On Saturday I completed my first Century Ride (100 miles) called the Little Red Riding Hood. It's an all women's ride and I was excited to ride with my sister Kim and friends Holly and Sonja. We drove to Logan for the ride and let me tell you my friends, the road was angry that day. Before the ride even started, we were having trouble. We passed some guys with a pump and realized that we had forgotten to pump our tires. Ooops. So, these nice gentlemen pumped them up for us and we were off to the start line.
Then we went to get our lunch stickers (that we didn't really need) and our t-shirts (that we picked up later) without realizing that the ride had already started. Not sure how I missed that. There was a loud cow bell they were ringing to communicate the start of the ride. Hmmm, no idea where my head was. It wasn't a race, so we thought it wouldn't really matter when we started. But what we didn't realize was that we were starting with all the people who were planning to ride at a very leisurely pace. (Check out the lady in pink behind me if you don't believe me. Hide-ho there neighbor!)
So, off we went and about a mile in I had to pull over and get my brakes fixed. No problem, they were fixed in a jiffy. No worries right? Not so. At mile 7.5 I had a flat tire that would not be fixed. Holly, Kim and I were on our phones with our husbands asking them what we should do. I seriously needed my man. (I have yet to change my own flat tire. My extra tube is my cell phone. He always rescues me, thanks babe.)
Sonja was my man for the day. As she was changing it, we realized that I had a pop in the actual tire, not just the tube. After I told Eric that, he said, "oh man, you're done". I said, "don't say that!!!@#" Sonja kept working on my tire and after about 15 minutes a bike "sheriff" volunteer came to my aid. He tried 3 more tubes and still couldn't get the air to stay. He said, "I think your done". After 4 tubes and a lot of frustration (See frustrated photo) I was heading into a SAG wagon (Support And Gear vehicle) close to tears.
Kim, Holly and Sonja went ahead and I told them I would call when I knew what was going to happen. I appreciated them waiting for me and commiserating with me. Then Holly yells "Sagger" as I am walking towards the vehicle. Love her.
So, Seriously? I wasn't going to be able to ride? You've got to be kidding me. I was looking for options on how I could still ride. Maybe I could just hurry and go the bike shop and get a tube. Maybe I could borrow a bike. Maybe I could buy a bike, surely Eric wouldn't mind. I think after him telling me that "I was done" it would be justified.
So, I'm sitting in the SAG wagon awaiting the verdict and I say a quick, earnest prayer. Silly to pray for such things you might think, but I really wanted to ride. I even asked Eric to pray. It always works--I lifted my head from my prayer and the Bingham Cyclery Van pulls up. He just happens to have a tire that he will give me for free and he can fix it on the spot. Hallelujah!
So, I'm back on my bike after being on the side of the road for 45-60 minutes and am as happy as could be. I am so blinded by euphoria that I don't even think of the time or realize that I left my water bottles in the SAG wagon.
I meet up with the girls at the next rest stop and I look around for the SAG wagon that had my bottles, but it was already in route to the next location. I am still not thinking of the time. I have no watch and no working bike computer. A fellow-rider tells me the time and I am in shock. She said it was 10:30 and we had to get to the next location by 11:00 in order to ride the 100 mile loop. That's 15 miles in 30 minutes. Bee inserted in bonnet.
Frantic is how I would describe the next 30-45 minutes. You might be wondering why I didn't call it and do the 80 miles instead. Remember, I am an all-or-nothing gal I had no other option in my mind at that point. This is also the first time I have attempted a Century and I wanted to finish it. So, I make it to the cut-off and wait for Sonja at the rest stop. Kim was originally planning on doing the 36 mile route and Holly wasn't sure. A while later I got a text from Kim that said she and Holly were doing the 80 mile loop! I couldn't have been more excited. I knew they had it in them and if I didn't have that mechanical issue in the beginning, we would have made the 100 together.
Kim and Holly had a great experience working with other riders and I should have tried to hook on to a train as well, but I had this constant gnawing anxiety that kept pushing me to get to the end. I couldn't mellow out until the ride was over. When I finished, I was elated.
The best thing about these rides is that the money goes to a great cause. Little Red Riding Hood raises money for the Hunstman Cancer Institute, specifically for breast cancer. I was happy to be supporting those affected by breast cancer and especially happy to be supporting a friend of the family, Susan. We wore our cute pink Fat Cyclist Jerseys to show our support. Her husband Elden, nicknamed the Fat Cyclist, is a long time friend of my brother-in-law, Dug. I started reading Elden's blog, fatcyclist.com, after Eric (aka Sleepy) finished RAWROD in May and now I am hooked. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry.
So, off to the next ride to support something good. I am planning to ride Bike MS at the end of this month on June 28th. My aunt Becci died from MS (Multiple Sclerosis) 14 years ago. She was only 32. I am planning to ride in honor of her. I have to raise $250 to do it. If you feel inclined to contribute a few dollars to the cause here is my official link:
Click here to get to my personal page and make a secure, online donation.