OK. It's been a while since I've been here, and a lot has happened. I'm sorry if people were reading and then the posts just suddenly stopped (yeah right). Gonna try this again.
Here we go.
Since the last post of my catastrophic climbing, I went to Las Vegas to do my first century ride. And I did it. I completed the whole damn thing.
In 12 hours.
I'm no good at hills. Things were going great! I was in a comfortable place in the pack (or peloton, depending on your knowledge of cycling terms) until the 2nd aid station at Red Rock National Park, where the cat. 2 climb began. I refilled my bidons (water bottles), had some orange wedges and bananas (because I thought the potassium would help with the cramping that actually didn't occur until after the final aid station, thanks bananas!), took some pictures (because I think I look awesome in kit) and I took off. As the hill began, the fat guy in the Fat Cyclist jersey got into the granny gear and started pumping his fat legs as fa(s)t as he could go (Spoiler Alert: It wasn't very fast).
By the time I got to the 3rd aid station, I was the one of the last 3-4 people on the century route.
Which, of course, did wonders for my self-esteem.
And so, I passed the Nevada wild donkey preserve (yes, really) and headed off to finish the ride. The ride was pretty uneventful (Thanks, God!) until I realized the broom wagons (called thusly since they sweep people up) were a'comin'. The ride started at 5:30, and we had to finish by 5:00 or else the organizers would have the riders still on course be picked up and taken to the finish line.
Needless to say, I didn't want my first attempt at a century ride to end like that. And so, once my cyclo-computer read 4:30, I panicked, and did a little math. If I could maintain 15mph for half an hour, I could make it before 5:00! I continued with my ride, and felt an oh so familiar twinge in my calves. They hurt. So bad. I stretched them as best as I could while still riding, but my mph was seriously decreasing. I started asking the spirit of a deceased family member to help me (A close member of the family passed away 2 weeks before the event) and kept going as best as I could.
And then I saw it! The 100 Mile Marker! I'd done it! I'd completed a century!
Oh wait. this ride was 103 miles.
I was so close. So frickin' close. And then my cyclocomputer read 5:00. I pulled over to the side of the road, finished what little water I had left, and felt very very sorry for myself. And then I realized the broom wagon hadn't come for me yet. And THEN I realized where I was. No more turns. Just a straightaway to the finish. Feeling re-energized (or as energized as you could feel after cycling for about 12 hours) I rode on.
As I got to the last stoplight, it turned red. And the truck in front of me was one of the organizing group's trucks, picking up the turn markers left on the road. The driver stuck his head out the window, and asked how I was feeling. Rather than telling him that I was exhausted and my calves were cramping and I was thirsty and drained and hungry, I simply replied, "I want to finish."
He smiled, and pointed out the finish line was just a short climb and a U-turn up ahead. I thanked him as the light turned green, and off I went.
As I rode into the parking lot, I saw my fiancee waiting for me. I unclipped my shoes, straddled my bike, slumped onto my handlebars and started crying.
I had done it. My first century ride. In about 12 hours. A rush of emotions had come from nowhere, and I would not be moving from that spot for a while.
Alannah came over to me, trying to console me. A volunteer came over to me and gave me my finisher's medal. Some guy from team in training came over and massaged my calves, then gave me pizza and ice cream (yes, really). And so, I got off my bike, pulled up a chair, and ate my pizza and ice cream. A few minutes later, the broom wagon came in, and some sad looking riders hopped out of those SUVs. I'm so glad I kept going.
Alannah and I finished the day by spending dinner with her uncle and his family.
It was a lovely experience, and I certainly learned a lot about myself and my limitations. Will I do it again?
My next century ride will be the Livestrong Challenge: Davis. Alannah and I will fly out to Davis, CA for the weekend of June 24th, where I will join with the other members of Team Fatty: Fighting Like Susan as we ride our bikes in support of a great organization. We are raising money for Livestrong, and if you can, please donate.
And right before that, on June 10th, is the Redondo Beach Triathlon. Yup, doing that again.
It has already been a crazy year. I did my first bike race (different story for next time), CicLAvia happened again (different story, blah blah blah), and I just love riding my bike. Hopefully this time around I can stick with it and share these experiences.
Questions? Comments? Cheap shots? Lemme know.