I was really happy to be able to have an organized ride to participate during this training cycle. When you are out on the bike for hours it is really nice to have others out there with you.
I participated in the 30 mile Memorial Medical Center Cancer Awareness ride last year so I had a little bit of an idea of what to expect. There are three distances to participate in - a 12 mile family ride, a 30 mile ride and then the 60 mile ride.
The course opened at 7:00 am and since this was a "ride" and not a "race" you were free to take off whenever you wanted. Not too sure how long it would take us we left the house at 4:30 am, dropped the pups off at my in-laws and headed out to Modesto arriving at 6:15 am which was good because for some reason it always takes me so long to get all my stuff together to get on the bike. We met up with my friend's husband, J, and brother who were also riding and Kevin took off to ride with them. My dad took off since he is super speedy so it was just my mom and I. Samantha was running a little late and told us to take off without her but I hoped she would be able to catch up.
The course winded in and out of the back country in the central valley. It was mostly farms and cows as far as the eye could see. It was also incredibility FLAT!! The total elevation gain was 216 ft. I think there is more of an elevation gain going down the big hill in front of my house. However, this allowed us to keep a very even speed throughout the whole ride. We had a great time and chatted the whole way. I noted at every rest stop how I didn't even feel tired.
There were four rest stops throughout the entire course - one about every 15 miles or so. All were very well stocked, so much so I never ended up dipping into my stash of food I brought with me. I ate a few bites at every stop and I think that really helped me keep my energy up. Each stop was "themed" and all the volunteers were very enthusiastic and helpful. The last stop was a "Hawaiian theme" and they were serving virgin pina coladas and daiquiris. We were only 7 miles from the finish so I thought "what the heck?" It really hit the spot. I also over indulged in the gummy bears but rationalized at this point I have already burned over 2000 calories so why not?
|Pina Colada complete with umbrella!|
There was one particularly challenging part of the course where the road was really torn up and we were riding into the wind. It was all I could do to even maintain a 12 mph average. This is also when a bee flew into my helmet. I frantically un-clipped it and flung it across the road. However, this two mile stretch was the "low part" of the ride. Otherwise it was just another lovely Saturday morning ride.
Samantha was able to catch up with us at the last rest stop so we got to ride together for the last 7 miles. She left 30 minutes after us and made excellent time on the course. Kevin and J made excellent time as well coming in about 3:40, a 16.4 mph pace. My dad was so fast he finished and started riding the course backwards until he found us at mile 47. My mom and I came in 4:21:34, a 13.9 mph pace. Honestly, this was a really good pace for me. We could have sped it up but we both commented in the end it was a very manageable pace - one we could sustain for a long period of time. I could have definitely kept going at this pace and in these long distance rides/runs it all about keeping a consistent pace and not burning out to early which I unfortunately have too much experience with.
|Samantha was able to snap a picture of me crossing the finish line.|
Kinda funny story, Kevin rides my dad's old road bike that he bought when I was born. I guess in the cycling world the thing is like an antique - every time we go riding he gets lots of comments about it. Most new bikes are made with aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber or some combination of the three. This old bike is pure steel. Meaning it is heavy is heck, but will last forever. Coincidentally, J's bike was also from the 80s and made of steel. I guess they were both quite popular out on the course. Their tag-line - "if it ain't steel, it ain't real."
As soon as we finished they had lunch waiting for all the riders so we got to hang out for a bit and relax before driving home.
This ride topped week 7 off at 98.5 miles and 6 hours and 19 minutes on the bike.
I will be back tomorrow to recap week 7 in running and my 70 miler (a new distance PR) that I rode today.