Pelotonia - Part II (finally)
Monday, September 06, 2010
The roads were blocked off and there were police at every intersection the whole way out of Columbus. It was extremely weird to just ride through the lights and have the road blocked off just for us. It felt good to get the legs moving and to finally get going on the ride after all of the anticipation. I was feeling really good, so I debated on forgoing the first rest stop, which was at about 12 miles. I decided to go ahead and stop – the day is not a race and I wanted to make sure that I took advantage of all of the stops to be fully hydrated and fueled throughout the ride. As I came into the rest stop, there was a rider on the ground that had collapsed just before I got there. I am not sure what happened, but people were saying that he just collapsed.
At the rest stop, I filled my water, got a little bit to eat and hit the port-a-potty. I then saw several people that I knew and we hugged and wished each other luck.
There were more rest stops along the route than any other ride that I had been on. Most of them were about every 12-15 miles, so they were timed really well for refueling. During a long ride, you need to make sure that you are properly refueling so that your muscles and body can keep up with the demands of the ride. I had some stuff with me on the bike – some Hammer gel and some Heed, but neither of those was sitting real well with me because of my nerves, so I would usually get some peanut butter and jelly and maybe a small banana and some Gatorade.
I hit the rest stop at mile 43 at about 11 and they had more of a lunch there, so I took a little bit more time at that stop. Well, what started out as a little bit more time turned into about 45 minutes to an hr. They only had 3 port-a-potties, unless you walked to the other side of the school, so the lines were pretty bad. I went when I first got to the stop and waited about 10 minutes and there were still several people in front of me, so I decided to stretch my legs and walk over to the other side of the school. People said that there was not a line for those, but of course, when I got there, there was a little bit of a line. Total of that potty break = about 20 minutes. I then got a little bit to eat and sat down with someone that rides on my Tuesday night rides and we talked for a little bit and I drank more water and Gatorade, so I had to go to the bathroom again. That was about another 15 minutes.
The next stop was at mile 54 and that was right before the big hills started. Just a little bit before the stop, my husband texted me to tell me that he and my son were headed to Athens. They hadn’t planned on coming down, but their plans were cancelled because of rain, so they decided to make the drive. I called him from the rest stop and he said that they were about 30 minutes outside of Athens (which is where the ride ended Saturday night) and he asked me where I was. I said that I was just getting to the hills, which were just a little bit over halfway.
I refueled and finally got up the nerve to head out and hit the hills. The first one came up and I had already been warned about it – that it just kept going and going and going. It had about 4-5 sections of a steep rise and then a little bit of a ridge, then another steep rise. I made it up the first one, and then stopped on the ridge to catch my breath and let my heart-rate get back down and out of my throat. I tackled the second and third one the same way. Then, I think that it was before the 4th one that some people were cheering us on alongside of the road and they said that the next section was the last steep part and then it was downhill. Well, I got up that section and stopped and looked ahead and there was another hill. At that point, my thighs were shot, so I decided to walk the bike. There were a lot of people who walked up the whole thing, so I felt good that I had made it on the bike as far as I did.
There were a couple of other pretty steep hills in that section of the ride. I made it up the first one and then had to walk about half of the next. The next scheduled stop wasn’t until I think about 66 miles, but some of the locals from the area added their own rest stop for us where they provided food, water and Gatorade. That was much appreciated and needed by all of the riders.
It started to sprinkle a little bit at that stop, so a lot of us decided to cut the stop a little bit short and get moving. A little bit after that, it started to pour down rain, so we could not go super fast down the hill. I didn’t find out until I was almost done with the ride that there was a cyclist that was killed by a car at one of the intersections during that storm. From the timing of the accident, I think that it happened shortly after I passed that point. That is just so emotional to think that the person that was killed was probably one of the people who I had just shared the hill experience with.
After I got down with that section of the ride, the rest of the ride went pretty smoothly. My legs felt good on the flat sections, but I tell you what, I could really feel those thighs going up the hills. There was one last big hill about 15 miles from the end, which I ended up walking up the whole thing. I didn’t know if my legs could take it and there was a fair amount of traffic and other cyclists walking their bikes that I did not risk even attempting it.
I finished the ride at about 6:00, so around 11 hrs. total for the ride. My odometer on my bike said that I was moving for 8:15 minutes, so those rest stops really added up. Like I said before, it was not a race. There were still quite a few people who finished after I did, so all in all, I am very proud of myself for finishing and being a part of this ride to help find a cure for cancer.