May 9, 2012

My First Century Ride Recap (From March 2008)

Below is a recap I wrote over 4 years ago after I completed my first century ride. I just reread it and could actually visualize and feel some of the moments I mentioned from that extraordinary day in 2008. I have come such a long way since this ride (mentally, physically and knowledgeably) and am so glad I wrote this so I could remember it today.


For those of you that don’t know, I have Epilepsy and used to have seizures in my temporal lobes until almost 2 years ago (affects the memory). I don’t remember a lot from my past and recaps like this help me remember moments in my life. That’s why I also love to take pictures.


Actually, reading this made me realize that I need to start writing again. I had forgotten that I had a specific goal back then. I didn’t actually accomplish that goal (mentioned at the end of this recap) as I needed break. I got burnt out on running/cycling/triathlons, but that’s soon to change 🙂


Enjoy the read!


On March 8th I rode in my first 100-mile bike ride – The Solvang Century Ride. Woohoo!!!


We started cycling about 7:16am. It was so damn cold in the morning that my glasses fogged up and I had water dripping from my helmet and sunglasses. I had to ride looking over my sunglasses since I couldn’t see through them. I had four layers of clothing on and was still freezing. Not to mention that I couldn’t feel my fingertips. “What are the signs of frostbite?” I thought.


After about 1 hour and 10 minutes into the ride my trapezius muscles started tensing up. I hate those damn traps! They are so overactive and won’t relax. I ended up feeling them for the rest of the 5 1/2 hours of the ride.


They had SAG stops approx. every 20 miles or so. At the first one I used the restroom, stretched, filled my water bottle, and ate a Clif bar – yummy! I should have eaten some of the fruit and sandwiches they provided but didn’t because I wasn’t hungry (not smart and I know better).


The next part of the ride was warmer (thank God!) and at one point we were actually cycling on the freeway (California 1). Its kind of scary having cars zoom right past you at 80mph.


At the next SAG stop I used the restroom again (just in case), ate fruit, refilled my water bottle, and stretched. The next part of the ride was quite windy (both cross and head winds), which didn’t make it much fun. I tried cycling in a long line of riders at a few points, and boy is it hard to keep up on pace at times, especially when the wind is coming at you (even though the drafting helps a bit).


At the third SAG stop I stretched, refilled my water bottle, and ate another Clif bar. I wasn’t even going to try and use the restroom or stand in line for fruit because the line was waaaay too long. I jumped back in route and continued on with thousands of people cycling through the beautiful rolling hills and flat routes of each town/city.


At one point a gentleman who briefly spoke to me at the last stop rode by and shouted “That’s my Diva!” (I have an all-carbon Orbea Diva for a road bike). He rode up next to me, pushed on my back, and actually propelled me forward a bit. It was exactly what I needed because I was having a hard, slow and sluggish 5-10 miles at that point. That was my pick-me-up and on I went pretty strong!


At the next stop I saw one of my friends and he urged me to continue on with them. I told him that I couldn’t as I need to stretch, and he convinced me otherwise. I quickly refilled my water bottle and took off. Boy was that a mistake! That next section of the ride was my hardest! My shoulders hurt; the lateral side of my right knee was hurting badly since mile 45 (all the way through mile 100 afterwards). I was exhausted and had no energy. My back hurt and my neck hurt (along with my traps). This is a great example of how important stretching is!!


At one point I pulled over to stop and stretch because I needed it badly! It turned out to be a great point to stop because when I got back on my bike, around the corner was a huge climb! I was ready for it now! That stretching helped a lot.


In actuality, the last 30 miles had the most hills in my opinion and at the last SAG stop I used the restroom, ate the tastiest pineapple I have ever eaten – yummy, had a PB&J sandwich, refilled my water bottle, and stretched. Now there was only about 11-13 miles left. “I’m almost there!”


In this last leg the wind picked up again. It was pretty scary riding downhill over 40mph and having the crosswind almost knock me over to the side! I found myself gripping the handlebars tighter than ever and had to relax my hands. But shortly after, the miles lessened and I was rolling back into town (Solvang).


There were a lot of cars to ride around once in town because Solvang is so small and it was so busy from the ride. I rode in to the finish line, Felix from Team in Training took my pictures and I joined the rest of my crowd. I finished my first 100-mile bike ride – woohoo!!!!


What’s interesting is that I could have kept riding longer if I had to. Yes, I felt my knee for about 55 miles, but I was so used to that feeling by now. I then envisioned trying to run a marathon (26.2 miles) now that I was off my bike. That’s what I would have to do in an Ironman. Not now!! I’ll save that for next year once I have time to improve my form, relax those overactive trapezius muscles, and solve my knee pain.


After about 30 minutes of milling around with the crowd, we rode our bikes a couple miles back to the car and ate a large meal at one of the local restaurants. What an accomplished day! One step closer to an Ironman!

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