Ok, it’s ride report time and forgive me now because it’s quite lengthy.
This ride was way more important for what it stood for than all the training that was put in. ALL of the money that was raised goes to The James Cancer Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. We’ve all lost too many friends and family to just stand by and be a spectator to it’s devastation any longer. Many of you know that I’ve become addicted to riding my bike and this was the perfect event to break that magic barrier; 100-miles. Most cyclists don’t give 100-miles much thought but, ask anyone who doesn’t ride and they look at you like you’ve grown an extra appendage.
Most of you also know I’ve also have a great Sparkfriend who rides with me. Anne (AMCG200) is not your normal sit back and see what happens type person. She is a hard-charger, Type-A personality and I think that’s why we click. If you’ve never visited her page please do; she’s a great inspiration. From here on out any WE will reference us as a team.
Friday night’s event was dinner, rider check-in and opening ceremonies. Several people spoke and kept the mood light. The sky was darkening by the minute when Lance Armstrong took the stage to speak. He kept his speech to about 10 minutes even though I’m sure he could have talked all night long about why we were riding. Well, needless to say by the time DW (TAMZTIME) and I got back to our hotel the lightening was pretty intense and the storms were moving in.
When I woke on Saturday morning I was feeling pretty good considering I had only 5 hours of sleep again. I went into the bathroom to do some warm up yoga and get dressed for the day. As I donned my Under Armour shirt and riding shorts it became apparent it was “go time.” I had arranged with my SAG (Support And Gear and will be referred to as such through out) team (DW, DD, mom and in-laws) that I would just walk down to the staging area so they could sleep in a bit longer. I arrived at about 5:40 AM with my bike and gear ready to roll. As with any big event (2,000 riders in this one) it didn’t start on time and those extra 15 minutes were torture. Hello! Let’s ROLL!
Once we were rolling it was awesome. I’ve never been in a biking event where they shutdown the roads for you. They closed off the entire downtown section of the ride until we reached the city limits. It was awesome to just blow through the stoplights. We reached the first checkpoint just before our SAG group. This being a first time event there were some logistical issues, but overall ran pretty smoothly. We planed to meet with our SAG vehicle every other stop and carry supplies with us between stops. This worked out pretty well and helped avoid wasted time standing in lines for food/drink.
After leaving Franklin County the road take to a rolling scenario. After our second meeting with SAG the hills become more than rolling and puts your mettle to the test. We passed many “strong looking” cyclists WALKING his/her bike up said hills. We just kept our heads down and our pedals moving. I had read something about positive mantras and I took advantage to try this out. My biggest fear for the ride was all the climbing we’d have to do. My mantra was “I AM A MOUNTAIN GOAT! I LOVE TO CLIMB!” This was a post-it note on my desk to constantly remind me of this. By the time we reached SAG at the 3rd stop we’d passed some significant hills and were still feeling pretty fresh. After this stop the rest was on us until the finish line. Just before reaching the 3rd stop there was news around the stop that there had been a bad bike accident and medics had been dispatched. Our SAG group grew worried that we’d been involved, but then we crested the hill and arrived safe and sound. After topping off our water bottles and having a snack we clicked in for our last 2 legs. I thought that the biggest hills were behind us, but there was some major climbing still to come. There were times when my legs and lungs felt like someone was holding a blowtorch to them, but I kept on moving. The rewards of the work are the 40+ MPH down hills after the hard work. We knew that once we reached the Hocking College that the last 18 miles was on a bike path. This was going to be our “recovery” area. We didn’t push the pace too much and just enjoyed the cool, tree-lined, mostly FLAT path.
Crossing that finish line brought out so many emotions it’s hard to put into words. Pride, Sorrow and Happiness would have to top the list. Pride & happiness for the accomplishment; sorrow for those who could only be there in spirit. We crossed the line at just under 6.5 hours of riding time with an average speed of around 17 MPH. Totaling up my HRM details showed that I burned over 4100 calories and had pushed my HR up to 97% of max at times. Five years ago I was 500+ pounds and couldn’t walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes and now this. Set your mind to things and you can accomplish anything.
I need to give full credit to our SAG group. I know that they were proud to be a part of this and we were grateful for their assistance. After storing my gear I headed for a shower and noticed that my once black Under Armour shirt was now a dusty white with the results of today’s efforts. After the shower we all went for dinner and then later DW & I went to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. Exhaustion set in and bedtime was early.
Rising on Sunday morning and noticing my fellow riders gearing up to head out I had a longing feeling to join them. Unfortunately, DW & DD had come down sick during the weekend and getting them home was more important.
How do you memorialize a life moment like this? Many people have different thoughts; my thought is to get a tattoo to commemorate the event. I’m currently working on the design and will have to show it off in the future.
If you read this entire thing I commend you. If you just hit the highlights I don’t blame you.
Live your dreams!
102+ Miles later we can still smile.