As a typical runner/triathlete I sometimes find it hard to pat myself on the back without a small dose of "you could have gone harder" or "maybe you should have gone faster." However, in regards to this weekend's 104 (or 106 depending on whose GPS you ask) miler, I am perfectly content with how I rode. In fact, I wouldn't change a single thing.
Considering that two weeks ago I had a slight meltdown and left a ride due to anxiety I am even more pleased with myself for getting up so early on Sunday morning to head to a ride with a distance I have never before seen on a course that I was afraid to look at and with a mass group of serious cyclists. For the record, the farthest I'd ever ridden up until Sunday was 64 miles. I like to go big, apparently.
Now, I must admit that on Saturday evening I had a single, solitary moment of, "Oh. Shit." Should I do this? Can I do this? The thought was fleeting because I had too much invested to turn back now. I'd asked a few friends to come to this ride, I'd posted on this here "accountability machine," and my confidence for Augusta was in need of a boost. If I can ride 100 miles, I can ride 56 with some hills. At least, this is my current rationale. To be continued...
Anyway, as I mentioned, I had asked a few friends to come to this ride. Of course, not all of them were going to ride with me due to, ahem, differing speeds. I'm still not cruising at 20 MPH over these distances so I was beyond relieved when my friend Pete let me know we could drive over to Sebring together and that he'd stay with me the whole way. There's a special place in Heaven for Pete.
On the two hour drive to the ride start, at a historic hotel, I made Pete pull over twice for my nervous belly issues and when we arrived I was still antsy but excited. I'm not quite sure when I realized I had chosen a "century" ride of 105 miles but it dawned on me that those last five were going to piss me off. The Bok Tour Century is part of the Tour of Sebring which is three days worth of riding. I'll just take the one, mkay? Thanks.
Pete and I grabbed our ride bags with our sweet ride t-shirts (holy tie-dye Batman!) and we ran into Cay-See, KC and her hubs Joel, and Jan (AKA Little J). Now, Pete could have stayed with this crew and finished a helluva lot faster than we wound up finishing but he stayed with me as promised and was a God send. All of these people are cycling machines. They are seriously amazing cyclists. I just happen to choose ridiculously athletic people for friends. In fact, the speedy group was done well before we were. Sorry Pete!
The time neared 7 AM and all of the cyclists headed outside to line up. I started getting really nervous at this point. I looked around and saw all of the riders all suited up and fancy. And I noticed there were so many in front of me I was afraid to clip in for fear I'd have to stop suddenly if the front group staggered for any reason. Pete noticed and told me it would be fine. The final directions and safety instructions were given and everyone started moving forward. I did a weird shuffling scooting thing without clipping in and I'm sure I looked like a total fool but hey, at least I didn't fall or run into a parked car.
The ride started and was uneventful, which is always a good thing in my book (hello squirrel killing and falling over). Pete and I weaved in and around a few groups and rode with a couple who seemed to be triathletes (they are easy to spot in a pack) but they weren't too friendly so we parted ways with them.
At mile twenty one, which came up very quickly, we stopped at the first rest stop of the day and I cheesed it up for a photo with the food. I was really excited for PB & J's, Oreos, and bananas. There were lots of bars and cookies and the cycling nectar of the Gods, Gatorade. Everything looked tasty and delicious at this point.
|I think the lens was wet. But yay Oreos!|
|My view for most of the day. AKA Pete's ass.|
|Me and Pete post ride.|
|My computer said 104, Pete's said 106. Whatevs.|