My big ride this past weekend was everything I had hoped it would be and more.
I arrived early Saturday morning, unpacked Grace from the vehicle, and trudged through the mud, courtesy of some pretty bad storms the night before, to my team’s tent.
I felt a little out of place among the more experienced riders with all their gear – padded shorts, spiked shoes, etc. I had on capri running pants and some old tennis shoes. (Now full of mud.)
We started the ride as a team, but to me, the pace was too slow. I powered up a hill and continued to ride at my usual speed until the first rest stop. I waited there until the rest of the team arrived. I hooked up with a few of them, including my boss, who agreed that if we were going to do the 100 mile trail, we better pick up the pace.
Even still, I felt the pace was too slow. But since I’ve never ridden more than 30 miles in a day, I figured it was probably best they were pacing me. I had fun pushing the two guys to keep up with me though. I’d hang with them until a hill, and then I’d race past them to the top. They’d eventually catch up and then fly past me the down hill.
All the while, they marveled that I was riding without padded shorts, and that I could power up the hills without clips. (Clips? What are clips?). I just shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know,” I told them. “I just pedal.”
I did hit a hard stretch about 60 miles into the ride, however. We turned onto a 15 mile stretch of highway with a slight incline and the high winds (leftover from the storms) directly in our face. I’d never been more happy to reach a pit stop.
The last 20 miles were filled with more hills, but as we climbed closer, my heart swelled with pride. Me, a “rookie” as they called me, had ridden my first century ride.
8 1/2 hours after we started, we crossed the finish line, and immediately pedaled to the beer stand.
Jack, Me and The Boss
Close up of my proof
After a quick shower at the gym, we headed out for a much needed dinner. You burn a lot of calories riding a hundred miles.
Afterwards I didn’t feel like pitching my tent in the mud, so I laid blankets down on the floor of my hubby’s Tribute, and tried to sleep.
I awoke Sunday morning, a little sore, but determined to ride the 75 miles I’d been bragging about the last few months. Getting back on the bike was a little uncomfortable at first, *ahem* but soon I was feeling good.
So good that when I got to the 100 mile cutoff, I decided to go for it again.
The rest of the team thought I was nuts, and maybe I was, but I love a good challenge. This time, without anyone to slow me down, it only took me 61/2 hours.
It was a great weekend. Riding with thousands of people all there to support the same great cause was pretty heartwarming and inspirational. I immediately signed up to ride again next year, and I’m making my hubby go too.
As for me, I’m quite proud of what I accomplished, especially since I just got my bike a few months ago.
Now on to find my next big challenge……