Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Longest Bike Ride... So Far!

I started running 2 1/2 years ago. Then, after doing a 5K, a half marathon, and a few other races, I branched out and tried triathlons. I have now completed: four 5Ks, one 10K, one 10 miler, four half marathons, and two sprint triathlons. My next goal? A century ride, otherwise known as a 100 mile bike ride. And, my goal is to complete it this year.
My longest ride, until this weekend, was a 34 mile ride I did with my friend, E, last May. In November & December I built up to doing 20 miles at a time. And, Thursday night, I decided to enter my first organized biking event. I chose to do 45 miles and E would be riding in the car with me while her husband, R, would ride with their friend M.

We left very early because they'd done the ride before and knew traffic would be bad. We got there easily and had plenty of time to stop by the bathroom & get some breakfast. I first tried a breakfast taco, but I really don't like egg mixed with 'stuff' and only could eat a few bites. I then had some oatmeal, but I didn't see any sugar and it was so bland! E then showed me where the sugar was & it was great! I also had half a large banana and had already had some food on the drive.
Me before the ride.
I was pretty nervous about the start. It's a lot more dangerous starting with all those bikes than with runners! And, in a triathlon, you are spread out and it's illegal to get close to other riders. E, R & M all ride faster than me and started in the wave (or group) in front of me. I thought it'd be easier if I just did this on my own and didn't worry about my friends having to watch over me. I stayed to the far left, and took off with the crowd. It was actually not so bad!

I ended up being at the end of a wave, which was unplanned but I really liked. For the first few miles, I pretty much kept a little distance between myself & the back of the wave. I wasn't really interested in being surrounded by bikes!

A little before mile 3 everyone started yelling "slowing" and then "stopping". We could see an ambulance up ahead and knew that wasn't a good sign. The ride marshalls had us walk into the grass quite a ways before the ambulance. Most people were carrying their bikes and I tried for awhile, but then decided it was too tiring.

As I got closer to the wreck, I really started thinking that it could be my friend, E. I was praying and thinking "Please, not her!" I saw they had someone on a backboard, but couldn't remember what my friend had on. As I passed, I realized it was the other friend... M! The one who'd rode with my E's husband! Oh, no!!

I walked up and asked if I could talk to M. The EMT's encouraged me and said no one else had known her. I talked to her. She had a whole in her glove and a knuckle was bloody. And, she was holding her left shoulder. I didn't see anything else. I talked to her and she didn't know who I was. I told her we'd only met that morning but I was E's friend. She started crying and held my hand and told me she was scared and didn't know how she'd got there. I told her she'd be OK, that I'd be praying & try to contact E & R. I asked if I could call anyone and she said "no." I stood by until the loaded her in the ambulance.

I texted my friend, E, as I didn't have her husband's number. Then, I headed off at a pretty good pace. I was praying that I could catch up with my friend at the 1st stop. But, they were probably far ahead. I'd been slowed by the walk and then I'd stood by for probably 5 minutes or so.

I got there and coulnd't find them but saw a ride marshall and talked to him. He'd actually been one of the first on the scene! As I pieced together the story from him & from my friend's husband who later talked to M, I found out that: someone else had fallen down & M had wrecked into them. Surprisingly & sadly, though M was injured, the other rider got back on their bike and took off! They found another driver's license next to my friend and I guess they think that is the other person's. I was shocked someone would do that!

By this time, I was still upset and wondering if I should just go back to the car, but decided to press on... and slow down as I'd been pushing myself to try and rush to the 1st stop. I heard from my friend, E, at the 2nd stop. I didn't get much info then, but later learned the following: her husband had been having knee problems very early on and was already back at the start when she contacted him. So, he got to go straight to the hospital and be with M! Isn't that amazing? And, the news on M: she broke her shoulder and will be out about 2 months. (Though she'll get a 2nd opinion from a sports doctor this week.)

Back to the ride:

So, the temp was about 50 when we started and near 60 when we finished. I wore bike shorts with capris over them, a bike shirt and my wind jacket with removable sleeves. It was totally overcast (except for a brief time when the sun tried to break through) and winds were 10-15 mph, so I also wore my 'beanie' to protect my sensitive ears.

For most of the ride, the wind was at our side, and yet it felt pretty powerful to me! Most of the ride was flat with only 4-5 decent hills. (And those are Houston hills... so not that bad for many of you.) We only had about 2 miles with the wind at our back, and that was AMAZING!!! And, we had from about mile 40-43 with it in our face, and that was HORRIBLE!!! (But wind makes you stronger!)

On the main sections, when the wind was at our side, I was riding at about 12-15 mph. When the wind was at our back, I averaged 18-22. And, when it was at our face, I could only pull about 9!!! At one time, going up a hill with that wind, I dropped down to 7!!! And, at another time, I stopped pedaling and was afraid I might end up going backwards!

Rest Stop #1 of 4

There were 4 stops with great food and I stopped at each. I had oranges (sliced), banana pieces, cookies, peanut butter carckers, a granola bar... I didn't drink enough. I was afraid to drink much while riding as I'm still a little unsure of my abilities. I need to make sure and drink more.

I met another lady at the 2nd rest stop and then we hooked up at the 3rd and finished the rest of the ride together. For about 10 miles we were able to ride side by side and that was the easiest part of the ride... I think because we were chatting & forgetting our pains!

Different parts of my body hurt at different times, but I was thankful not to have any nagging pains. Today, the only thing sore is my SEAT! I feel terrific! And, I'm already looking at next weekend's ride where I think I'll do 45 miles again (well, 46.5).

I love BIKING!

1 comment:

lahbluebonnet said...

I'm so glad you were able to be there for her and that things worked out. I am so amazed you can do this! I exercise but I couldn't do the mileage you do. I just sew. =)
Are you planning on doing the annual 100 mile bike race in Wichita Falls, Texas? I used to live there, on base, and the race used to go right past our house.

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