Sunday, March 1, 2009

gran fondo it!

i really wish i had put "century ride" on my list of goals this year but somehow i missed that one. i'm thinking of going back and adding it so I can check it off, though. before this weekend, my biggest ride of all time was 85 miles and that was a year ago...so this weekend i had a little graduation and rode 100 miles...and i rode with the "fast" girls (mary, jen, stacy and elaine). yes, we were the geeks on tri bikes, but we were loving it. i was pretty nervous at the start because i knew how fast stacy was and heard (from bloody mary) that jen was a "serious cyclist" who had placed 4th at a REAL bike race the day before. i secretly (or maybe i told her) hoped that her legs were total jello from the racing so she didn't make me cry. i also knew that mary is a good friend and rides with me becuase i am a good chatter, but she has the potential to ride much faster. i was nervous, but excited. i told james beforehand that i would try to stay with the fast girls, but if i got dropped, i was pretty sure i could make new friends on the course...

all smiles at the start..

the race started off in nasty-ville. not so pretty for the first 15 miles. which were easy. i was riding comfortably and knew that the "tough stuff was ahead". after 15 miles, we got to the flats and gradual uphill and the Olympic Training Center where they had a neat aid station and and the course included a lap around the OTC!
We left the OTC and i got dropped messing around taking pictures (SOMEBODYs got to make the memories!),


but i knew we were stopping for a pee in the bushes soon so i settled into my pace, clicked away and rolled up just as they were taking down their pants on the side of the road, so i wasn't too far behind the behinds. (4 porta potties for 1000+ people at the aid station...really? our group of 5 played yoyo with team prosecco and they yelled at us in italian when they passed the lady squatters (is that an oxymoron?) )

then, we hit the HILLS. i was told by everyone on this century that this was the hardest one they've ever done. my garmin said there was either 9,000 (garmin training center) or 13,000 (training peaks device agent) total feet of climbing. i think even going with the 9,000, that's pretty solid.

mile 37 was the 7 mile chip-timed KOM climb- honey springs road. they evil-ly placed "grade" signs so you knew if you were climbing at 7% or 5% or whatever. all i know is it was 100 degrees and i've never seen so many sad tired faces. somehow, i found my climbing legs- for the first time ever, and on my tri bike on my first century ride. i told my "fast friends" to go ahead of me and that i was going to sit in on the climb so i didn't blow up the last 60 miles. somehow, i just got to pedaling and stayed about 50-100yds behind my fast friends the whole climb. i think we passed a couple of hundred people on the climb. it was kind of surreal for me, like i didn't understand how i was just doing it. but i was. and i got to the top. and i wasn't slow. if you've spent any time reading my blog, you may know that i'm a cycling whiner- "oh, i'm so slow....get dropped all the time...don't know why i stink..." blah blah...well, not yesterday (and not again!) that is OVER.
after the big climb, there were several more significant climbs (part of the local "great western loop"), serious winds, sketchy descents.....and some delirious lounging at the aid station. here's my great iphone aim- mary and i at mile 68




another try? (actually there were like 10 tries and these two were the closest to having us both in.
well, we eventually made it to the finish ....we actually made it to the finish TWO times (who makes a century that is 97.5 miles?). true friendship is riding 2.5 extra miles with 100 stop signs to help your friend get to 100 miles. that was bloody mary. AND she was already at 100 becuase she had ridden to the start. what a champ.
after the ride it was time for a beer, then home to hug my mountainbike champ, james who had a fantastic first race of the season. it was a great day for future team walsh!

beer first!
all in all, i decided that the gran fondo century was one i would definitely do again. granted the first 15 miles are ugly and the last 20 even worse, not to mention that they are littered with endless stoplights and go through parts of town that don't see many cyclists on the road. BUT the middle 65 miles were pure wonderful beautifulness.

the coolest thing was that my fast friends placed 6th, 7th, and 8th overall in the KOM and i was 10th! we placed in our age groups and apparently got awards, but i missed those-whoops. mary and i also missed the finishers medals (how is that, we went through twice!) i guess i can make a t-shirt that says, i rode 100 miles and all i got was this sweet tan:
or maybe that picture should be titled, "poor james". you'd agree if you saw the other tans on the body. the best one is the 3-inch white band from the sweat band i wore on my arm. the half finger cycling gloves were good too.

i also decided that for me, century rides in general are like disney land. it's fun to go, like once a year. its an all day event, you'll be tired and hot, but its worth it. however, who wants to go to disneyland a couple times a month? i really admire those who sit their butts in the saddle for that long week after week...but i'll admire from afar.

but, i am so glad i did it and for me, it was of my biggest physical and mental milestones. last year i was TERRIFIED of a centur. the KOM climb and the whole experience of hanging with the group and not being on the verge of being dropped (mostly) all day was really motivating for me and i think that maybe i am not a lost cause the bike, it really just takes time and miles, and i just need to keep (or start) working hard for it. i think i like to bike.



