On Saturday, September 14, I participated in Lorie's Lakeside Century bike ride in Chesterton, IN (no, I didn't ride for 100 miles, although many others did!). The ride was to benefit the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) of Porter County, IN. The VNA provides a broad spectrum of health and social services that can be delivered to recovering, disabled, chronically ill or terminally ill persons in their home environment - a very worthy cause.
If you haven't participated in one of these bike rides for charity, I strongly recommend it. It is NOT a race; rather it is all about camaraderie and fellowship – and eating!
It was a brisk 40* overnight. We left Naperville at 6am to drive to Chesterton and got to see this beautiful sunrise!
Here is our "team" representing Emerson Industrial Automation, one of the race sponsors. Left to right - Tiffany Epler, John Vroom, Andy Darrol, Nancy Haines, Dan Burgey, and Harry Fischer.
You can start the ride anytime between 7-10am. At 7am, it was around 50* with a slight wind. We delayed our start time from 7am to 8:30am to let it warm up a bit - it might have been 55* when we started. Pretty brisk, especially in the shade, but it warmed up nicely the longer we rode. The first SAG (support and grub) stop was about 12 miles into our ride. The longest ride Harry had done previously to this was 16 miles, so he was a little concerned about going 28 miles.
This was the view at our first SAG stop - gorgeous! There was a wedding party on the beach taking photos. At this stop, Harry said he was feeling pretty strong and confident that he could make it 28 miles. It was my intent to ride 38 miles.
Who knew that Indiana was hilly? The 12 miles to the next SAG stop was all uphill - gently rolling uphill, but uphill just the same! Harry said he should have realized that going TOWARD Lake Michigan would all be downhill for watershed. At one point, there was a rather steep uphill climb. When Tiffany and I, who were leading our team, reached the top of the hill, there were about a dozen riders taking an unofficial rest stop in someone's front yard. We joined them to wait for the guys. Harry was feeling his knees ache on this climb. He was so grateful for the unofficial stop.
Our second SAG stop was at the Art Barn - which came complete with chickens and crowing roosters. Dan thought that the rooster must have known that we were eating chicken sandwiches at that rest stop, and the rooster was alerting the other birds to that fact!
John, Harry, and Andy refueling at the Art Barn.
If I was going to do the 38 mile ride, the Art Barn is where I would have parted ways with my team. But, due to the nature of this being a ride and not a race, we were never in a hurry to leave the SAG stops. Harry and I had tickets to the Wine & Food Festival back in IL, so time was running short. I returned back to the starting line with the rest of my team for lunch. Yes, I said lunch! The race sponsors put on a pulled pork and corn on the cob luncheon for us.
Harry, Nancy, Tiffany, and Dan pointing out the Emerson Industrial Automation race sponsorship on the banner.
I forgot to start the Map My Ride app when we started to ride (that's a great FREE app, by the way). Map My Ride clocked us at 28.85 miles in 2 hours and 40 minutes with 1,336 calories burned. Dan's computer said that we went just a hair under 30 miles. I think we ate more calories at SAG stops and at the luncheon than we burned off riding!
This ride was 30 miles of beautiful scenery with wonderful people. The volunteers at registration, the SAG stops, and at the luncheon were awesome. They couldn't have been more accommodating and friendly. I will do this ride again next year - and perhaps go 38 miles. Although Tiffany told me that she did the 38 miles in a previous year and it was even MORE uphill from there!
If you ever get a chance to participate in one of these charity rides, I highly recommend it. Find a cause that you want to support and get out there for some fresh air, exercise, and an extremely fun time!