Hello and long time no blog!
It has been a very hectic couple of weeks around here. Work has been super busy and has pretty much kept me from everything else. Thankfully, things are slowing down a bit and I am definitely ready to catch up with all of you out there!
I know I still owe you a recap from my impromptu bicycle ride, so I thought I would share that with you today.
Redbud Ride 2014
The Saturday morning began extremely early (for me) at about 6:45 a.m. Start time for the ride was at 8 a.m., and though I only live about 5 minutes away, I knew I wanted to get up and get a head start on my morning. The flyer advertised riders could also start early or late, but “all riders should be on the road by 10 a.m.” I had already planned to start out at about 8:30ish in order to let the mass of riders go on before me. I haven’t rode a bike since about age 12 and I definitely didn’t intend on getting trampled at the start!
I quickly showered off to wakeup a bit and packed everything inside my pack I thought I might need for the day. In went chap stick, a Powerbar Energy Blend, a Clif Energy bar, my Epi-pen (I am allergic to bees), $20 in cash, my I.D., Ipod, cell phone, and sunglasses. I also grabbed my Camelbak full of iced water on the way out the door. (Sorry, no pic of all of this, I was in a hurry!) There was a pancake breakfast for riders at the start, but I was already running a little behind so I quickly chowed down on some waffles I had frozen in the freezer topped with PB and bananas. Did the job!
I actually live on the Redbud Route, so as I was loading my bike onto the rack, most of the other racers were whizzing by. Ready to go, I headed out to the start. I probably could have started from my house, but I wanted to head down to the Start line and check it out since this was my first organized sporting event. But then, I got all the way to Main Street and realized I had forgot my helmet at home. I really debated on just riding anyway, knowing I would be passing my house in a bit and could pick it up again. But I just knew as soon as I did that, I would surely crack my head on the pavement on the first turn. Turning around! #safetyfirst.
FINALLY, I got to the start line at about 8:45 a.m. and was relieved to see plenty of riders still hanging out at the breakfast. I mingled a bit and checked out the map posted for the route. I quickly snapped a pic for future reference. I had already decided to do the shortest route (the yellow route) at 23 miles. I thought if I felt good, I would shoot for the 34 mile loop (red route), and decided I would “wing it” when I got to that point.
I chugged an orange juice and stashed another one in my pack for later. After a pee break and a #bathroomselfie, I was ready to go! (By the way, just how NERVOUS do I look in this pic?!)
I set out and was at the bottom of the hill leading up to my house in no-time. It was a STEEP one, and I definitely felt a little less confident when I found myself hopping off the bike to push and walk the hill. I continued to tell myself, I’m sure lots of people have already walked this hill today, and I reminded myself I had, in fact, seen people pushing their bikes up the hill on my way to the start. Positive thinking for the win!
It was such a beautiful day with temps in the 60’s – 70’s and the sky was almost completely clear. After really settling into the ride I was SO happy to have decided to ride on this day.
The route had us winding through the country and there were lots of beautiful landscapes of mountains, pastures, and farm animals. What a lovely Spring day!
Though I thought I had been on every road in Laurel County, I was unfamiliar with the ride route and I had no idea how far into the ride I was. (Note to self: Get biking computer.) It was such a wonderful day and I was passing so much new, beautiful scenery I really didn’t mind not knowing how far I had gone. At this point, I just didn’t want the ride to end. I saw other friendly riders along the route, many who would shout out a “Hello” or “Good morning” as they passed. I even saw two riders with bike helmets decorated with Viking horns. So cool!
My ride was going pretty well at this point. I saw signs telling me the lunch stop was coming up and I already knew that was the turn-back point and halfway through the ride. I was definitely beginning to get a little tired, but was still enjoying the ride so much. Just before the stop, I passed a woman taking photos of the riders and later found mine on the website. (At this point in the ride, I had just reached up to scratch my head underneath the helmet and accidently ripped off the back plastic of my helmet. Womp, womp.)
I made it to the lunch stop at 1 hour and 23 minutes into my ride and was so happy to see plenty of snacks and drinks. At this point, I hadn’t had anything but a few sips of water since I left. Looking back, I probably should have fueled more during this first stretch of the trip, but more about that in a minute. I sat and relaxed a bit in the shade and shared ride stories with some of the other riders. I met a lot of riders who said this was not their first time riding the Redbud Ride and it is often one of their favorite rides of the year. I found out from another rider there was a total of 1,200 riders registered for the ride this year and was surprised to learn only 4% of riders are local! I snacked on a Cascadian Farms bar, banana and Gatorade while we waited for the rest of lunch to be served.
Soon, lunch was served! There was SO. MUCH. FOOD! I didn’t snap a pic, but there was a buffet of all kinds of delicious things. Hotdogs, chili, veggies, assorted brownies, cookies, cheesecake, chips, potato salad, and more! I grabbed a hotdog with chili, a bit of potato salad, a brownie, and some cookies for the road later. Such AMAZING volunteer support for this ride! I didn’t want to eat a lot because I was afraid I might feel sluggish for the ride back. After a bit more rest and a porta-potty break, I was back on the open road! I decided to stick with the short route at 23 miles, because I was definitely feeling it and didn’t want to push past my limit.
I could definitely tell a difference in my exertion on the way back. It seemed as if I was going much slower and the up hills had went from feeling only challenging in the 4th speed, to barely manageable in the 1st speed. I had to remind myself more and more to enjoy the beautiful day and the scenery. At this point, it was approaching 1 p.m. and the sun was baring down even more and the temps had risen to what seemed like the 70’s – 80’s. I constantly had to tell myself to NOT call someone to come and pick me up. I kept saying, You WILL get to the end. You WILL finish even if you have to walk.
And walk I did. Up almost every single hill on the way back. I came upon a couple of other women on the way back also walking and pushing their bikes up what I would have considered a small hill going the other direction earlier. Now the hill felt ginormous. We all laughed about how we couldn’t pedal up another single hill and then groaned out loud together as we rounded the bend to see an even higher hill.
I eventually got back to familiar territory and by this time, I was so happy to see my house! I considered calling it quits there, but I knew I wanted to actually go all the way to the finish and it was only about a mile more down the road. At 3 hours and 6 minutes into my trip, I crossed the finish line!
After the ride, I rested and basked in the glory of the finish with the other riders while enjoying the best, free peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chocolate milk I have ever tasted!
– This ride was one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life.
-Riding the route alone was such an independent feeling that I would advice anyone and everyone to do at least once.
– I think one reason I grew so tired during the ride is my body literally just gave out. I would have benefitted from fueling more consistently during the ride.
– This ride definitely helped boost my confidence in not only my daily training and how effective it has been, but also on pushing my limits!
– I definitely need to invest in some clip-in pedals. I think that would have made the ride 10X easier.
– Also, I need to invest in some biking clothes and gear if I really intend on riding more. A few things on the list: biking computer (with temperature gauge!), tire kit, bicycle basket (for farmer’s market trips!) and a lock for my bike.
– I plan on joining in more with our local bike club. I know we have one that’s very active and I need to make an effort to find out when they have their rides.
– I can’t wait to signup for the next ride!
In closing, I have to say I was very surprised at how NOT SORE I was the next day! Sure, my a$$ was sore, but I thought I would be can’t-sit-down-on-the-toilet sore, but I wasn’t! By two days after, I wasn’t sore at all. Thank you, Jamie Eason Livefit!
Although I wasn’t sore, I did forget to put on any sunblock and had a nasty burn to contend with over the next few days. The burn hurt way worse than my legs or butt!
What have you completed which you felt really tested your limits?
Do you ride? What’s the best ride/race you have ever done?