The Final Chapter

10 06 2010

I promised you at least one more post!  I promised you pictures!  I’m here to deliver!  Please enjoy the pictures with some accompanying commentary and some closing comments.  Thanks so much for your continued support of our goals, my blog, Team In Training, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the fight against cancer.  With this event we are one step closer to finding the cure.  GO TEAM!!

(Click on pictures for larger versions)

View from our hotel.

Another shot from our hotel.

The team at the inspiration dinner the night before the ride.

Tara and I before the ride.

Oklahoma Chapter before the ride.

Me blowing snot rockets before the ride. Gotta keep the nose pipes cleaned out to breath. **Photo courtesy of Travis

The starting area of the ride.

A view down to Emerald Bay after the first big climb.

Another shot of Emerald Bay.

The island in the middle of Emerald Bay. Some rich lady used to take a boat out here for tea every day apparently.

This is me after the first brutal climb of the day. Legs burning, lungs burning, feeling amazing. I killed this climb 😉

A great shot of Heather. Congrats to Heather for being the Oklahoma Chapter's top fundraiser!

Our first rest stop about 25 miles into the ride. HUGE thanks to Mom, Tara, and Angie for driving SAG for the day!

Michelle (left) and Debbie (right) - The mother/daughter duo!

Tara and I at the first stop 25 miles in. I was feeling a little better at this point.

Lance, Myself, Christine, and Heather at the Truckee stop about halfway in the ride.

Here is dad stopping at the 60 mile mark. At this point he asked, "How far ahead is everyone?" To which my mother is replying, "They aren't, you're ahead."

Maintaining adequate sodium and calorie intake is important. Lays potato chips are perfect for this!

Myself followed by Coach Gary leaving Tahoe City about 60 miles into the ride.

Coach Christine, Debbie, and Michelle after the 8 mile climb up Spooner.

Lance, Debbie, Michelle, Christine, and I crossing the finishing line! 100 Miles!

There you have it.  A brief picture tour of the 2010 America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride at Lake Tahoe with the Oklahoma Chapter of Team In Training.  I had my doubts throughout the training season.  It was hard, it was tiring, it was the biggest challenge I’ve ever put my body and mind through.  It was also amazing, the most rewarding experience ever, and the single most valued personal accomplishment I’ve had.

I finished this ride a completely different person than who I was one year ago.  A year ago I told myself I would never do anything like this, no way, no how.  Well, here I sit today, an alumni of Team In Training who has finished a 100 mile bike ride.  In addition, I gained some very valuable friends who went through all this with me.  I’m extremely fortunate that I had my dad there with me to keep pushing me through all the midweek rides, and I had all of my teammates and coaches to push me through the weekend rides.  Because of these people and the experiences I’ve had I will continue to pursue fitness and health through cycling.  Cycling has become a great passion of mine now and I will continue to cycle, hopefully for the rest of my life.

So, before I continue, I want to give a gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who got me across the finish line: my dad for supporting me and always pushing me and telling me I could do it and for taking on the challenge with me; my mom for all of her support and cooking late dinners and driving SAG and putting up with our crazy training schedule; my sister Shani for telling me her experiences on this very ride two years ago and making me feel better about all my worries; my sister Dena who (with Shani) pioneered this family’s way into the Team In Training program and for giving me all of her tips she learned in her marathon training and all of her words of encouragement; the rest of my family for the support and words they gave me through the process; Tara for putting up with my schedule and always supporting me despite how tired and lame I could be, and for giving up a day of spa and massage to drive SAG; our coaches Christine and Gary and our mentor Bob, you guys gave us the tools we needed and were always there to pick us up off the ground and pull us to the finish when we needed help the most; to the teammates who suffered through this and thrived through this and who all became amazing friends; all of my friends and family who donated their money to pursue the goal of ending cancer and giving me the ability to complete this challenge; Team In Training, LLS and Jill and her team for organizing all this; and finally to the honored heroes who we do this for.  Thank you so much and I love you all whether you were mentioned or not, you all deserve great praise for doing your part in this goal.  Whew…

I gave this post the title “The Final Chapter” but that isn’t really true.  It’s only the final chapter of this short story of our journey through fundraising, training, and completing this amazing event.  The real story isn’t done yet.  We have more work to do.  Fortunately, Team In Training raised over $6 million dollars at this event alone and they finally surpassed $1 BILLION raised for the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  That’s great news, but we haven’t beat cancer yet.  We have to keep going and keep fighting.  We have made huge strides towards the ultimate goal of beating blood cancers and someday we will, we just have to keep fighting.  Our family has now completed a total of 2 marathons and 3 100-mile bike rides.  We aren’t done fighting, and I hope you aren’t either.  Because of this, I want you all to stay tuned.  There may just be more in store for the future 😉

Thanks again for reading and your continued support.  I hope we can count on all of you in the future when the Long family decides to get up off the couch and get back to training!  We run, we cycle, someday we might triathalon, all in the name of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team In Training.  And who knows, maybe next time you can join in the fun with us!  GO TEAM!!

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3 responses

10 06 2010
Glenna

Congratulations!!!

10 06 2010
Dena Donnell

I am SO proud of you and Dad!! I can’t wait to see what the next chapter holds. Love you!

10 06 2010
Heather Slate

Great post Geoff! It was an honor to ride with you and the others and I hope we can all stick together for future rides in Oklahoma and future TNT events! It definitely was a life changing experience and we’ll never be the same now that we’re in the 100 mile club! Woo!!!!

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