This past weekend I did an event called the 24 HOURS OF BOOTY. Great name for a cycling event. It was started several years ago by a Charlotte lawyer who decided to ride his bike for 24 straight hours around a loop that is known by the locals as the "booty loop". He had a few sponsors that first year, and raised around $5000 dollars. The next year, a few of his friends did it with him, and they raised more money. Eventually, it has turned into an event that has raised over 1.1 million dollars this year, with 2 events...Charlotte and Columbia, MD, which is the event I rode in.
I have been fund raising for over 4 months, and ended up with a total of over $5000, which was good enough to be in the top 10 of individual fund raising. I'm very proud to be able to say that I finished in the top 10, and the event organizers definitely made me feel special as well.
When I got to the event and checked in, I knew the weather forecast was calling for rain...so I pretty much brought everything I own as far as bike clothes. I never once thought I would need the 2 pairs of long tights that I brought with me. (I did), or the rain pants that I brought from work (life savers). About 15 minutes before the 4pm start on Saturday, it started to drizzle, and eventually, by 4:15, it was coming down pretty hard. After the first ceromonial lap wearing the yellow jersey I earned (by raising over $3000), I immediately switched to the rain gear.
I met many amazing people at the start line. First, I rode next to a man named Lance, who told me he was 24 weeks out from having prostate cancer surgery. His doctors advised against him riding the 24hob, but he was determined to prove them wrong. I admire Lance for his determination, and the many others that I met along the course that day.
As I rode along, I talked to a man named Ron, whose sister-in-law had passed away on September 1st. We talked about our fund raising, and when I told him how much I had raised, he thanked me, on behalf of his family. I saw him throughout the ride, and we talked a little bit more later. He just finished his first triathlon, and was very interested in my training for Ironman.
The rain was insane. It poured and poured and didn't stop until 10:30 am Sunday. I rode from 4 until 7:30pm..then it was time to eat dinner...at 9pm was the VIP celebration. That didn't end until around 9:30 or 10, so I got changed back into my tights and rain pants and headed back out. Rode until a little after midnight, when the pizza party started...and when that was over went back out until about 2:30am. I called it quits for the night with 86 miles in.
I slept for about 3 hours in the tent, then went to breakfast (still raining), and got back out on the course at around 7:30 am. I rode most of the morning, and stopped for lunch and a few times to fill my bottles. I ended up riding until around 2:30 pm, and finished with 161.2 miles. Overall, It was a great event...and definitely one that I will look forward to doing again.