Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Completed my first Century

Kevin, Jeff, Javier and Kallie
Gil our rolling SAG wagon
I belong to a couple of wonderful bike groups, but my primary group is Hammerin Wheels and every year the wonderful founder Jeff Sanford puts together a beginner century. It is a bit of a challenge to find 100 miles of not to scary, flat roads to take a large group of riders with varying experience on. This in not an officially supported ride, but we did have help from his family and another rider who is just returning from injury and couldn't do the full route and our rolling SAG, Gil who pulled the tool trailer the whole distance. This century is also unique in the fact that he really tries to keep the group together as much as possible. We had about 60 cyclists riding a double pace line down the levee at one point, it was really a sight to see. We had kids waving and pointing, cars stopping out of courtesy and for the most part a warm reception from all those we interacted with on the road. It really was a great experience.

I was surprised that there were only a handful of us that this was their first century and 1 person who road part of the route, it was her first metric. To see 50+ strong riders go out on a leisurely ride just for fun was really wonderful. I have to say, there were a few places on the route when we drove within blocks of my house that I really considered bailing. Fortunately I had a couple of great people distracting me with witty conversation to keep me going.  It was super nice to see Jeff's wife and 2 adorable little girls at our 2nd rest stop. They made a cute poster for us and had yummy treats. We as usual on a flat ride had winds, which seemed to be a head wind no matter which way we were heading, and had an area of road that really need to get repaired.
Best rest stop volunteers ever

Just out riding with 60 of my best friends
The day was not without incident: When we were in a pace line the I was chatting away with Daphni, who has been one of the riders who has really inspired me, when the guy right in front of me almost went down, I was able to avoid him and he was able to keep it upright, I think he may have touched the wheel in front of him, my heart rate was racing but we were all ok. A while late while we were mostly single file on the road we were coming to a stop sign with cross traffic, so we were stopping and all of a sudden I hear Adrienne yelling I can't unclip, I see her legs flailing trying to get her shoes out of the pedals, and her slowing, then I just see a bunch of hands catch her and stop her, it was quite amazing, they just held her upright as a group (although I think Daphni was doing most of the work) until they were able to get her foot out of her shoe. We were just a few miles from the rest stop and some how magically Adrienne rolled in with flat pedals. As we were rolling through Lincoln we saw a fire truck in the middle of the road, and we all feared the worst, as we got closer we could see it was our group, with it being right at an intersection I was really scared it was a car vs bike. Fortunately it wasn't too bad, it did involve a trip in an ambulance, but good news Alan was wearing a helmet and althoug it is trash now, it did it's job. He suffered a separated shoulder, but was able to go home within a few hours. Now we were a few miles from our lunch stop and we have the same number of bikes, but 1 less rider. We started off with Jeff trying to roll the bike next to him while he rode, then Todd decided it would be easier just to carry it. I just love how this group is willing to do anything for the other members. We were able to have someone pick up the bike at our lunch break. As we were leaving the lunch stop Mary tumbled into the rose bushes, but Daphni to the rescue again helped pull out the thorns so she could get back up. I know we had some flats along the way, I got one less than 10 miles from the finish, our rolling SAG and Jeff changed it for me and off I went again.

Todd the Sherpa

Alan all patched up
I was in the back of the pack when we finished, although for the first time not dead last. I think I've done well to figure out what I need to put into my body to keep it going on long rides. I road with my new bag, it isn't light, but I find it much more comfortable than stuffing my back pockets till they are buldging. 101 miles took me 7 hrs. 30 min. and other than a little tingling in my left wrist didn't seem to be hurting. Some of us stayed to eat at Chevy's which I was surprised I wasn't hungrier, I did eat again after I got home. The next day I think I spent the whole day eating or sleeping. My legs were pretty tight, but not too bad. Walking up and down the stairs at the house wasn't painful, just took some effort.

