Police Chases, Bikes and Birds
So, rewind to last weekend. I was pretty nervous on Friday about Saturday's ride. Our longest ride was 20 miles, which is only 2/3 of the 31 mile distance, and it's only been about 6 weeks since I pretty much learned to ride a bike. After work I walked down to the library to pick up some books I had ordered and to the downtown grocery store for some bananas before heading home. We made some pasta, watched a movie and relaxed before heading to bed around 10. We got our stuff ready (there's SO much more to lay out for bike events!) and climbed into bed. We'd only been in bed for a couple of minutes when Pippin started barking. First of all he was sleeping in a different room, which is weird because he's gotten where he pretty much always sleeps in his little bed in our room. And he is really not a barker. He'll bark when he's playing games with you (or other dogs) but he rarely barks otherwise. So when barks, we get up and check things out. Or Brent does. He got up and peeked out our front window in time to see a Honda speeding down our street. A little odd, but not that odd. Nothing else really seemed to be going on, so we settled back down to get some sleep. And just then we heard sirens and blue lights radiating through the windows. We jumped up just in time to see the Honda being chased buy a police car that nearly took out our entire little corner of the world. Then about 5 or 6 more police cars were right on their heels and in the snap of an finger the police helicopter was overheard shining it's spotlight in our house, our yard, and those of our neighbors. A little unnerving. We watched out the windows for a while and ultimately the helicopter ended up quite a few blocks away. Who know what happened but it really wasn't the best way to drift off to sleep.
The alarm chirped waaay to early and we got our bikes loaded and out the door. The ride was 40 miles away, in one of the eastern-most 'burbs of Nashville. A few miles out we started seeing a lot of other cars with bikes so we just followed them into the fairgrounds. I was so incredibly intimidated. There were some serious looking bikes there and some serious looking riders. We kept to ourself until time to start. One guy saddled up and promptly fell over, right on the ground, so that made me feel better. At least I didn't have the stress of clips! We tried to get near the back, and right as it was about to start two girls pulled up, one with a hybrid like us, and we declared ourselves the back of the packers. The other girl had a gorgeous brand new road bike that she didn't know how to use. We ended up going back and forth with them the whole way, which was nice.
As the peloton headed out I could feel my heart beating at record speed and I was scared to death to kick off. There were probably 200 riders and I just didn't want to be "the girl who knocked them all over". I merged in and off we went. One guy just sort of stopped in the middle of everyone and i could hear a lot of huffs. I was just glad it wasn't me. A few minutes passed and I was feeling ok with the ride. I would cautiously pass others when needed and everything was cool. And then we started hitting the hills. UGH. I was letting my HR get way too high and pushing too hard. Brent just soars down hills and once I would get down I'd pedal to the metal to catch up and burn way too much energy. And the heat wasn't helping, either. Being in the back of the pack you see a lot of suffering, and I saw several people drop the ride and a lot of people were walking their bikes up the hills. Around 7 miles in I just let it all go and found my hill rhythm. Slow and steady, breathe in and out. And from then on out it became fun!
The first rest stop was around 10 miles. We pulled in and had some Gatorade and split a Oatmeal Creme Pie. I didn't understand it, but it was pretty good! A guy jokingly asked the volunteer how far ahead we were and we all had a good laugh about that one. Then we were off for more hills and heat. Ugh. A few miles later we arrived at Watertown and their cute little town square. This was the big rest stop where the 50 milers split off from the 31 milers. Once again we had our choice of Water, Gatorade and Oatmeal Cream Pies. Hmmm.... So we had another one before heading back out. We were also really glad to see a lot of people rolling in behind us.
The next part of the course really wasn't bad at all. There were hills but the first part had been one after another and I'm still getting used to switching all around in gears and keeping my momentum from up to down back to up. We'd ridden past a lot of country farmland, dry creek beds, acres and acres of dead corn, and a lot of cows. Brent had entertained them ALL by dinging his bell as he passed. We got to the final rest stop with the same two girls we had start with. This is where the volunteer told us about the guy who had had a heart attack, last night we heard on the news that he died. I've tried to find out more about him on the 'net but I haven't been able to. The number of deaths recently due to the heat is absolutely nuts.
Right as we left the rest stop we were feeling good and glad we only had about 8 miles to go. A little bird was on Brent's side of the road and he just....didn't fly away. Not until Brent was right on it. At that moment it decided to panic and flew right into my wheel. I screamed like a girl but didn't know exactly what to do because we were on a downhill and I really didn't want to crash! The bird went out the other side of my wheel and from there I don't even know. I swear this something that could only happen to me!!
We kept on trucking and before I knew it I could see the fairgrounds ahead. It was so weird, it was just like a race where you can see you destination and you're SO excited to see the finish line but then again you're having so much fun you really don't want it to end either. We pushed the rest of the way back and we were done! We both felt great, like we could've easily kept going. The ride took us a total of 2 hours and 50 minutes including breaks and 2 hours and 29 minutes of just riding. Obviously we are slow and spend way too much time talking at rest stop! Our goal was 3 hours, so we're really happy with our time. And we would totally do it again.
Ok, this post is totally too long so I'll have to post about the fair later! Have a great night!