Friday, June 11, 2010

My first Century Ride (I can't believe no disasters)

I know this is long, but a century IS long...

For the last 6-7 weeks, I increased my cycling mileage up to between 100 - 170 miles per week... I was riding 25 fast miles on Tuesday, 15 miles of HILLS on Thursday, Long Ride with HILLS on Saturday, and a nice 40 mile recovery ride on Sunday. Also, if I found something not working for me, I got it fixed...

I got a compact crank & new cassette to help with climbing. I also started taking Optygen HP, yes I think this REALLY helped me!

This ride was a Charity Ride to raise money for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and I did it with Team in Training... so, before we left for Lake Tahoe, I changed out my handlebar tape to green & purple (TnT colors) it was a constant reminder of why I'm riding. On Tuesday before we left for Lake Tahoe, we dropped our bikes off to be Trucked up to the Lake... it was hard to let Hoke out of my sight, but I trusted TnT to take care of him!

On Wednesday night, I took my other bike out for a ride as I just needed 1 more ride that week - to fulfill my 4 rides per week goal... I knew it wouldn't make or break the BIG ride ;) Friday came all too soon, and I awoke VERY early to catch an early flight to Reno... I had been warned that I couldn't pack C02 cartridges in my check-in luggage, and I couldn't carry them on either - so I went through my saddle bag and removed the 2 cartridges that I keep in there... well, guess what? I guess I carry 3 of them, because the security scan found one... I was embarrassed, but I explained that I was a cyclist to the security guards... told them where to find the cartridge, and they took it out of the bag for me, holding it between 2 fingertips as if it were a bomb... re-scanned my bag, checked my ID & wrote it up... and let me go...

We arrived in Lake Tahoe, checked in to the Hotel and picked up our bikes from the truck... I immediately took my bike to the mechanic as I was having trouble in a couple of gears - he explained to me how to avoid the rubbing by moving the derailleur without changing rings... but, he also cleaned & oiled the chain for me :) A little while later, our team decided to go out for a short ride... my bike was working GREAT for our 13 mile ride around South Lake Tahoe...I ended up going to dinner with new friends I met at Happy Hour - we had Sushi Dinner - Yummy!

My team decided they wanted to ride Saturday, but I never rode the day before a long ride, so I opted out of that ride... (Smart!) looks like I missed out on a great ride... still the best decision for me!

Saturday afternoon, I had a bit of time between planned events, and decided to fill up my water bottles and do a little prep for the next day's ride... for some unknown reason (I NEVER do this!) I took the pre-filled water bottles and placed them in my bottle cages on my bike... one of the bottle cages came loose - I looked around, and I couldn't find the screw - soooo... back to the bike mechanic I went... he had a screw and fixed the cage for me no problem - whew! Disaster averted! How did the cage come loose between yesterday's ride and today???

Saturday Night, after our Pasta Loading Dinner Party, our team spent time together to decorate our Helmets (each chapter in TnT decorates for their location - we did Royal Flushes & fuzzy dice - everyone knew we were from Vegas!) and prepared our ribbons that we pinned on our backs that had the names of our people that we would be riding for... I rode for Michael Aurich who died of Brain Cancer at the age of 9; His brother Ben Aurich whom after a two year battle with mental illness and 6 failed suicide attempts, took his own life at the age of 16 just this past February. My Aunt Marilyn who suffered with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for over 20 years before she succumbed to the disease. Jenny & Paulette from the RunnersWorld Forum. They are the REAL Heroes...

After I got back to my room, I did something else that I NEVER do... I started up my Garmin so I could delete old rides off of it - making sure I'd have enough storage for this ride... it gave a message of "low battery"... unreal... I had to bring it to Stacy's room to charge it over night as her DBF had the only laptop in the group... another disaster averted! Went back to my room and tried to get some sleep...

The Ride - Sunday, June 6, 2010 - The day is finally here :
Woke up extra early, and went to breakfast... ate oatmeal and had a cup of OJ & some Hot Tea... Shane pumped my tires... I remember that I had to run to my room to get my jacket (that I didn't think I would need) and something else - I don't remember what... turns out, I handed off my jacket [to SAG] before the ride as it was pretty warm already...

