Confession time: I did not do 80 miles. As we were training, my friends and I decided that we were not there yet, so we decided to ride the 50-mile course. Do I still feel a little sad of not making my initial goal of 80 miles? A little. Do I feel like 50 miles was the right choice? Absolutely.
To avoid getting up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, Heidi, Haley and I decided to spend the night up in Logan on Friday night. So the three of us and our bikes got a hotel room. Betty slept at the foot of my bed.
|And yes, my PJs are silky zebra. So?|
The next morning, as we got dressed, Heidi was looking through her Little Red registration packet. Then she shouted, "Vicki?!" Apparently Little Red decided that Heidi should be more of a Vicki on this ride. We may have died laughing for a good 5 minutes.
|The girls: Me, Heidi/Vicki, Haley|
At that point, we loaded up the car and headed out. However, it looked like a storm was a brewin'.
Getting there, we met up with my friends Denise and Jessica and headed to the starting line.
And then we were off! For five minutes. Cause we discovered that Jessica had a flat.
|Heidi and Haley looking on. Concerned.|
Luckily a course marshall stopped and helped us out, and pretty soon we were on our way again.
Little Red is not a race (thank goodness) but a ride. So throughout, there are rest stops where you can refuel and take a breather. Let me tell you, at these rest stops, Betty Foy was such a flirt. There were so many people, coming up to her, checking her out, even feeling her up. Oh, the brooks saddle! Ooh, cork grips! Hearted lugs! She was belle of the bicycle ball. As much adoration as she got, people were kinda shocked that I was doing this ride on a heavy bike like her. And maybe that got into my head a little bit. Cause around mile 30, I hit the dreaded wall.
Betty and I just seemed to get slower and slower. In my mind, we were so heavy. Of course, this is when the ride got hot. So hot. And when the course started to get hilly. It was a hard combo for me. I may have even teared up a little bit, frustrated by my own limitations. Why does it seem so easy for everyone else? Yup, pity party on a bicycle.
But through the last third of the ride, Heidi and Haley really pushed me. Although, they were keeping a good pace on their own, they stayed back with me and kept me moving my feet. I am so grateful for them. And after a series of killer hills, there was a mega downhill. It was delicious. At the same time, the clouds covered the sun again and cooled everything off. It was a perfect convergence of elements that brought on my second wind and kept me going until the end.
|Vicki just being Vicki!|
Cache Valley, where Little Red takes place, is beautiful. I could have just spent the whole ride taking pictures, but I can only imagine how many hours that would have added to our ride. The mountains are so green. The reservoirs and farmland are serene. And of course the animals just seemed happy-go-lucky. This little burro we saw, we instantly fell in love with. He is so cute! I could just squeeze him.
Heading into the finish, the clouds that were so welcomed before started to look a little menacing. There were even lightening bolts that flashed down. But we were going to finish no matter what, so we pedaled into the storm.
Eventually the home stretch was in sight. People were cheering and I even saw my friends, who took this shot. I forgot for a moment that my neck and shoulders were in agony, that I had a bit of a sunburn, and that I was overheated and tired. Instead I just had a feeling that I actually did it. I finished.
So what we might have taken the same amount of time to do 50 that some (extremely good) riders take to do 100? I finished my longest, hardest ride so far. I accomplished something amazing. And I am determined to keep at it and just get better and better.
So am I happy I did Little Red? Oh so very. Especially since I got to do it with some of my most favorite people. Bring on Little Red 2013! I will rock you.