Hope you guys don't think that every time I ride is a fiasco because it really isn't. I probably had a hundred rides without drama for every fiasco I write about. Fiascos are certainly memorable though sometimes I wish I could forget them. One of my most memorable rides in a good way I wasn't even on a bike. My wife and I were going to ride a century in Lake Tahoe for Team in Training (Leukemia Lymphoma society). My wife got pregnant while we were preparing to ride so she couldln't train or ride. At first I was going to go ahead and ride it myself and my wife was going to drive the support van. Granted it would have been a great ride but someone noted that since my wife was a nurse and I was a former bike mechanic we were the perfect for support team; I could fix bikes and she could fix riders. That was the only time I did support but it probably won't be the last. At first we were instructed to help TnT riders (unless something was life threatening of course) but our group had so few problems we were told to help anyone who needed it. One TnT rider did have a bad crash but by the time we got to them a doctor who volunteered was already helping the cyclist.. I did help a few riders who might not have been able to finish otherwise so that felt good. I even drove home one cyclist who damaged his frame beyond repair who happened to live nearby.
I thought I'd relate my last century which was years ago. Suffice it to say that it didn't go perfectly. I'm in the habit of not riding with any tools beyond tire levers. In the past I found that having tools made me feel compelled to stop and help every schmuck who breaks down on rides. I should also add that I'm one of those unfortunate souls who have little sense of direction. Oh, and this was before most people had cell phones, my wife and I shared one but still being so dear we didn't take it on rides. My wife and I were riding the Hotter 'n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls. I hadn't ridden it in many years and while it has always been a big ride now it is amazing! I have never seen such an ocean of cyclists on the road. That year the ride lived up to its name, it was 108F! No longer being as conditioned as in my youth I rode it pretty easy. I rode a conservative pace and Instead of stopping at every other or every third 10 mile test stop like I used to I stopped at every one and I drank enough Gatorade and water that I had to urinate at every stop so I was confident I wasn't getting dehydrated. 108F is hot for anyone and at rest stops there were medical personnel helping riders who could not deal with it. Cyclists were getting their core temperature taken behind makeshift privacy curtains and others that were dangerously dehydrated got IV's. I felt pretty good but my wife wife looked pretty tired and red so at every stop medical personnel kept checking her to make sure she was lucid. I saw a lot of much younger and fitter cyclists than ourselves sidelined so I felt things were going pretty well for us. Then about 2/3's the way through my wife was cooling herself with a wet washcloth on her forehead when she dropped it. The washcloth went down and still pedaling she pulled it into her drivetrain and bent her rear derailleur beyond recognition. There really wasn't anything I could do to help. If I had tools I would have removed the mangled rear derailleur, put the chain on a reasonable gear, and removed the chain links to take up the slack but alas I had no tools. I thought about trying to push her the rest of the way; I did sometimes push her up hills so I could get a better workout while riding together but I didn't think I could push her all the way back. She told me to go ahead and she would ride the sag wagon in. I flaged down the next few support vans I saw telling them to go back for my wife who had a breakdown but every van said they were only dealing with medical emergencies at that point. I told them that my wife walking in the 108F sun could be a medical emergency by now. I did see my wife at one of the rest stops. She got a sag wagon ride to that rest station but had to get off because they were going back for more riders. Good thing she was there. I took my prescriptions sunglasses off to walk through a mister and was so out of it that I left them behind and my wife recognizing them picked them up for me. Figuring my wife would probably beat me back I rode the last section as fast as I could. When I got back I couldn't find my wife at the start-finish. I knew she made it to a rest stop but was afraid she got impatient waiting for another sag and started walking to the next one. I decided to get our car and backtrack the course to find her. Problem was that with my sense of direction I couldn't find the hotel. After riding around trying to find it I saw a policeman and figured he'd know the area so I asked him if he knew where the Econolodge was. He said he did and gave me directions. It seemed too far and I didn't recognize the way but figured he might have given me a different route than the one I rode that morning to the event. When I got there I saw a big "Travelodge" sign. Crap! he gave me directions to the wrong hotel! By this point I rode an extra 20 miles after my century so I went in figuring they should know where all their competition is and after complaining about the policeman asked where the Econolodge was. They volunteered that the policeman made an honest mistake because the Econolodge was a new hotel and the Travelodge used to be the Econolodge in town. They gave me directions to the new Econolodge so I was able to find it. By this point my wife finally got a ride to the start-finish and not finding me started to worry that I had a problem. At the hotel I rinsed off, drove back to the event and found my wife. After the fiasco I vowed to take a cell phone and mini-tools and to not get separated from my wife on rides
I haven't done a century yet - although I'll be doing my first metric century ride in May through Napa and wine country. I just got my road bike in Sept so am fairly new to longer distances. I joined my local cycling club and after a few months of near constant rain during the winter, the club began its century training series. One of the first training rides was a fairly hilly 40 mi and everyone who showed up were long time cyclists and ultra fit. I was nervous as the newst member to cycling and still needing to drop about 25 pounds! The weather was pristine and sunny but very cold. We rode from San Fran over the Golden Gate Bridge and through Sausalito. Usually all these areas have fog but it was so cold it was perfectly clear. It wasn't as challenging a ride as I thought it would be and it was one of my first realizations that I am a pretty strong cyclist! And riding over the Golden Gate was awesome! It was one of those rides that confirms and strengthens our love for the sport.
Wow cool stories. I don't have one to report yet but hope to have a story later this summer when I follow the heartland tour. The heartland tour is a group of doctors who take any willing body on a biking tour. It's a heart health awareness ride. You can join the group at different stages of the ride. Going as short as 10 km or as long as 90km.
"Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start."
My most memorable *pleasant* ride was my first Century. I had been riding Metric Centuries (62.1 miles or 100km for those unaware of the reference), each time I rode, for weeks on end. A friend of mine stated, "If you're riding Metrics every time you ride, a Century is more than doable." So, that weekend, I resolved to do so - Hell or high water. It was June 11, 2010 and, as any true Southerner knows, that makes for some mighty warm temps, even at dawn. The only thing worse is the humidity.
The day started out decently enough at about 80*, or so, and the humidity was around the mid-to-high 90% range. I took a rest stop at 36 and 75 miles, confident I was going to make it. But at 91 miles, I had to stop - the heat had reached 102*F (38.8*C for our European friends) and the humidity only made it worse. I literally just placed Madeline against a stone monument, and lay on the ground in the shade. I had no idea I was so close to passing out till I lay there and felt the hot wind blowing over my body and realized it actually felt cool to me and then I began to feel chilly. A brief bought of nausea washed over me and I'll admit I did contemplate quitting and going home, just 9 miles short of my goal; however, my mantra nagged at me, "In for a penny. In for a pound." I took a 15 minute break then hopped back in the saddle and rode the last little bit.
I finished my first Century in 6:26:16, not including breaks, and thought I did quite well considering the conditions and the hilly terrain. I followed that Century with two more, one in August and another in September. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
My most memorable tour was my first....you always remember your first...lol! It was SAGBRAW (Sprockets Annual Bike Ride Across Wisconsin.) We went from Antigo, WI to Port Washington, WI that year. I had a blast riding with friends all week.
I've been on many since then, some organized, others self guided, but the discovery of turning the clock back and becoming just a kid on a bike again is what makes that first tour stick out.
Saturday, a group of us leave for the Natchez Trace. We will pedal the entire Trace in 7 days, along with some site seeing and ice cream eating. Can't wait!!
...and then in the middle of everything, you realize you're alive right now, and the time to live is right now!
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