Good days, bad days, u-turns, and babes

How the heck did I manage that?????  The long version.

I hear from a lot of people who’ve done chemo or are doing chemo say, you’ll have good days and bad days…  And the good days can be really really good.

Guess I had me a good day Saturday!

Chemo III was uneventful, but Friday after was…  rather unpleasant.  I wouldn’t say I felt absolutely crappy, but I did find myself on my yoga mat for about 30 minutes in the middle of the work day, laying down trying to just feel the f*ck better.  I rated that day with a “pretty cruddy” in my chemo log.

So, to be honest, my expectations for Saturday were… well…  not that high.  But  – Babes in Bikeland V!  This is an annual bike race here in the twin cities – an all female alleycat that has been topping my list of fun races since its inception, and it was on Saturday.  I seriously love this race.  I love the women who show up and race it, and I love the organizers and all the volunteers.  Bottom line – it’s a blast.  What’s an alleycat, you ask?  The short description is that you get a manifest with some number of stops, and the fastest rider to get through all the stops wins (sometimes there are cool extra categories, like first rookie or out-of-towner).  You route, you ride, you suffer.

I debated just riding it versus going for it… and in the end, I just couldn’t NOT go for it.  Right?  I figured, if I went for it, then I’d suffer and love it… even if I had a slow finish.

I managed to do all sorts of regular things during the earlier part of Saturday, including taking children to tennis and grocery shopping. And then, thanks to good friends, Tre had an afternoon playdate while Cheryl was in class, so I was able to get to the start with plenty of time to study the manifest and route.  That was awesome – Thanks S and G!

The best start direction was up a little hill, and people were packed tightly together.  So, I decided to go with the run and mount approach, which seems to work well for me.  And we were off!  OOOF – I felt…  well… not that good.  And OF COURSE – I had to screw up in northeast Minneapolis (everytime, man, everytime).  I had to u-turn TWICE on the way to the little park on Marshall….  Gack!  Somewhere around that point, my body seemed to warm up, and my pot of suffering became accessible…  and I found myself actually riding pretty well.  Probably around Kitsune Cycles, I started to feel… decently?  Who knows exactly where I was in the race… but I know there were plenty of people ahead of me.

Whatever, I went with it!  I pushed my pace up… and rode the Ace of Spades (Erik’s bike)….  My mind and body were racing!  And it felt really great.  Until probably around…  Sea Salt, which was a stop down by Minnehaha Falls.  Seriously, I must have tapped out the happy suffer pot (the one that hurts so very good!)…  After completing the balloon hop thing, I seriously thought I was gonna hurl.  I ran and remounted… and really had to focus myself on rhythm….  to get that wave of nausea to back off.  As I rode along Minnehaha, which is a good long stretch, I focused on smooth pedal strokes and deep breathing.  About maybe 1.5 miles later, I was okay again… pulling into peace coffee…  stamp…  nausea comes back – oh – I see – perhaps it’s stopping that’s bad.  Well, the good news there?  I had only one stop left.  Guys working at that stop asked me to do something cool.  I’m showed them my port – lame.  But, I got my stamp and was on my way…. heading west on the greenway… focusing on a smooth rhythm – hands in the drops.  Rolled into Sisters Camelot…  managed to turn in my manifest….  And … hmmm … next minute or so is a total blur…  Just trying to breathe and recover… and I was shaky.  I really left it all on the race course!  And…  Holy Shit I Won!

Really?  How the heck did I do that?  I’m so grateful, though.  I had a good day!

Already looking forward to next year – Cheryl and I are gonna do Babes together – on our own Peacock Groove bicycles….

Photo by Eric S.  He was kneeling on the bridge, getting great photos of loads of the 252 racers of Babes in Bikeland V!


About rleepenn

I'm a mom and a chemistry professor, and I love to ride bikes! On July 29th, 2011, I received the news that I have breast cancer. This is my blog....
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4 Responses to Good days, bad days, u-turns, and babes

  1. Susan Burroughs Soltis says:

    Sounds like a great day despite the nausea. Way to go for it!!

  2. Lynne says:

    omg, Cheryl is going to do it? That is so cool! Of course that means you have to run some kind of weird race or something, right? 😉 Alley Cats sound like so much fun. Wish I could go more than a block without making a wrong turn or being lost, because I’m missing out, obviously 😦

  3. lee says:

    lynne – you can so totally race alley cats – who cares if you get a little lost? i never seem to race one cleanly – that is – without misturns… just plan on doing it next year for sure – okay?

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