Saturday, August 15, 2009

Well, that was embarrassing.

All last week, Alyssa was psyching me up for a group ride from Gambrill State Park down to the South Mountain Creamery and back. I was beyond nervous because I have been on exactly one group ride and I was afraid of slowing everyone down on the way back when we'd face very hilly terrain. Alyssa assured me that I would be fine, so I took her word for it. We got out to the meeting spot and set off with everyone else on the ice cream ride.

I got a little over a mile into the ride before I stopped and turned around.

Little did I know that I might have been much better at the uphill part than the downhill one. When I got home, I plugged in the Garmin to find that we had descended about 400 feet in just a few minutes. As I screamed down the mountain, I could envision only one thing: certain death. Most of the descent took place on a dirt and gravel road and we were flying. I was terrified. I somehow managed to stop without skidding or falling off my bike and I told Alyssa that there was no way I could continue the ride. I felt like a massive failure and an even bigger pansy, but i knew that I would be in a bad way if I continued with the ride. I figured it was better to cut my losses then rather than getting even further down this steep road and having to turn right back around to go up it. Alyssa admitted that she, too, was terrified going so fast down the road, so I felt a little better. However, as she is far more hardcore than I am, she felt she could continue. I assured Alyssa that I would be fine going back to the car and encouraged her to catch up with the rest of the group.

As I rode back up the hill, I was pissed. I was pissed for quitting and a little bit pissed that Alyssa had told me I'd be able to handle this ride. I started feeling sorry for myself, which is just about the worst feeling ever. I decided then that I would go and do a ride I knew - the Utica covered bridge ride - and try to salvage what I could of the day. I was unsure how long I would have to ride before having to go back and pick Alyssa up, so I didn't actually ride to the bridge(yet again - every time I've tried this ride, I haven't made it to the actual bridge). I just sort of did my own thing, took my time, and enjoyed myself. Thinking I needed to head back to get ready to pick up Alyssa, I rode through Walkersville and back to where I had parked the car to see if Alyssa had sent me a text. She had. They had made it to the creamery in about an hour and were already enjoying their ice cream. Unfortunately, after the fun of the ice cream, they had to make the return trip back up the mountain. What took an hour going down? Took around three hours going back. It turns out I would have had plenty of time to do a more substantial ride! Oh well.

So that was that. It was kind of a downer way to end a week of riding since I'd had such a good individual riding week. I did multiple rides by myself before or after work and I was really feeling a little bit competent and not like a total n00b. It could have been worse, though. I could have actually fallen going down the mountain. That would have been more than a little humiliating.

Causing me more than a little anxiety this week is the fact that we were without our bikes for several days while we got some granny gears installed. Hopefully these will help with contending with the very hilly Challenge course, but I was silently freaking out about not being able to log miles this week.

I have already accepted the fact that I am woefully underprepared for the Challenge. Yes, we have been training, but I know deep in my heart I haven't done enough. The time to train has slipped away and with just a week to go, there is little that can be done to change that reality. I'm not feeling defeated or throwing my hands up in the air, but I am being realistic. Under the best of circumstances, riding 100 miles on a bicycle is no walk in the park. I am going to be hurting in a bad way, y'all. But it'll be fine!

In other news, we did a 36 mile ride today on the C&O Canal Towpath - this time without any unfortunate collisions - and it was boring as hell. I think I've really come to appreciate the variety of pedaling and scenery that a hilly ride affords.

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of you guys, especially you, Tonya. I am so jealous of you for having a legit hobby. I will vicariously through you! There is no way I would ride a bike up or down a mountain, either...especially not after dairy;)