24 comments:

Luke said...

awesome...long days on the bike rock! dig the tan!!

D said...

I WANT TO GO TO DISNEYLAND A COUPLE TIMES A MONTH! Or more often, even. I love it. Ok... so it's been 15 years since I was there. But one day I will be a hero and do dirty stuff on Small World ;)

X-Country2 said...

What a great race! I just love how you always have dashes of pink in your race gear. So girly and yet so tough.

Jaakko Hiekkaranta said...

THATSWHATIMTALKINGABOUT!!!!!!!

Jaakko Hiekkaranta said...

AWESOME STUFFF

Jaakko Hiekkaranta said...

TEAM WALSH IS GOING TO BE HUGE (well in a success kind of way anyway)

SixTwoThree said...

Oh girl, you inspire me! When I did a half century in Solvang, I also had to stop to take pictures of bulls and ostriches. I also had to pee in the bushes. And I also made my friend ride another 2.5 miles because what half century is 48.5 miles? I needed that milestone under my belt. Well that was a couple of years ago. Maybe next year I can work my way to a century. Fingers crossed - lots of rehab. But you're giving me something to think about! CONGRATS! CONGRATS! CONGRATS! THAT'S HUGE!!

GZ said...

Hey - nice breakthrough on the hundred!

Mike said...

Congrats on making the century mark!!! I smell a double century next!!!!

RR said...

Nice job! You are giving me hope because I still am not a bike lover!

runninggunner said...

Great Work Beth. Looks like it was a fun challenge.

katie b said...

wow, great job Beth :) sounds like a great time. i think i'd like to join in next year for that one!

Pedal Circles said...

Nice job!

I want to hit a dirt century this year.

Nikee Pomper said...

Great Job Speed Demon! I love the confidence about hills and the bike. It amazing how a simple change of attitude can make such a HUGE difference. I used to HATE hills and avoided them at all cost. This year, I gave in and decided to embrace climbs. I have seen some significant improvements on climbing, simply based on a shift in attitude.
Keep up the great work!

Nikee Pomper said...

Great Job Speed Demon! I love the confidence about hills and the bike. It amazing how a simple change of attitude can make such a HUGE difference. I used to HATE hills and avoided them at all cost. This year, I gave in and decided to embrace climbs. I have seen some significant improvements on climbing, simply based on a shift in attitude.
Keep up the great work!

triguyjt said...

cool post beth...!!!!!

allyson said...

Great job. You give me hope to try a century. I am constantly saying I cant bike, as soon as the smallest hill comes along I am dropped. Congratulations

DW & KC said...

Congrats. What a great feeling to know you can do 100 miles. I am thinking about Boston in 2010 . . that would be great if you went to. FUN!!

Mary said...

It would have been very sad if you had to celebrate the 100 on your own. Plus, when do you get to finish a race twice and high five on a bike through the finish line? True friendship is also sharing licorice with your friend at the top of Honey Springs. BTW, Pat read this and we have a new quote "you peed in front of Italian men...that's not okay"

MJ said...

Sounds like a real breakthrough ride.... You gotta love breaking through. Nicely done!

Charisa said...

Sounds pretty fun - nice job on the KOM!!

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

O.k...I am feeling like a really bad friend because I didn't ride 2 more miles to 100 miles. I love your blog and it was great riding with you.I hope that even though I bailed at mile 98 we can still be pals? I am actually not a very serious about anything in life except....girls on bikes dropping boys. You did awesome.

Zach said...

Nice work on the century! Sounds like you really nailed that climb.

Sarah said...

I know I'm a week behind here.

Beth, I just want to say...I AM SO SO SO SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!

All year last year you left these comments like "wow you rode a hundred miles, wtf?" and I was like "oh Beth, puh-lease, you could totally do it, you are strong and you kick ass."

And you totally DID do it AND you kicked ass!

Sounds like a cool century ride as those go - this one sounds like it has more bells and whistles than most. I've never done one that had a KOM challenge (very cool!) or even finisher's medals.

I agree they're kinda like the Disneyland concept...not something I'd want to do every weekend, but a very good way to see an area you've never seen and get nice food and have fun with your friends on an all-day sort of thing.

My friend Carmen and I are doing the Solvang Century next weekend - your report made me all excited!!

GREAT JOB, BETH! Really happy that you seem to be improving all the time...:)