Bonus for the club, with over 50 completing the full 100 and another 10 or so doing portions of it, we pulled into 1st place for May is Bike Month. The gap is closing, but I have no doubt we will at be in the top 3. It would be nice to be #1

I also learned it's probably better not to take too many days off before a big ride. I did 60 miles on Sunday then nothing all week, so I could finally get my garden in, and I felt sluggish for a long time on the ride. Not as strong as I was feeling the week before when I rode almost every day. I'm also learning if I can push past the point where my body starts to feel weak and get some quick calories in my I can get another burst of energy. This week I plan on riding at least a few times and then doing a huge climbing ride this weekend. It's only 40 miles, but the hills are big.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May is Bike Month AKA Let the Craziness begin

This is the 2nd time I've participated in May is Bike month. This is our regions way of participating in the National month for bike advocacy. I was very pleased with myself last year with my 87 logged miles. This year I decided to really dedicate myself to cycling so I pledged 400 miles. I have been steadily increasing my milage and this seemed like a reasonable goal. A funny thing happened, some how MIBM became a compitition, actually lots of compititions. My primary cycling club The Hammerin Wheels had a real shot at taking the top spot for clubs, so I decided I would ride a little more. Then I realized I was 3rd in the city (my employer) for miles and I hatched a plan to attempt to get the most miles one week for my work group. Not to mention the silly little badges that have no real meaning, but I have more than my husband and I like that. So, here I am half way through the month and I've already logged 324 miles and plans on increasing my weekly miles.

This month I attempted my first full century. The Wine Country century which is in a beautiful area which I've never visited before. The day started out great with a small group of cyclists from our club, it was chilly, so I had lots of layers, which I'd rather carry for 80 miles than be chilled to start a ride. If I didn't mention it before, everything I own for cycling is pink and my whole family has a sock addiction, so my hubby got to witness how many comments I get on my pink wheels and my socks as we started on our ride. That day I wore my green m&m socks that say melts in your mouth, I got lots of comments. I knew there was a lot of climbing and I made it up the first set of hills with some difficulty, but didn't have to walk. The second set was another story, it had a few too many roads with grade and canyon in the name and one really dumb hill that was reading at 24% grade. My wonderful hubby had planned on riding the longer route but decided to hang out with me instead, he helped me up a few hills. I'm not talking about encouraging words, he put his hand on my back and pushed while we both pedaled up the hill. It is kinda like taking about 4-5% off the grade of the hill. By the time we got to the 2nd rest stop at mile 50 I was feeling pretty beat. I wanted to take an extended break, but we were running short on time and had to leave if we had any chance of getting to the lunch stop before they packed up. I could tell my hubby was loosing patience with me, so I insisted he finish the ride without me. I pedaled along the rolling hills singing my silly little songs, and really hoping no one was close enough to hear them. I had to smile when I passed a very fit looking young man on what looked like a high end time trial bike with matching kit. I'm not sure why he was getting into the aero position every time we hit an incline, but I passed him and it made me feel good. I made it to the lunch stop at mile 70 before they closed and caught up with a couple other riders that I'd met once or twice, but didn't know well. If the last 30 miles had been flat I would have pedaled out of there, but just climbing out of the lunch stop seemed impossible and knowing there was a long steady climb after that and a steep climb toward the end, I opted for SAG. It was my longest ride to date 70 miles and over 3000' of climbing according to my garmin. I don't like Strava's numbers, they always knock off a good portion of the climbing, I don't care if it is more accurate.
I started leading a slow beginner/casual ride on Sundays. The ride serves many purposes, recovery ride for me, trying to get my sister started riding and giving back to the cycling community that helped me get my start. I decided it was time to ride mulitiple days in a row, went on a 30+ mile ride with a cycle shop, ran errands and attended the city MIBM lunch, then went from Folsom to the Capitol with another MIBM group. I'm not sure how I figured that I was only going to ride 40 miles going to the Capitol, I think because I was planning on starting at the 2nd start point, the total for that day was 65 miles. I was supposed to do an evening ride and actually felt like I could, but didn't want to kill my legs for my climbing ride on sat. When the sat. ride came I was surprised at how great my legs felt, I actually did pretty good on the climbing portion and for probably the first time wasn't the slowest person. After our break and our final climb I was actually cruising pretty fast (for me) and was able to keep up with the group on the rolling hills. I'd been so worried about resting my legs so I could do my climbing rides on the weekends, I had no idea that I could ride that much and still be strong. I think I'm also getting better at knowing what to eat and drink during the ride.

With all this riding I still don't have my summer garden in, but we did get the beds tilled and filled them with compost. We also got my monster sized trellises installed. I just have to get the irrigation installed and I can go on a planting spree. I'm hoping tha day will be sat this week.

I'm feeling a lot more confident that I will be able to finish the Climate Ride even if I have to walk a few hills. I'll be taking a bit of a rest this week to get my garden in and start next week with a plan to ride close to 300 miles, I know I have 65 for Sun. and 100 for Sat. so a few regular rides during the week and I've got it.