Member Janet Lourenzo was kind enough to pen her experience at this year’s Cinderella Classic. Janet, like literally thousands of other women, took the start line of the 2012 Cinderella only to be driven to abandon the ride after torrential rain and hurricane-like winds made the event a literal wash-out. 2013 was much kinder to her! With no further ado…
One year has passed and the Cinderella was scheduled for April this year after the proper drenching of 2012. So, although I was determined to do the whole enchilada, it occurred to me that I hadn’t ridden this many total miles since the Cinderella of 1994!! The last twenty years have not been especially kind to me in a manner that would warrant such an escapade, but I had big plans for this year after buying my first carbon bike. The Princess should at least try to live up to the glittery fabulousness of the chariot, no?
So this year’s Cinderella was merely a warm up act for future (read: harder) events later in the season. My goal for Cinderella was just to endure the hours, to find out if I could sit (ahem) for that long, and to test if the various body part surgeries could hold up to such repetitive use. My training plan (read: fantasy/dream) was difficult to complete, as we all know the bone-chilling winter we had this year. My longest ride had been a mere 50-something miles, and I remember feeling trashed afterwards! In fact, I confess to being just a mosey-around-Tiburon-sunny-day kinda girl! My twenty-odd-miles lifestyle does NOT equal a metric century video game-style route around tutus and boas!
Resolved to my fate, I met my group of fellow Cinderellas very early that morning secretly wishing I was on the Different Spokes Evil Step Sisters’ lovely jaunt in Marin instead!!! We adjusted our tiaras and headed out under cloudy skies after the obligatory photo posedown!!! The ride itself was thankfully uneventful (no tits up at all) with the exception of a young girl who had a nasty sit-down next to a curb, resulting in a banged-up knee. Speaking of knees, I had on knickers for the cold and the pressure on my bum knee forced me to do a Lycra rollup by lunchtime, but I avoided the fashion police by skipping the next rest stop!
At one point after lunch I felt I was bogging down, especially on one infernal grade. Then like a vision from my past, in a stupid wide brimmed hat there was my coach Ted Fisher (he coached the Different Spokes women for the Gay Games 1994)! I reached the top of Lemon Drop Hill and typical Ted, he yelled at me to keep going. But I stopped anyway and gave him a hug, got my lemon drop and felt much better! Echoing in my head for many miles later was Ted’s voice, “GET ON THAT WHEEL”, “PULL THROUGH”, “GO NOW, NOW, NOWWW”!!!!
Alas, my understanding of a metric century was that it would be 61-something miles. This error in calculation—the Cinderella is actually 65 miles—was a psychological blow to me at the 62-mile spot, and the final three miles were TORMENT!!! It’s amazing what the mind/body connection can do in such times, but in this case I couldn’t reconfigure my mental state and I unraveled in the final moments. My knee was screaming and I was cursing the organizers for yet another intersection with a long stoplight. Where were those course marshals?? Mileage was the great unknown—well, at least for the last twenty years—and I was mortified that I had to go even one inch further! In the end I did keep to higher cadence and lower gears, mostly out of anger and pain, and rolled in at about five hours, or around a pedestrian 13 mph average. Tiara intact I felt that I earned another Cinderella patch after riding this year on my own versus the previous time, when I was twenty years younger—at 17+ mph average with a women’s race team in a rotating pace line!
Thanks to Monica for the bejeweled tiaras and to all the Prince Charmings, especially Ted, helping out this year! (Ted later mentioned on Facebook that he has been handing out lemon drops for the last 30 years!!) What a perfect reunion!