Tour De Cookie is kind of like a scavenger hunt on bikes, with the bounty being cookies and the proceeds going to the Tucson adaptive rec center, and the Kids’ Try-athlon. So it’s a really cool event. This year riders could choose a 31 mile long course, or an 11 mile short course. I was tired from a week’s worth of training and hoping I could convince my husband Zac to do the 11 miler, but he noted that there were only 2 cookie stations on the short course and 9 on the long course. Those that know Zac know he’s all about the cookies, so I was stuck riding 31 miles for cookies.
Holy cow it was freezing this morning! We rolled into the Brandi Fenton Park parking lot and the temp gauge on my Jeep said 37 degrees. Ugh. I donned all the clothing I had brought with me and got the bike ready. I brought my commuter cyclocross bike, which has a rear rack where I attached my commuter trunk. I was prepared to haul a lot of cookies! Zac did the same and attached one of his panniers. We were not going to be limited in the number of cookies we could haul. My bike also had a small furry Cookie Monster attached to the front. He has a hinged mouth and each time he opens his mouth, he yells “Cookies! Kawabunga! Yum Yum Yum! Wha ha ha!” and then he burps. Since he was on the front of my bike, he would talk each time I went over a bump or rough patch in the road. On roads like Oracle I have a rapping Cookie Moster.
We got to the start line and lined up with all the other Tri Girls. Everyone was bundled up but there was a ton of purple out there! At 8:05 AM we took off and the event was underway. I was really mad at myself for not packing my winter cycling gloves. My hands hurt so bad from the cold that I wanted to cry. Zac and I decided to follow the long course as it was laid out on the map and cue sheet, so that we could also follow the course markings. There were orange arrows with a “C” marking where to turn. Our first stop on the map was Bodycentral on Oracle and Magee. Last year this was the furthest stop away, and many people skipped it. I thought this year the organizers put them first so that they would get all the early traffic and wouldn’t get jilted, and it also allowed everyone to string out a bit. It was 10 miles and a ton of hills to get to the first station at Bodycentral. I had remembered from last year they were down a hill, and you can’t see the shop from the road. But as we approached the area there were no signs or balloons or anything. Had we missed the turn? Zac’s dad, who was also riding in the event had their address written down, and sure enough we were in the right spot. We rolled down the hill of the driveway and up to the front of Bodycentral.
No booth. No people. NO COOKIES! Crickets chirped. A lone tumbleweed rolled by in the dusty wind. A baby cried in the distance.
WHAT?!? Are you kidding me? We had just ridden 10 hilly miles and were eager to taste the sugary goodness of cookies only to be greeted with an empty parking lot. Hmm…well, maybe they moved their station on the road for better visibility? (Long stretch here but I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt). We went back down Oracle all the way to the intersection, and there was nothing. That is kind of a downer for a charity ride. Oh well. On to stop #2 and Team In Training we go. Their booth wasn’t too far away, but unfortunately they were packed with people and were running low on cookies, and we were only 1 hour into the event. I think the first booth not being setup caused an overflow to the second booth. But the TNT folks were cheery and doing their best. Zac and I decided to only spend 1 cookie dollar there so that they would have more cookies for the others still coming in. We still had a bunch of other stops to go.
We continued on to stop #3 on Stone and Grant at the Ameripsych booth. Much less traffic here and a good selection of cookies. Since we were behind in our cookie spending, we spent 2 cookie bucks here. Next we ended up downtown at the Tucson Roller Derby booth. They were easy to find as there was a gal on skates with a cookie sign showing us where to turn. They had a great booth setup with lots of derby folks on skates. If Tri Girls skated, we would be like them…it was like a parallel group. They had a fabulous selection of cookies so Zac and I splurged and spent 4 cookie bucks there. A guy from the paper was there taking photos, and as I took my outer jacket off he kneeled down and started taking a bazillion pics of the Cookie Monster on the front of my bike. I also got my pic taken by the roller derby folks with a derby girl and Cookie Monster. The guy from the paper asked me my name and I put in a plug for Tri Girls. So I’ll have to see if Cookie Monster ends up in the paper. ;)
Zac and I had to pick up the pace because I was hoping to go to TTG swim after the bike ride. Next stop, the TTG booth! The purple tent was setup on the UA mall, right by the pool. It was easy to find, especially with the TTG banner up across from the booth, and it was the perfect location. Keli, Shari, Kathy, Joyce, Eve, Leslie, and Jess with Patches the Tri Pup had an awesome spread, and it was so fun to chat with them. Zac and I spent 9 cookie bucks here each, and I think I took about one of everything. Leslie and the other TTG bakers had some tasty stuff that we couldn’t resist. I wasn’t able to get Krista’s truffles though, because those were already gone. :(
Our next stop was the Lightning Rugby booth, and they weren’t far off of the 3rd street bike path. They were on the side of the street, and I have to hand it to them for being very organized. They had a line of cones and they directed the bikes into the cone lane. They had someone mark the cookie sheet on our race numbers while the others got cookies, and the whole thing went very quickly. They were limited on space with the street they were on, but it all worked out well.
We had a couple of miles to our next stop, United Cerebral Palsy of So. AZ. They had volunteers on the street corner directing us into the parking lot, which gave us a safer way to get back to where their booth was in a back parking lot. A couple of their guy volunteers were bike valet, and held our bikes for us as we went to the cookie booth. These folks had a ton of spirit, with music and their volunteers were dancing. They had the cutest cookies shaped like bikes, so I had to buy 2 of those. They also had games, but Zac and I couldn’t stay for the games because we were running out of time. Last year we got done with the ride after they had taken the finish line down, and this year we weren’t going to let that happen. So we had to essentially grab our cookies at each booth and go.
A couple of miles to the next stop at a park, and we were at the Janice Meyer booth. Zac and I bought 2 baggies each of these cool little turtle things. They had taken a small pretzel, melted a Rolo on top, an stuck a pecan nut on top of the Rolo. Oh my gosh were they tasty! I’m going to have to figure out how to make them because Zac and I thought they would make excellent endurance ride food. You know, when I’m not eating Snickers bars. ;)
As we rolled back towards the Brandi Fenton park, we made a quick stop to help some TTGs with a flat. Zac popped the tire back on quick, and add some more air to the tire with his pump. Next we hit the Green Things booth. We had ridden past their plant nursery on the river path many times, and now we know how to get in the front way. This was kind of a self-serve station, where you just grab a brown paper bag and put cookies inside. We talked to the nursery guy for a bit while we got our bags situated and he told us stories of lost riders. The story of the missing Booth #1 had also made it to him, as I guess other cyclists had told him the same story.
Only one more booth to go, and that was the TriSports booth at the finish! Zac and I decided to hit the booth first and got our last 2 cookies. Then we turned around and rolled through the finish line and got our finisher’s cookie medals. They are little ceramic medallions that look like dark chocolate chip cookies. This time we got through the finish line before they took it down. I quickly unpacked my gear, said goodbye to Zac, and left to get to TTG swim. Overall it was a great Tour De Cookie!
Thanks so much to the Tri Girls that volunteered this morning in the cold, and those that made wonderful cookies. Thanks also to all the TTGs and honorary Tri Guys that came out and rode in this event to show support. A big thanks to Shari for making the TTG booth at this event happen. I think it is awesome TTG can give back to the community and support events like this.
Joyce took these great pics, which I'm stealing from Facebook. :)
Zac and I at the TTG cookie stand together:
The bounty of cookies I bought from the TTG stand: