Sunday, October 17, 2010
I rode my butt off....
...only to find when I fell into the bathtub after the race that it was still there! Dern!
I had quite the experience yesterday under the clearest blue skies, sunshine and cool breeze. I participated in the Tour de Pink. It was one of those postcard days. I told my dear friend, Tracy who I was riding with that if I were a painter I definitely would paint this day.
Back to the race--50 miles on road bike---a little overly ambitious I learned. Fortunately, I was completely ignorant when it came to road races---otherwise I would have been scared to death and probably talked myself out of it. Once I was on the route with the 600 riders out to raise $$ for breast cancer there was no turning back. I would pass people that I couldn't believe were riding so I knew if they could do it surely I could too.
Fast forward--I did FINISH---but it was not easy. I heard your voice Collette--"Anything worth doing is hard."
Tracy was very supportive and although she could have left me in the dust, she stuck with my pace and encouraged me the whole way. We got to the 1st rest stop. I thought surely we'd already been 20 miles only to learn we'd been 6. (ewwwww) The next rest stop would be at 21 miles and I thought when I got off my bike I surely would not be able to get back on. Tracy made me eat a banana, apples, nuts, drink a gatorade, and re-fill our water bottles. We used the restroom and I was ready to get back on because I knew Grady and the boys would be at the 1/2 mark cheering us on. Easily found them at mile 25 for a quick photo op. 2 of the girls we started riding with called Tracy to say they had just crossed the finished line--OMG!! Through sign language, I tried to tell Grady I was in over my head and how could I go another 25 miles UPHILL---yes--I think 49 of the 50 miles were all uphill. I'm sure you're thinking "how could that be?" Keep reading.
We got to the last rest stop--Mile 35--only 15 to go----Yippee. That was a much needed rest and the volunteers were soooooo supportive and after re-fueling and laying on my bottom moaning for a few minutes in the grass--I knew the sooner we got back on the bike the sooner we'd be done. All I could think about was a steak dinner.
This is where you can start feeling sorry for me. We'd made it I thought about 43 miles---man---only a few more to go. Tracy told me she thought we were coming up on a REALLY LONG BIG hill. "Wait--what were the last 38 hills we did?" Anyway, I told her she was doing so well she could just power on ahead and I would meet her at the end. She said, "No--I will power up the hill, but I will wait for you. Just do whatever it takes to get up the hill. If you have to walk, walk it."
I think she knew I was getting really fatigued and didn't want me to make a mistake on my bike that could cause an injury or accident. As I was on my own for a bit, I started to get a 2nd wind, knowing I'd accomplished over 80% of the race, the sun was on my back and Perimeter Mall couldn't be too far ahead. I was in the home stretch--until---unbeknownst to Tracy and I someone had manipulated the directional signs---Uh insert A_ _ hole!
Experienced with road races, Tracy had determined there was no way the route would take us on Roswell Road so she turned back looking for me. Ignorant me, looked at Roswell Road, cussed to myself and thought--"the signs say turn left" I guess that's what I'll do. I am an idiot!! I started praying right there in the middle of Roswell Road. If I was lucky I would escape with my life. I couldn't believe this was the route but also I couldn't believe a lot of other things I'd seen this day so I plugged on. I did get on the sidewalk though and thought if I get pulled over i will just start crying and get the police officer to drop me off at Perimeter Mall. So I am trudging UPHILL on Roswell Road with half of Atlanta traffic whizzing by me at 70 miles an hour. I kept thinking I'll see a tour de pink sign at any moment---no signs. Lucky me, at this point my chain falls off. My hands were shaking so badly I didn't think I would get the chain back on, but I willed it back on and kept trudging---really trudging.
After what I knew had been surely 10 miles with no signs I finally saw Spalding Drive. I knew I could get back to Perimeter via Spalding so with my tail between my legs I made an executive decision to go it alone and get off course. I had no gatorade or water left, my legs were shaking and I knew I had to finish.
Shortly after turning on Spalding, a peace came over me as I saw about 6 riders coming towards me from the opposite direction across the street. I hollered at them--"are yall headed towards the finish line?" YES!!! They waited for me as I crossed the street and rode the last 3 miles with them. 2 of the riders were the cutest couple. He was actually pulling his wife's bike with her on it and riding himself up the hills we were cussing. Man---where was Grady?
Obviously I really screwed up, and as a bonus I got to ride an extra 5-6 miles!! As I crossed the finish line behind riders who had ridden 100 miles I was just happy to see Tracy and talk to Grady on the phone. 55 miles for me---took me approximately 5-6 hours but done--CHECK!!
I learned several really important lessons yesterday.
1. I can do it.
2. Always carry your cell phone.
3. ALWAYS carry the map of the route.
4. ALWAYS carry the map of the route.
Thanks Tracy for believing in me. Thanks Grady, Brock, and Mac for hugging me at 25 miles. Thanks John McDonald for fixing me up with a bike. Thanks Richard for the steak dinner and thank you all for your support and contributions to a good cause.