I made it past 50 miles! After missing the mark the past 2 weeks, I finally rode right on past yesterday. My total was 54 miles and each one was hard earned. It was beautiful and hilly. And hilly. Did I mention the hills?
The team had staggered starts so that we could all meet afterward for lunch. Bree and I carpooled over to Marin; I left my house just after 6:00 am and we got to our meeting point at Point Reyes National Seashore just before 8:00. Long ride and we hadn't even gotten on our bikes.
This was Cole's Ride, named after a little boy who didn't make it through his struggle with Leukemia. Before the ride we heard about Cole's short life, his joy and fighting spirit. It is for Cole, and others like him, that we fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We're riding for a cure, as the slogan goes, one mile at a time. Please, if you haven't given any money to the LLS, consider making a tax deductible donation now. Either through the link over on the right, or directly on their website; it all goes to the same place.
Our group got on the road at 8:45 am, a little later than scheduled. The hills started when we did. We went through Point Reyes Station and at about 15 miles had our first rest stop at the Cheese Factory. We left there and got to what was called the first hill of the day. Apparently those things we had been riding up and down weren't considered hills by our coaches. I disagreed, but nobody asked me. This so-called first hill had it's own name, never a good sign. This was a hill because of the grade; I'm pretty certain that it was completely vertical. Very tough to climb. Equally scary to descend.
Up, down, along Chileno Valley, toward Tomales, along Tomales Bay, up and down the rollers on Highway 1, past the Tomales Bay Oyster Company, up Stupid Hill (I don't know who named it, but it was appropriate), finally back to our starting point. Two weeks ago when we rode out there we saw the slightest bit of greening; yesterday the hills were deep emerald green and lovely. It was spring come early. We rode past a spectacular valley completely covered with bright yellow mustard plants. We saw a hawk sitting a few feet away from us on a fence post. A horse in a field decided to race us along the fence line. As we rode down a hill, a deer leaped across the road between 2 of our riders. It was beautiful, it was surreal.
And it was bone deep tiring. Almost exactly after I passed the 50 mile mark I hit the wall. Bonk city and it was territory I hadn't been in for a long time. I knew we had a few miles left and I didn't know how I'd make it, but I pushed on (it's that "never quit" thing). Everything ached, I had no strength in my legs or arms, I was wheezing and the on verge of tears. Coach Lorraine stayed right behind me, making sure I got back. Although I was deeply in the bite-me-zone, I was too tired to express any of it. I just needed to get off of the bike.
Once I stopped, stretched, drank and ate I felt much better. It was a very quick recovery and showed me that I didn't eat or drink enough while I was riding. Just like when I run, I find it hard to eat any solid food. Between my digestion and lack of appetite when I'm moving, I don't want food (the only time ever that I don't want food). But a million gels won't be enough for 100 miles so I'll have to work at it. I think I'll have a good chance next weekend since Coach Cyd told us we'd be back there again for our next ride. Oy.
Bree and I decided that we were way too tired to hang around and join the team at lunch. Dinner. Afternoon snack. Cocktail hour. Whatever you want to call it. We got back in her car and headed on home. I finally walked back in my door at 5:00 pm. Long day. I managed a shower and a frozen diet pizza and some hummus and pretzels and sat on my couch, again staring the tv like a zombie. It's becoming a habit.
We had arranged to run this morning so Anita, Bree and I met at the trail. We didn't have high hopes of a good run and after running for about 2 minutes I was wheezing and Bree's knee was swelling. We started walking, chatting, schmoozing, talking, headed along the trail. We ended up with 5 miles and a good walk. I think most of our Sunday runs after long Saturday rides will become walks; we just don't have the energy for more. But we promised Anita that after Solvang there'd be no more centuries, no more tri's. Back to running, knees and backs willing. We all miss the long miles.
I'm going to make an effort this week to get some cycling in, on the trainer. After spending the money and the time to set it up, I need to use it. I also need to clean my bike; the roads were wet and there's mud splatter all over my pretty shiny ride. Cycling, cleaning, running, eating and drinking, working. My week is full!