LIVESTRONG Challenge 2010 report: lessons learned on the road

LIVESTRONG Challenge 2010 report: lessons learned on the road

It was a really special part of my cycling year to finally ride my first LIVESTRONG Challenge this past weekend after having to sit out last year and settle for photographing the event. This year I was able to ride thinking about the wonderful people in my life who had tragically been affected by cancer.  Every mile of the 45 miles that I rode was ridden thinking about each of them.

Laura, Buddy, and Helen, three dear friends lost to cancer, were memorialized on my back bib right over my heart.  And I had my parents with me – three cancers between them and currently healthy, thank God – tagged onto the seat of my bike, too.

LS2010Especially bittersweet for me this year was that my Fairy Godmother was in Houston’s MD Anderson hospital having surgery for pancreatic cancer while I was riding.

And yet, the wonderful thing about being a part of the LIVESTRONG community is that it inspires hope and celebration.  It’s about focusing on what we CAN do.  And on Sunday what I could do was ride for my friends, exceed my own limitations, and remember that I’m also a walking (or in this case, riding) miracle.

After rolling out with 3100 other riders it took a while to seed into manageable pace groups, but we did after about 15 minutes.  If you’ve never tried riding down a major highway with people an inch or two on all sides of you and nothing but bodies for over a mile…well try it.  It’s a unique experience which yielded several important yet humorous life lessons.

Lesson #1:  Don’t slow down to ride over a cattle guard.  Ride ‘em fast!

So about 90 minutes into my ride Lance and actor Patrick Dempsey (Gray’s Anatomy’s “McDreamy” but don’t make the mistake of calling him that he asked “for God’s sake”) blew past me with a peloton of about 25 riders, including one of Lance’s Radio Shack teammates Levi Leipheimer.  The deep “WHOOSH” sound they made as they whirred by at 25 or 30 MPH while I was stopped was unmistakable and a sound I’m not likely to ever forget.

This happened as I was stopped on the side of the road getting ibuprofen from a route medic who thankfully had some. This stroke of luck saved me from a migraine after I rode too slow over a cattle guard and wrenched my neck.  I’m always so careful about disturbing my back and neck and who knew slow was B-A-D?

This scene also pretty much cleared up any delusions I had about being a “real” cyclist. At least for now.

Lesson #2: Don’t answer your cell phone while on a bike that is moving.

My only boo-boo came IN THE PARKING LOT when I learned this humiliating lesson.

I’ve always had a no cell phone rule on my bike. And I made an exception this one time because I was rolling so slowly as to be barely moving when one of my riders called. We were just about to roll out and one of us had been unable to locate his teammates in the throng of 3100 riders after 3 phone calls and 30 minutes. So as Mother Hen, to a group of over 400, some of whom were riding with us, what am I going to do – leave him hanging after he drove all the way out to Dripping Springs to ride with us?

After landing on the pavement in the launch chute in front of 3100 of my closest friends I figured that stopping one handed doesn’t work, even when you’re only rolling about 2 MPH!!  No harm, thank goodness, except to my ego and a spot on my knee the size of a quarter.  I’ll live.

Lesson #3: if you ever want to hurry anyone up say “race you for the beer!”

This works like a charm.

After feeling pretty sluggish off and on for the last 10 miles my riding buddy and I raced each other to the finish and rolled in about 21 MPH for the last 2 of our 45 miles. It felt GREAT.

As we crossed the finish line I was shocked to hear emcee Sandy McIlree as he called out “there’s Allison Peacock of Team Austin Cycling Meetup” and he called out our team stats.  I can’t lie.  It felt great.

I can’t wait to see the pictures.


iPhone Photo :: The memorializing and honoring of loved ones affected by cancer is part of the LIVESTRONG ride experience.

By | 2017-12-18T21:43:54+00:00 October 26th, 2010|Healthy Lifestyle, Patient Empowerment|10 Comments

About the Author:

Allison Peacock is a Spiritual Wellness Practitioner and the Practice Manager at Lake Travis Integrative Medicine. A mind-body medicine expert for more than three decades, she is a passionate teacher of Integrative Medicine approaches, including self-care, building resilience, spiritual transformation, self-regulation and Earth-honoring spirituality.


  1. Loving the Bike October 26, 2010 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    I love your tips….very nice. It’s cool that they called out your name, team, and the stats. I’ve ridden three times and not once have they called out even my name.

    It was great being part of this event with you, Allison…and you did an amazing job at organizing everything and helping people reach their donation quotas. Well done, my friend.


    • Allison Peacock October 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Darryl! As always your support – and now, involvement – is treasured.

  2. Matt McGinnis October 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Allison, thank you very much for sharing your experience. I’m thrilled to see others with the same passion to help people suffering from cancer. Participating in the fundraising for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Livestrong Challenge is one of the most rewarding things I do. This year was extra special for me because my college roommate – a cancer survivor – rode with me. We were fortunate enough to attend the donors’ recognition dinner with Lance, Levi, McDreamy et al on Saturday and left inspired to raise even more money next year. Oh, and I think I also committed to ride 90 miles. See ya on the road!

    • Allison Peacock October 26, 2010 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for your comments, Matt! We had a cancer survivor supporting our team as photographer this year and new teammates on our brand new team that certainly made it a year to remember. We’ll be right there with you next year for sure!

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matt McGinnis, Allison Peacock. Allison Peacock said: Lessons learned on the road with my fellow @LIVESTRONG riders – #LIVESTRONG #ATXChallenge […]

  4. Alexandre Garrett October 26, 2010 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and for the tips. You are a strong and wonderful woman for riding in honor of your loved ones. I’ve been in touch with the LIVESTRONG Foundation about HonorBibs, but they are stuck on their write-on back bibs. If you are interested in riding next year with a customized photo back bib, check out Or email me your photos and I would be happy to make you some at no cost. Thanks for inspiring me.

  5. Gregory Phillips October 27, 2010 at 5:44 am - Reply

    Great to hear all went well, 3100 riders, WOW.

  6. Myrna CG Mibus November 11, 2010 at 12:35 am - Reply

    It blows me away to think of a ride this big – 3100 riders, WOW (to echo Gregory Phillips’ comment above).

    Will you do the 45 again next year? I seriously would like to come down and ride. 45 is a good number of miles for me. I looked at the longer routes and the hills kind of scared me off (not to mention that I didn’t quite have the money/time to spare to get down there this year)

    • Allison Peacock November 11, 2010 at 7:13 am - Reply

      It’s absolutely a wonderful experience, Myrna. Will definitely ride with you if you can make it down next year!

  7. […] fall I rode LIVESTRONG with Fairy Godmother’s name on my bib because at that very moment she was having a long awaited surgery for pancreatic cancer.  Even […]

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