Once we got our tires pumped up, our pockets stuffed full of Clif and Luna bars, and our water bottles full of water and Gatorade, we headed over to the 100 mile corrals. We were both anxious to just get the show on the road, but the start time was pushed back 30 minutes to 8AM in order to accommodate the people stuck in traffic. I made us stick to the back of the 100 mile corral because I was afraid of getting swept up in the fast people riding the 100 miles. Before we got going, I took one last picture.
And then we were off.
The first five miles flew by, as they were relatively flat and not scary. I was feeling good, but making sure I stayed at my own pace. Alyssa and I mostly stuck together and we were moving along pretty nicely. Then we got into some more twisty, smaller roads and I saw the first major crash of the day. There were around six or seven people and their bikes strewn about the side of the road. The roads were still a little wet and slick at that point, so it looked like they took a curve too fast. We went around them and then hit some hilly stuff. The original plan had been that we would skip the first rest station at the 10 mile marker, but when I came upon it, I stopped. Alyssa was ahead of me and kept going, but stopped just beyond it to wait for me. We then tried to stick together again, but the hills were increasing in frequency and Alyssa weighs about 75lbs less than I do, so she's able to fly up them with relative ease. I was... Well, I was sucking. Plain and simple. I implored her to go on and just leave me behind, but she refused. She kept stopping to wait for me to catch up. I appreciated it, but I felt awful for her. How crappy is it to have to stop and wait when you're in a riding groove? Gah.
When we made it to the second rest stop, we peed and ate. Can I just tell you that humidity, sweat, and port-o-potty toilet paper don't mix? As Ellen DeGeneres would say, that TP was "like prosciutto." After we peed - and washed our hands - we filled up our bottles and made ourselves eat something. I ate a Luna bar and immediately felt like barfing. It was hot and I was exerting a lot of energy and I just felt gross. I sat down for a few minutes to try to settle my stomach and that did the trick, but it was then I realized there was no way in hell I could make it 100 miles. It was disappointing, but I was realistic. I knew that even if I tried the 70 mile route, I would probably get sag wagoned because my speed was atrocious. The 100 mile route wasn't going to be an option for Alyssa either because she'd spent so much time waiting for me, but 70 miles was definitely attainable. When we reached the turn-off, I gave her my blessing to go 70 miles and she gave me mine to go 45 and we left each other.
The funny thing is that at that moment, I thought the worst was behind me. I couldn't imagine that I'd have many more hills, but I was so very wrong. It was hellacious. I got off my bike and walked up more hills than I can recall. I was passed by hundreds of people. Several sag wagons stopped to make sure I didn't need to get picked up. I saw people being tended to by medics and loaded into ambulances. But I kept on going. Yeah, it was hot and my feet hurt and my back hurt, but it was nice. I was by myself a lot and I had plenty of time to think about what I was doing. Of course, I also kept thinking, "How many more @#)($*#@)*#@$ hills can there be?!" I made it to the last rest stop and stayed there for about 30 minutes, eating a granola bar and drinking water. I got back on my bike fully expecting that the last 10 miles would fly by, but I was very wrong. There were more hills! More traffic! It was neverending. The best part? Fatty rode past me and said, "We're almost there!" It was just the encouragement I needed to get me through to the end. Of course, he had done the 100 miles in the time it took me to do 45 miles, but that's ok! The funniest thing was when I got into a little group right outside the college. We were all coasting down a hill and expecting to cruise through the intersection and make our way to the finish line, but we got stuck at a traffic light. What a momentum killer.
So I rode across the finish line by myself. Honestly, it was a little sad to not have anyone there to cheer our arrival. People clapped and cheered for everyone crossing, but it means a little more if you know the people cheering for you. Still, I was very happy to be finished and I was proud of myself. Alyssa texted me to let me know she was about 20 miles out, so I knew I had enough time to drop off my bike at the car and actually move the car closer so Alyssa wouldn't have as far to go to get to it when she finished. After that, I headed back to the finish line to wait for her to cross.
I had sent Alyssa a text message to let me know when she was about 10 miles out so I would be ready to take her picture as she came into the chute. Well, she didn't get that message, so while I was taking a picture of myself, she yelled out my name as she came into the cute. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the camera turned around in time, so I missed documenting that moment. I felt awful about it.
She was fine with it, though, because she was so psyched.
Does she look like she just rode 70 miles?!
Actually, we both look pretty good, all things considered
Full bodied spandex, y'all!"
You know, I just want to say that I'm sorry I didn't make it to 100 miles, or even 70 miles. It wasn't for a lack of trying, but I feel badly that I couldn't make it. Hopefully I'll be better next year! Yes, next year. We were already talking about next year when we were driving home. Will you join us? We promise it's fun. Heck, even if you don't want to run or ride, maybe you can just be there to cheer us on at the finish line. That'd be nice.
Again, thank you. Thank you so much for your love, support, humor, and donations. We couldn't have done it without you and we are so blessed to know you all.
Oh, and thanks for following this blog.