This past weekend was a pretty busy weekend! My legs are still sore from the ride on Saturday! I did manage to have the longest training week so far for this year (11 hours!) and my longest bike ride ever!
Before I get into the details of my longest ride, I’ll preface it with my Friday night first. After work I hit up the pool to swim 2000y and then went to a local karaoke bar close to my house for a work happy hour. Swimming always seems to take longer than you would think between changing, the actual swim and then showering at the Y and once again (well, I do this at least) showering at home with my regular shampoo (I have a special anti-chlorine body wash and shampoo my sister bought my for my birthday last year). So I showed up later than planned and figured I’d just stay a little bit longer than planned to make up for it. All day it had been raining and the weekend forecast looked to be just about the same. The plan for Saturday was to do Vino Fondo, a supported ride put on by a local bike company that had varying distances, 28, 56, 89 and 130 miles. My buddy R and I were planning on doing the 89 with 10+ other tri club members, however R and I had decided we might scale back the planned 89 mile ride if it rained and even possibly not ride if it was pouring. It was supposed to be in the 50’s which is cold just riding, add rain into the mix and it’s just miserable… I had already experienced it the weekend before and knew I didn’t want to do it for 89 miles. So by the time I got to the happy hour, it was still pouring and I had convinced myself that the ride was not going to happen on Saturday. So, instead of my water, I had a few beers and stayed out later than planned (late for a ride the next day, 10:30p). Not the best prep for a long ride.
I woke up at 5a, looked outside and my stomach turned into a huge knot. It wasn’t raining. Not at all. It even looked like the street was drying up. Oh boy. Oh dear. So this ride is really going to happen? With that thought, I started bustling around my condo, getting all of my gear and nutrition ready because I had to get to R’s house around 5:45a, so we could leave at 6 and arrive at the ride by 7 since it was an hour away. I hadn’t packed anything the night before because I was just certain we wouldn’t ride, so I’m sure it was amusing to watch me scramble. I managed to get to R’s only 10 minutes late (I had to get gas too) and a little after 6a (with some bike rack issues slowing us down) we were off and on our way to Augusta, MO to ride a HILLY 89 miles.
Once we arrived, I ran into my coach who was also riding and chatted with her for a bit and then we headed to packet pickup. Once we had our bibs, we went to the dining area of the winery to get some eggs, sausage and potatoes, I couldn’t pass up a free breakfast! Plus, one of the many things I love about cycling is that you can usually get away with eating anything before a ride, unlike running where I have to plan several hours before my run what I’m eating in fear of angering my stomach. Soon we were getting our bikes, gear and nutrition ready and headed to the start. And we were off!
One mile into the ride I noticed by gears weren’t shifting right and my chain was making a grinding sound. Lovely. I had changed cassettes in preparation for the huge climbs we would have to make (so I would have bigger gears to spin up the hills) and I guess the cables were off, making the gears drop and chain rub. It was going to be a very fun ride. About ten miles in we hit a huuuge hill. I sighed, shifted into my small ring and prepared for a long day. I managed to spin my way up without stopping (lots of people were walking their bikes) which I was proud of but it made me more scared of what was ahead, since this wasn’t the biggest hill. On R and I went, over more rolling hills, a misting of rain and lots of fun conversation. We stopped at mile 22 for a bathroom break (I wasn’t sweating much at all, and with relying on liquid nutrition, that isn’t the greatest combination) and then we just kept on going, spinning up the hills and enjoying the countryside scenery. At mile 40 we were riding single file on a busy road I had a moment to reflect on the day and how things were going, and realized I was having an absolute blast. Even with the annoying bike gear issue, things were going really well. My nutrition plan was working (mostly Infinite drink), my legs felt like they could keep going, and we just talked, and talked, and talked. I was giddy! I have never had a ride feel like this before, usually I’m stressing about keeping up with the group I’m riding with, or constantly worried about a flat or crashing, but this one was relaxed and just fun. I honestly just felt in sync with Peaches and everything that riding had in store for me that day. I think R has to be my new riding buddy for IMAZ!
So on we went, chatting it up, joking around, and just enjoying the day. Finally around mile 75 I started to get sore. Things were starting to hurt and even though I was still having fun, it began to really feel like I had biked 75 miles. Of course that’s when the biggest hill of the ride decided to show up. They even had timing mats to record how long it took each person to get up the hill for an additional challenge/competition. I took a deep breath, R said “I’ll see you at the top!’ and off we went.
Spin, spin, spin. Oh good lord. You can do it. Oh good lord. I don’t want to topple over – scraped knees just don’t look good on an adult. Keep going. Oh boy. Am I moving?! Ohhh-boooyyy. If I pull up any harder on my bars they are going to fly off. Just keep moving. Oh. Ouch. Burning feeling. And then, I saw it, the top of the darn hill. I pedaled through the second timing mat and was relieved to have finally climbed the last big hill. How mean to have it at the END of the race. 8 minutes and 19 seconds of brutal hill climbing. That’s a long time….there were so many thoughts going through my head that I will spare you 😉 That’s a big hill alright. R came hauling behind me and off we went to finish the last five miles. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) they had to cut out five miles from the planned distance, so the ride was only 84 miles, but it still was a PR distance for me, so I was happy and a bit relieved to just be almost done.
We finally rolled back to the winery and rode together through the finish chute, the clock read around 7 hrs and we had been riding for 6:20, wow. Just wow. It didn’t feel that long! I didn’t think we had stopped for 40 minutes, but I guess that time adds up over a long day! When we had dropped our bikes off at the car and changed into clean (warm) clothes, we went to the finish area and there were several tri club members gathered at a table, eating and having a beer, cheering for us when we walked in! The distance and the day for me was a big deal, but it was more of a personal achievement so I didn’t expect anyone to say anything, so it meant so much for everyone to be congratulating and cheering for us. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, joining my local tri club was one of the best decisions I’ve made 🙂 Such a wonderful group of people!
After refueling with a turkey sandwich and an IPA (and water) we headed back home. Boy was I tired and sore! JMR and I went to dinner after I got home, and I celebrated with a big hamburger 🙂 Sunday I woke up not as sore as I thought I would be, and dragged my rump to the Y for a recovery swim. Worst swim ever, so super slow 2500y swim, but I got it in and that’s all that I cared about. Afterwards we went to a small local mexican restaurant for lunch and then I took a nap and layed low. Thank goodness today is a rest day, because I am STILL sore!! 😉
You are such an inspiration, Ree! I wish I had 1/8 of your will power and motivation. I am so proud of you, your dedication, and your hard work!!!!!! Keep it up!!!!!!!! I wish I could travel with you to cheer you on!
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