This is us outside of our Hotel in California before riding to the Start Line in Nevada

We decided to ride to the Start Line (some people left right from the Hotel) but I didn't start my Garmin til the Start even though I knew the ride wasn't a full 100 miles... We got to the Start line, and somehow while trying to get in a good start-up gear, I dropped my chain... I acted like a girl [hey it worked!], and Shane put it back on for me - thanks Shane! Shortly thereafter, we were off!

6 of us rode together and stayed in a group for the first 20ish miles... then Emerald Bay... This is one of those climbs that you do, you think... wow, that was hard, and then you look up, and realize you just started the climb! I was determined to keep riding and not stop - which I did! I also passed many people on the way up the hill (I love my new cassette!!) And... I was passed my many others, but I made it to the top [Thanks to the training I did at the Red Rock Loop] and was rewarded with a FAST & FUN downhill... Pretty scary as the roads were very uneven and had a lot of pot holes and trenches.

I made it to the first Support Stop - found Blake and told him I needed to use the port-a-potty... I couldn't find a place to set my bike, so I laid it on the I came out, I saw Shane, then I picked up my bike and my chain dropped off - again - luckily, with a couple of pedal strokes, it found its way back on - I didn't have to get my hands dirty or be rescued - but someone else needed rescuing... I look up, and a woman came tumbling down the hill still clipped into her bike...I called for Shane, and he went running over to help her... she had dropped her chain going up the hill and couldn't clip out in time and fell... she was laughing when she was helped up, so all was okay!

Shane & I found Kim & Todd... I lost Blake, and never saw Stacy... I waited while Kim, Todd and Shane did the stuff they needed to do, we took some pictures, and off we all went... not sure how, but I got separated from the group again - probably another uphill part (I'm not as strong on the hills as I'd like to be) I remember the roads being real torn-up, and lots of ruts and dangerous sections... It was relatively flat & fast around here, and I found a pace-line to join in on... I stayed with them for a few miles and then one of their teammates got a flat or fell or something so they stopped and I went on alone thanking them for the great tow.

I met up with my team at the next Support Stop - filled my water, used the port-a-potty again, and we all went out together again :)

Soon, we got to the Truckee turn-off and our whole team is still together - we decided to go up the bike trail that follows the river - beautiful trail by the way... but it's a teeny trail, and we had a pace line going, and we're passing many people on the left... If anyone was coming towards us, it could have been bad... we got out of the trail and back onto the street, and our pace-line continued... in fact, I believe we joined in on another pace-line... I did my best to keep up, but I was working hard to stay on the back. Then we came to a traffic signal, and my start-up just isn't fast enough, and I fell behind. This man rode up to me and said he didn't feel right in joining in on the pace-line - I said "I let it go, I can't keep up" He said "I'll get you there, are you ready to sprint?" I said "Let's GO"... he got me there! It was AWESOME!! Then he gave a wave and fell behind... wow I don't know who he was, but a big THANK YOU!!

Todd & I fell behind at the final traffic signal before the support stop, we turned into the parking lot and couldn't find the team... when we finally found them, I just kept saying how unnecessary that pace-line was... I felt it wasted sooooo much energy and we still had over 50 miles to go and Spooner Summit was still a scary thought to me. My team still insists that it was FUN to push it, and pass lots and lots of people...

We were finally ready to get on the road, and Kim finally got a hold of her parents (our SAG team) so, we took another 10 - 15 minutes with them, and more pictures, etc...

then we were off... we stopped at the Olympic Rings (halfway back to the lake) to take pictures... when we finally got back to the lake, it wasn't long til our lunch stop - I was STARVING by then ;)

I ate a turkey sandwich, baked lays and a brownie provided by Subway - yummy...Todd had some Advil, and I decided that I would take 2 since my back was hurting - probably because of that Truckee ordeal - I'm glad I did, because I had no more pain the rest of the ride! We had a nice rest and then Kim said she was having trouble breathing, so someone went and got her breathing machine and we waited for her to get her breathing treatment - well worth the wait! I don't know how she rides so well with the breathing issues she has... she's AMAZING! Then we walked to the pier and took some awesome team pictures, and we were off again... I was worried about getting back on the bike after such a long break, but I had no problems.

