Monday, October 6, 2014

The wheels didn't come off!

So I had to hold off on the rest of my story because last week only the finish line photos were up - I was still waiting on the photo stations during the ride to be posted.  So here is the first photo - it was early on Saturday - we were still feeling out groups and hadn't yet settled into our pace line.

Team Glow Worm in action together!

Now back to where we left off.  We were about 50 miles in as D-Wayne was working his mechanical magic on my randomly janky front derailleur and my shoulder was feeling good.  My legs were starting to feel the mileage, but cramps weren't much of a concern.  With the number of rest stops available I was able to stay on top of staying hydrated.  I also preemptively ate some pickles and drank some pickle juice at the lake rest stop to stay ahead of any thoughts of cramping.

We stopped at the next rest stop as hunger was really starting to hit both of us.  Again I chowed down on some peanut butter and jelly, but there was no mustard or pickle juice to be found.  THIS should have been a rest stop with mustard and pickles as it was coming off of the second century loop... but oh well, we pressed on and I was still cramp free.  Moving on down the road (about mile 64 is) I noticed that while in position riding my shoulder was fine, but sitting up on the bike and moving my shoulder there was some pain... easy fix, stay down on the bike.

There were some riders up ahead so I started working on reeling them in.  As they disappeared up a small hill and around a corner a car worked to pass them and we hear a loud CRACK!!  It didn't sound like a car/bike accident, but I pick up the pace to see what happened.  We clear the corner and the riders are up ahead and safe.  To the left I see a father and his son (12-13 years old) coming from the front of their house.  Maybe they slammed the door.  I then notice a chicken in the back yard that they seem to be moving towards, and I see that the father has his elbow bent with his body shielding his hand from the street.  As we pass by we hear another CRACK!!  I yell back to D-Wayne - "they are trying to shoot a chicken!!"  That was about the oddest thing I saw, and all I could do was shake my head as we pedaled on - North Carolina.

D-Wayne and I start talking about where we will finish.  Talking to some riders leaving the lake rest stop we learned that the shortest we could ride (having hit the first two century loops) was about 83 miles as the route either turns back to Tanglewood, or continues on for the last loop (which circled back on some roads already ridden).  D-Wayne was feeling like the shorter option, but was supportive of me continuing on.  I was back and forth on it, but was ready to make a decision on the spot when we got to the deciding turn.  And then it happened.  At about mile 75 my shoulder started hurting on the bike.  My legs were also feeling it, and on a couple grinding climbs my legs were completely shot.

At this point I was 80% sure I was going to bail.  I figured I could soft pedal the last loop if necessary, but it would't be fun.  Plus, I supposed I should be responsible and think about the health of my shoulder when making the decision.  As we came up on another rest stop D-Wayne declared that he was pushing on as he feared he would cramp up if he got off the bike - I was feeling pretty good so I stuck with him.  Coming up to the final rest stop I knew that if I did not stop that there was no way that I would be doing the full century... but at the same time I knew if I did stop it would be hard to at least try to keep up the pace without D-Wayne there.  I pushed forward.  D-Wayne ended up pulling away on the next grinder but I was able to keep him in sight and use him as a carrot.

Up ahead I see the police car and signage - left back to Tanglewood, right to finish the century.  Everyone was turning left and my shoulder and legs made the decision for me... I rolled to the left and worked my way to the finish.  D-Wayne pulled up a little so we could cross together.

It was a great feeling crossing the line.  There were volunteers cheering as we crossed, and I was grateful for all the support I had received in fundraising and words of encouragement.  Part of me did feel bad that I wasn't able to complete the century (both for my fundraising promise and just to personally be able to complete one), but it was by far the longest ride I had been on, and that was an accomplishment in itself.

We settled in under the Draft to da Draft team tent and shared stories of our rides.  I enjoyed a beer, and I mean REALLY enjoyed it.  After all those miles (and spent calories) it tasted absolutely PHENOMENAL!

I did get out on Sunday as well, but I'll tell you all about that tomorrow...

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