rolling hills and water!
The first day I was cruising and having fun when all of a sudden a ride marshall comes up behind me and starts pushing me up a hill with one hand on the small of my back. I’ve never known such power! I was amazed and when the ride was over, I wondered “Where is MY power?!” That first day I rode about 50 miles. Day two started out in rolling hills with fog. Have you ever been in a white-out? Like when you are boarding and you can’t see that far in front of you? Try riding super fast in the middle of the road virtually all alone going 28 mph in the fog. It was thrilling! But supposedly that day we missed some incredible views of the bluffs, but what we didn’t know didn’t hurt us. That’s the day I woke up feeling a bit nauseous and didn’t put two and two together because I was getting progressively more dehydrated. Plus, as the fog wore off I eventually got a sunburn and had to stop. From the SAG I got a ride to the hotel where I was a mess. I felt horrible, was snappy, and nauseous and couldn’t urinate or even think straight. It was bad. I worked for the following 16 hours to get ready for the last day of riding by drinking and relaxing by the pool. That night we had yet another fabulous dinner outside where people get married at the Marriott in Newport Beach. The award ceremony was fun, especially when you unexpectedly hear your name!
Sunday morning was the best breakfast when I rolled in and was completely surprised to find a juicer complete with kale and beets and a sign that said, “Please use the tongs.” Well, OK then. Using tongs I loaded up the juicer and took photos to share on Facebook because I was overjoyed. Plus, I needed the enzymes that I’d missed for two days to help with my last day even though I still felt a bit nauseous. The day went great until all of a sudden I hit a wall around 32 miles. I had to stop and get off the bike. But you know, as usual, I could not get sick, not when the next pit stop was a mile ahead. So, I rode in and refilled my Camel Back with Gatorade and got in the SAG-Mercedes for a ride to the beach entrance so I could ride into the finish. Riding along the beach through Muscle Beach, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, and so on was enlightening and I forgot all about my nausea. At the end, I got off my bike and headed to the beach for the Grand Finale Party where I finally got to put my toes in the water. Sweetness.
Since I raised more than $4 thousand dollars I now have the special Oakley Pink Survivor Sunglasses, Survivor Jersey, Arm Covers, Socks and stories of a fabulous YSC Tour de Pink West Coast 2013. Thank you to the Houston Aero’s, YSC and the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council for supporting Team Warrior Goddess earlier this year. Together there were four of us from Houston and we raised more than $12 thousand dollars!