There was a short climb out from the lunch stop, and of course, uphill means I fall behind... then we got to Incline Village - one of my favorite spots on the ride - the Homes were beautiful and the Streets were shaded with trees... only thing, is that we had to stop with one foot down at each stop sign... I would just get to the stop sign as my team was just pulling out.. I saw them, but couldn't catch them... finally, just out of the Village; I caught up and rode with them til Spooner... I've gotta say that the roads in Nevada were MUCH smoother than the roads in California, and I was happy to be back in my home state :)

Spooner was another animal... tough tough climb, and it was HOT by then, and there were no trees or shade at all... I started the climb thinking I'm not gonna stop, I'm not gonna stop, then I see the water stop and passed the entrance to it, but then I saw the port-a-potties and I decided to stop - so I went in the exit... After using the facilities, I walked over to the water and had them pour some over my head and down my back - ahhhhhh that felt so good!

Then I was on my way again... shortly after that, I saw Kim who was taking a break, so I passed her... then I saw Shane who stopped to take pictures of us coming up the hill (he did that on all of our training rides) I told him Kim wasn't far behind... then I saw Shane's family, and stopped and gave them all high fives and thanked them for their support, Then I saw Todd who was riding slow to give Kim a chance to catch up with him… then I climbed the rest of the mountain... when I got to the top, there was a Support Stop, and I tried to stop - I always unclip my right foot first, and my right foot wouldn't unclip... I tried and tried... I finally tried my left foot, and it unclipped, and I managed to lean the right way (to the left) and came to a stop without falling – amazing! Someone had to pry my right foot out of my pedal for me... then I found the rest of my team and I started breathing badly.. I felt myself hyperventilating - I felt like a black-out coming on - finally Todd told me to breath into cupped hands - that did the trick, and my breathing became better... Hard part done... I'm gonna make it to the finish!

So, I climbed Spooner and expected my reward of going downhill FAST... but there was a head wind WTF?? The tunnel was like a wind tunnel...

It was still a fun beautiful ride down - the lake looked pretty inviting at that point... We had 4 short hills to climb, they didn't feel short... But soon, the finish was in sight...

What was cool is that as we got closer to the finish, our team came together and we decided to cross the finish line together... I don't know how we did it, but we climbed that last driveway all together, and all 6 bike wheels crossed the finish line at the exact same time... how cool is that?

I stopped my Garmin - it was only 98+ miles - riding time 6:26 - ave speed 15.0 mph (not bad!) - just shy of 9 hours total time... oh crap! Not a full Century!?!

I got my bag from our SAG, took off my helmet, changed shoes, and walked over and got my medal and ate some cookies...bought my picture that was taken at the top of Emerald Bay - then we had to take our bikes across the street to the truck... so, I put my shoes & helmet back on, and re-started my Garmin... when we got to the truck, my Garmin read 99.6, so I rode around the parking lot for another .4 miles and stopped on mile 100.0 exactly! Century DONE!

Time: 06:41:26
Distance: 100.01 mi
Elevation Gain: 4,159 ft
Calories: 6,203 C

Moving Time: 06:35:19
Elapsed Time: 09:15:33
Avg Speed: 14.9 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 15.2 mph
Max Speed: 40.3 mph

Why is my Time different than Moving Time???

Post Ride:
I went back to the Hotel, showered and went immediately to the Post-Ride party as I wanted to eat some protein ASAP… I had a couple of pieces of BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, a roll – yummy! I had a chair massage… ahhhh felt good! The rest of my team finally got to the party and I sat with them as they ate… then we went back to the Hotel for Happy Hour drinks… lots of drinks ;) (In fact I don't even remember putting on a mask???)

The amazing part of this experience is how good I felt at the end… I remember after our 77 mile ride, I wouldn’t have gotten back on the bike if you paid me, and after 98 miles, I wasn’t done – I got back on til it said 100, and I could have ridden more… was it the Advil I took at lunch? Whatever it was, I was happy that I finished my first Century, and finished it STRONG! I also want to say that even though I always fell behind my team on the climbs, I passed many, many other people... "on your left" was the words I spoke most often during the day... I am MUCH stronger than I thought I was :) Thanks to Coach Shane!!

I appreciate all of the support I got during my training & fund raising … it was a GREAT experience and I will do it again… I already have 2 more Century Rides and the MS 150 on my schedule this year

For the full album, please visit Shane's Album here: or for the pictures I pulled out of his album, you can see them on my FB page here:!/album.php?aid=8025714&id=1206118161&ref=pb

Thanks for reading, I know this was LONG, but I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it :)