I am writing this report.. as the Grand Tour is a 200 mile ride ( Actually I had 204 on my computer) I found out about this race after reading several e-mails by a woman cyclist called Tammy, she was wanting many questions answered on training for a double and although I am an ultra triathlete the words of wisdom where the same.... Get on the bike and ride. That is when I discovered she lived in Victorville not renowned for great climbs and friendly cycle paths!! I invited Tammy to train in Glendora and a friendship was formed where she would make the 35 mile commute to ride in the San Gabriel canyons.
Our first ride was with several other local female cyclists and we went to Mount Baldy via the Glendora Mountain road... the Alpe De Huez of this region!! a nice 8 mile climb of switch backs!!! It was on this ride we discovered that Tammy was blind in her left eye and had MS, on top of all that when under pressure would get tunnel vision and yet here she was wanting to do the Grand Tour.
I signed up the next day and I would train with Tammy 1 to 2 days a week usually climbing and spending at least 4 to 5 hours on our bikes. never complained about the terrain or how hot it was. Just the questions... what kind of lighting system would be best, whatabout fuel what was I using to sustain myself.
When the Grand Tour came around we went our own way. I cycled with a group from Cycle connections led by Brent, all very experianced double century riders. Tammy had her husband for support in case anything went wrong. We set off just as day light was breaking about 6am and Tammy 4.30 am.
My day was a very fast first century 5 hours 27 minutes, then the pace cooled as the group suffered set backs like flat tires, staying too long at check points etc... still total time was 11 hours 20minutes not counting the aid stations... I had not needed my lights and was pleased to have Hammer Nutrition at all the stations. Also having the guys to ride with was great as unlike a triathlon each cyclist is given a paper map to follow.....I just followed Brent and the group.
Tammy had a different day, starting early was a smart thing and we saw each other at the 2nd check point. Tammy did stay with the group for a few miles then we reconnected at the 100 mile mark. That was the last I was to see of Tammy... did Tammy finish ? you bet she did and I have to say it was not easy for her.Lost once and her husband helped her find the correct route, Pitch black the Pacific Coast Hwy South was very busy with traffic, her light was a beam in the darkness, tired and only seeing shadows the last 27 miles is terrifying in daylight yet despite her handicaps, being honked at a few times managed to negotiate traffic to make a left turn to the finish line. I had already left but had a chance to talk with her that evening and she sounded tired but VERY happy and proud.
When you meet and train with athletes like Tammy , you can never complain it just does not matter in what position you finish but actually having the guts to sign up for a race and put in the training. I am blessed to have a friend like Tammy and really admire her grit determination to finish the grand Tour it was a pleasure to train with her. She was a fantastic student!!
I would like to thank AVON of Puerto Rico as every mile I do they donate money for a cure againest Breast Cancer,Hammer Nutrition,Hawaiian Tropic Suncare, Polar Heart Monitors, Fuelbelt, Kool n Fit, Profile Design, Rudy Project USA, Serfas Tires, Spinergy Wheels, Tri all 3 sports and my then fiance Al Wiscovitch who allowed me to race the week before my wedding!