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Recollections of Tour to Tanglewood 2007

eebee's picture

Tour to Tanglewood was a blast this year. Full of friends, skating, tornadoes, sun, hills, cookies, purple, wind, missing luggage, canceled flights, and gloriously bad singing.

After the 6 Tour to Tanglewoods I have been fortunate enough to skate in, the whole gathering to me is starting to resemble a huge family of 1,500, and growing every year. Each part of the weekend brings its own joy:

- The Friday Night Skate, which was tornadoed and rained out this year, but gave Blake and me a chance to get to know T2T newbie Josh, speedster from Durham, in the deluged Bur-Mil parking lot. 

- The Friday Night Dinner at Lucky 32 in Greensboro. David and Marlys get the 'real trooper' award for sitting in traffic for 3 hours from Raleigh, and STILL making it to the team dinner. And Mike from MI gets the 'patience of a Saint' award for not throwing in the towel and going home when his flight to GSO was canceled, or when they lost his luggage. He arrived later that night.

- The not-quite-awake-yet bleary eyed team photo first thing Saturday morning. Nothing like forcing a smile to wake you up! The hustle and bustle getting your skates on by your car in the Volvo Trucks, NA parking lot, and trying to squeeze sense and logic out of your brain for a last check on what you need at Tanglewood overnight (shoes! Don't forget the shoes!). This is complicated by the hilarity of seeing and greeting familiar faces.

- The start line - wow. Usually we're back with the 'C' riders waiting our turn to roll out under the yellow banner. This year, however, the mostly purple-clad roadskaters had the honor of leading out first! This was incredibly exciting to me. We got a good 2-3 miles down the road before the majority of cyclists passed us. To add to the excitement, the local authority had recently strewn loose gravel liberally across a steep down- and uphill, with a sharp left turn at the bottom no less!

- Day one skating and rest-stop feasting. I think several of us brought new meaning to the "Taste of the Tour" by making a point of literally tasting everything the rest stops had to offer from cookies to protein-bar nuggets. S'ok when you're burning 6,000+ calories in a weekend. Baby Faire had an extra special snack at one of the rest stops, and Bethany gets Mother of the Year award for giving birth, buying a jersey, raising money for MS, traveling down to NC, cycling and still having what it takes to feed the baby. Beautiful! Daddy Danny gets some credit too :-). Oh and thank you to the last rest stop of the day for not even pretending to be PC with the athletic snacks: bowls of plain and peanut M&Ms minus the nuts. Tropical Storm Humberto had blown through fast enough the night before, so wet pavement was not an issue. The temps heated up nicely. In a 5 person paceline at the gates of Tanglewood, it looked like we were home safely, but a frame-clip and a couple of trips later, Ken and I had a wee fall! Ken put a large gash in his knee. That's the reddest, most oxygenated blood I think I have ever seen! The first aid volunteers at the half-mile away finish line tended thoroughly to his wound, as Ken's twin boys pointed at the coolness of their Daddy's booboo.

- Arrival at Tanglewood Park! Hot 'n' bothered. Lemme get these skates off! Where's that food I can smell? Limitless sweet tea! Warm grass.

- Tour to Tanglewood Talent Show in the evening. Boy am I glad I caught this! I must admit I wasn't really paying attention to the distant singing, instrument-playing, or dancing, until a couple of people started belting out their glorious version of the loathsome, most contrived effort of a cheese-ballad: "Total Eclipse of the Heart". How happy I was to hear this song slayed in such a spectacular way. DID ANYBODY GET THAT ON VIDEO?! I have no idea who won the talent show, but I hope it was the two that wailed that song into the ground. Their rendition leaves Bonnie Tyler in the dust.

- Village Inn hotel and free shuttles. What else is a hotel room for but flinging your belongings throughout, and tumbling onto the bed to rest your weary 46 mile legs? The wait for the free shuttles back to Tanglewood in the morning (for those of us too chicken or lazy to camp out) recalls the will-we-get-there-on-time excitement at the start line. It's a challenge not to scald yourself with coffee whilst trying to ram your overnight bag, skates, helmet and body into the minivan before somebody else jumps in front of you :-)

- Tanglewood start line on Sunday. Wet grass, cold hard-boiled eggs, hot oatmeal, and chocolate milk! It was chilly this year, in the low 50's F as we waited 'til the last minute to ditch jackets and get rolling. We stopped at the bottom of the hill in front of the meadow to take the last Roadskater.net team photo. Setting off, Craig saved my day by lending me his armwarmers. Toasty! Sunday's skate was blustery, but with a four-strong paceline taking turns, we made it with minimal cramping, making sure to take a detour around the liberally strewn gravel right before the finish line. This alternate route's road surface was simply gorgeous.

- Volvo Trucks NA finish line. After 90 miles over 2 days, my legs were starting to complain. Motivated by salty processed cheese and potato chip sandwiches, I stood in line for the cold buffet in the Volvo cafeteria. A chance to see fundraising God Charles Brockington, to hang with the remnants of our team, mostly sitting in a daze, and the opportunity to profusely thank the Bike Response Team for staying out there until the last cyclist was home (did we leave them any food?).

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