Saturday was an amazing and tough day for so many reasons. Saturday was the Gateway Bike MS in Columbia, Missouri and my company was the title sponsor so I needed to be there. The event was advertised as a ride, not a race which really helped keep the mood light. Riders could pick from 4 distances..20, 40, 75 or 100.
The event started with a ribbon cutting and as the title sponsor, we got to take off first. Our team was made up of mostly coworkers from across our huge company who hadn’t really had much of a chance to get to know each other let alone ride with each other so I had fully expected to have to ride the entire way by myself.
Once our group took off, I was excited and started talking to whoever would listen. Turns out that was most of my team. I had intended to take my place squarely in the midst of the 40 mile crew but at the point where the routes deviated, I was in the middle of a pack and we were cruising along. I COMPLETELY MISSED MY TURN!! I panicked for a minute, told my team what I had just done and the vowed to keep me going as far as I wanted to go. This group of guys that I didn’t really know well right then became so much more than coworkers to me.
This event was amazing for so many reasons. Think Hood to Coast on wheels. Every 10-15 miles there was a rest stop with a party atmosphere and all the goodies you could consume.
|10 Mile Pit Stop|
The first 10 miles were a pretty tough we had the wind in our face and it was a brisk 59 degrees. I started in with the self doubt but tried desperately to fight it back.
|20 Mile Pit Stop|
20 miles in, my posse was still sticking with me and I was feeling pretty good, cold but good, for someone whose longest ride to date was 30 miles. We were keeping an 18 mph pace which I was stunned about and a little nervous that I was going to get dropped sooner than later. We stopped at the pit stop long enough to fill our bottles and grab a little energy and we were off.
By mile 45 the sun had come up and we were rolling. This course took us through Amish country. That means, instead of dodging cars, we were literally dodging horse and buggies and piles of poop.
Mentally, I was in uncharted territory but I tried hard not to let it get to me. I had to be as confident in myself as my team was confident in me.
We stopped for lunch around mile 55, took a little longer break with turkey sandwiches and good conversation. I’m amazed at what you can learn about someone when you’re riding a bike. I was feeling pretty sore and tight and realized that it was in my best interest to go 75. The rest of the group had planned on 100. After some attempted peer pressure, we got on and took off. Pretty soon, the cutoff came and I knew it was the right decision. I split from my team shouting words of encouragement and found myself alone. My pace dropped naturally to around 16 and while it felt good, I was disappointed and realized again just how important the group can be in an individual sport.
|This is my “I’m in pain but I’m gonna do it” face|
I stopped at mile 65 to ask the medic for some sunscreen and found another teammate who was riding alone so we decided to finish it out together. The last segment was all rolling hills and while the ups were tough, the downs were fun. I have NEVER seen 33 mph on my bike before.
At the end of the day I was tired but so proud of what I was able to accomplish not only on my ride but for the fight against MS. It probably wasn’t the best idea to do this week’s long run the day before but it worked out!
I learned so much about biking and about myself this weekend. I can’t wait to share but for now I just want to soak up this feeling of accomplishment before I get back into the crazy week.
How was your weekend? What made you smile today?