Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fletcher Flyer Training Program

9hrs and 23 minutes after the ride started at 8am, Sunday June 3rd,  the trainees in the Fletcher Flyer Training Program finished riding the 100 miles for the first time in their lives.

Determination, grit and good humor is what got Sandra and Elizabeth through this ride.  Thanks to Chris Despard and Sparks coaching,  for providing the training plan and heart rate info.  Thanks Liberty Bikes for donating the time for tune ups and fittings.  Thanks Fletcher Flyer for letting us be a part of the ride.

It was amazing to watch as these women set a personal record almost every weekend as they added mileage to their long rides.

On the morning of the ride, I was just as nervous as they were.  I was confident in their training, in their dedication,  but I also know how quickly the tides can turn.

I set out for my ride, and when I got back to Fletcher Park, I ate, changed and drove back onto the course to cheer them on and send them some encouragement.  I ended up waiting at rest stop 5, 18ish miles from the finish.  One of the SAG people said they were not far back.  When they rolled up, they were chipper and looked great.  The filled water bottles, grabbed some snacks and headed out without wasting much time at all.  Very impressive.

I hopped in the truck and headed to the next rest stop about 9 miles away.  It was good to chit chat with some Asheville on Bikes people: Rachel, Steven and Matt.  I didn't have to wait long for Sandra and Elizabeth to ride up.  They were still looking good and maintaining a steady pace.  Again, they filled up with water/gatorade, grabbed some snacks and got back on the bikes.

I drove to the finish line to wait for them.  Meanwhile other riders were still finishing so I joined the small crowd at the finish line to welcome them home.  It was there that I realized it really doesn't matter how fast I finished.  We are all in this together, we all feel the same pain,  we all have similar goals.  And without helping each other, our goals will be mostly impossible. 

As they rounded the last bend, my eyes teared up and my chest filled with joy.   I am proud to have been able to take part in such a huge feat.  I am proud of Sandra and Elizabeth for sticking with it: the hot rides, the doubts, the sprained ankle ( that Elizabeth was not going to tell me about).

And on top of the ride, the trainees raised over $800 for Trips For Kids WNC!!

I cannot wait to do this again next year.

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Thank you Stephen!!! It was such an amazing experience - one that I will always remember. I am very proud of myself! And proud of Elizabeth too. Before training for this, the longest ride I had ever done was 30 miles!

We were both extremely nervous that morning and were just really hoping that we had trained enough. Thank you, Stephen, for your support and motivation throughout the whole process - from the first meeting to the finish line! We couldn't have done it without you! And to Chris for the training tips and schedule and for encouraging us to use heart rate monitors!

And I also have to thank all the people who donated to Trips for Kids and for Brenda and Robby Acosta and Gary Kyle for being at the finish line to cheer us home!

An amazing experience!