My Tulsa Tough Experience - Part 4: It's Good to be a Diva

Kindly suggest you start with  
Part 1: Meeting Shawn Brett
Part 2: The Schedule
Part 3: Settling In

I slept well and was delighted to wake to reasonable temperatures.  I put on my kit, packed my pedals and saddle, and we left for the Diva ride.  Not only were the Divas going to get pointers from the Primal and Vanderkitten athletes, but they also got breakfast at Fassler Hall.  I was relieved to see vegan options at a German restaurant and filled my plate.  Carol knows everyone, so I met several new friends as I ate and explained how I had ended up at Tulsa Tough.
Fassler Hall - Diva Breakfast

Just before 9, when everyone was preparing to ride, I walked down the street to Lee's Bicycles and waited for Chris the mechanic to arrive.  Since that night's Blue Dome Crit was happening out their front door, the mechanics were planning on working all night repairing bikes. To come in an hour early just for me was awesome!  I'm telling you, It's Good to be a Diva and have connections like Shawn and Carol.

Three Cheers for Chris the Mechanic at Lee's Bicycles!

Carol tried to delay the ride for awhile, but understandably, the Divas were ready to roll.  She even took the ride past the bike shop but once we knew Plan A was blown, it was full steam ahead on Plan B.  I was going to have to put my head down and time trial out of town until I caught them.  

Once I was reasonably happy with the bike fit, I took off.  Within a few blocks, Shawn showed up in the pace car and I got on his rear bumper for a block but then waved him off.  I knew he had plenty of other things to do then babysit me.  

Friday Regret - I should have taken more advantage of the Pace Car

I rode hard for almost 30 minutes, but didn't see them even on long straight stretches.  I was starting to question my route and wishing I still had Shawn pacing me, but I figured they weren't too far ahead so just kept digging deeper.  Luckily my legs and lungs obliged. 

I stopped at a light and was contemplating a solo ride when the Divas pedaled out of a rail trail to my right.  I jumped on the back and started recovering.  I was officially on the Diva ride and sucking a pro athlete's wheel.  It's Good to be a Diva!
Carol pointing out the 2 routes to choose from - go big or go home

We had an awesome ride, with the Primal Pro Women giving us tips along the way.  Special thanks to Kori Seehafer who rode in our group.  I met several of the Divas and they were extremely welcoming, even if I wasn't sporting a pink Diva jersey.  Best of all, 
I realized that Carol and I would be great riding partners during the GranFondo and I was looking forward to the challenge.  

We finished the ride and went back to Lee's so I could put the bike on the CycleOps and dial in my fit.  I had some pain after 30 miles, so I needed to get it right in order to survive tomorrow's 109 miles.  Carol and I then had time to go out for a delicious lunch at Sonoma and chill out at the house before heading to the Tulsa Tough Opening Night activities.

Shawn's Trek with a few of my accessories - we had our ups and downs but were friends in the end

Tulsa Tough was rocking when we arrived and the races hadn't even started.  The vendor tents were busy, the announcers were working the crowd, and the downtown skyline made for a nice background.

Tulsa Tough Friday Night - McNellie's Group Blue Dome Criterium

Carol and I assisted with Diva jerseys and whatever else we could, but there were so many volunteers we were more in the way than anything.  Every now and then, we would see Shawn or he would find us.  It was really cool to see him in his element and to witness the final product of all his hard work.
The GranFondo Registration Tent was the place to be

When the pro women were lining  up, we found a sweet spot to watch and settled in.  I got the cowbell going and we were treated to a show, including a flyover of 3 WWII planes.  

Pro Women's Race Flyover

The women attacked from the opening lap and were rewarded with huge crowd & sponsor primes.  There were a couple crashes and then a big one at the end, but everyone was ok.  It was incredible to watch and I couldn't believe I still had 2 full days of Tulsa Tough to experience.
Pro Women on 1st corner
Pro Women Pile-up - These athletes are truly Tulsa Tough

With a 7:30a GranFondo start time, Carol and I opted to skip the men's pro race and go home to sleep.  Carol wanted to try and beat her previous time, so the plan was to go hard and skip several of the 1st rest stops.

My only concern was running out of water.  It may have been a "cold front" for Tulsa, but it felt Oklahoma hot and humid to me.  I trusted Carol's strategy and planned to do what I could to help her reach her goal.  I packed, set the alarm for 6, and hit the sack.  Tomorrow I would find out if I had what it takes to be a Tulsa Tough Diva.

You'll have to wait for the next post to see if Carol beat her time and I survived the Tulsa heat.