On Saturday I completed my 2013 New Years Goal. I remember it like it was yesterday, It was New Years Day, I was talking to a GOTR Merlin, and I said, "This year I'm going to do a Century".
It took till Oct 5th, but I did it. The Martin's Tour of Richmond Gran Fondo.
So let's discuss... “Gran Fondo” means “Big Ride” in Italian. (That's what she said).
Oh yeah. It was big (That's what she said). In fact, two days before the race I learned that they'd added 4 miles to the course. As if 102 miles wasn't enough, I was now doing 106 miles. Good stuff.
Leading up to the ride I was asked repeatedly, "What's your goal?"
I'm big on goals.
Mostly the weekend consisted of these goals:
Survive the heat.
Finish the ride.
Smile a lot.
Did I mention "don't die?", cos it's on the list... the forecast was something along the lines of 92 degrees so... yeah, in October...
I did the event with my pals, The Gentlemen of the Roads and The Ladies of the Lanes. We were divided into pace groups - the A group, the B group, the DD group... that's where Lady Karen and I fell in....
|shade = more important|
than it looks
Riding down the marathon race course I spotted in the distance two runners standing on the street corner, waiting for 1,000 cyclists to ride past. They looked annoyed. Hands on hips. Sipping from water bottles... hey.. wait a minute...I know them...
"HEY YOU PEOPLE!"
At some point just before the first worlds longest hill I found myself on the tire of Gentlemen Tom. It was fun to hang with them for a bit, and I dropped myself when the climb started and reconnected with Mike, British & Karen.
First rest stop, quick top off water bottles, porta potty, and go!
TMI: Strategy for 106 miles in 90+ degree heat - I decided EVERY stop I would hit the potty and see if I was peeing enough. #weird. I think nursing school ruined me for normalcy. At any rate, it worked well. By the end of the day I knew I was WAY behind in hydration.
Rest stop TWO - This is SO much better with lube! (That's what she said).
A blur of miles... rest stops... drink again, drink again, drink again... and lots of eating. And Beer Talk.
|The Fearsome Four - 60% done, and that ain't bad.|
And then more miles and more miles and I started watching the clock... not because I was worried about a melt down, but more because... Gentleman British's Daughter had a birthday party he HAD to be back for... and my daughter had to be at said birthday party...
so we started picking up the pace.
We fell into a new little group - and I was once again on Tom's tire. It was work, but only in the way that cycling comfortably is work. I wasn't struggling, we were just moving along.
Tom: "My garmin says it's 94 degrees here."
Me: "Information I could have done without..."
|Hot Sweaty Mess|
And wait a freaking minute here...
I realized that we were cruising, and I was 93 miles into my ride. Holy wow.
A wash of euphoria rolled over me and I grinned as I soaked in the HIGH that comes from endurance sports.
Somewhere around mile 93 or so my legs asked, politely, if we could just stop and take a dirt nap.
I told them to STFU.
They piped up again at mile 94.
At this point, I promised them that if they kept doing their job that there would be beer. “Just keep pedaling up this hill, there’s beer at the finish. It’s true.”
“The faster you pedal, the faster you get to the beer. Hang on Tom’s wheel and Go to the Beer.”
Until eventually, the cohesiveness of my thoughts unraveled and my thoughts became,
“Tom’s Tire. Beer.”
Raceway - Victory Lap
I’m pretty sure the single mindedness of my mantra could have been a lot more inspirational. Imagine the power of this blog If I’d had some schmoopy inspirational laden mantra about the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.
Not this girl.
She was focused on beer.
Ironically, by the time I pulled myself over the 106th mile in the 90+ degree heat, beer wasn’t nearly as heaven sent as a cold iced washcloth and a bottle of BluesomethingorotherAid. I think I proposed to the girl who handed it to me. I’m not sure, it’s vague. It might have been a guy now that I think about it...
After the event though, I realized that despite how hard it was, I did an amazing job.
|it's not pretty, but it's|
authentic. I was suffering
and it is HOT here. But I am
getting it done at RIR.
1 mile to go.
But this was NOT about winning, or getting an age group finish, or being ahead of anyone else. This was about ENJOYING MY SPORT and EMBRACING MY OWN ACCOMPLISHMENT.
Regardless of how fast or slow I completed the
106 miles, it was a STELLAR DAY. I consider it a 106% SUCCESS.
I was proud of my strong finish. I did exactly what I set out to do, and so much more than that.
And oh look, there was a timing chip and the results are telling. The more fun you have doing something, the better you are at it
... Thanks to Tom, British Les and Mike, true Gentlemen of the Road, who pulled me to a 2nd place age group finish.
As an aside - Sportsbackers did a great job. There was plenty of water, plenty of volunteers, food, etc. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being a fail and 10 being Spot On, I'd give them an 8.