Sunday, August 26, 2018

Red Shoe Ride - 2018

Red Shoe Ride 2018 - What a wonderful and challenging day with the best group of gals ever! 

The Red Shoe Ride benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Mo.  Here it is straight off the site:
"All proceeds support the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Missouri, which provides a home away from home for families of seriously ill or injured children.  The Ronald McDonald House gives children a place to play after a long day at the hospital; parents a home for a good night’s sleep and a warm meal, near the hospital; and families relief from the financial and emotional burdens of traveling for their child’s medical care."

And here is a shout out to all the people and businesses who donated items for the ride and a shout out to all the volunteers!  Without all these people an event like this would not happen.

Before I begin with the pictures...if you have been looking for that 'something extra' to do but don't know what, why not volunteer?  Whether it is for the Ronald McDonald house or some other group.  Think about it....  ;-)

Now on to the ride....last year I rode the 20 mile ride.  It was my first organized ride AND the longest distance I had ever ridden.  I was riding by myself (Brian didn't have his bike yet) and had a great time!  Last year I said I was going to ride the next mileage up the following year...and I did!  I rode the 35 mile route (which ended up being 38 miles) but this time due to some route changes there were HILLS!  BIG HILLS!  YIKES!  My hill work has consisted of small rollers...nothing long and/or steep.  And this year I had friends to ride with!   
This year Brian rode his first organized ride - he rode the 20 mile route!  Great job baby!!!!

Self portrait after we arrived...this is the starting line. 

There were five of us that were going to try to stick together - all of us are from our Women's Ride Wednesday group.  We also picked up a sixth person that one of the gals met last year.  Yep, this was going to be epic! 
(Unfortunately one of our WRW gals got hurt a short ways into the ride so she couldn't finish the ride...that left five of us...that gal is okay...just upset she couldn't finish.  She has Bike MS coming up so had to take care of herself to be prepared for that)

Here we are...waiting for the official start 'call of the wild'...
The 35 milers and 50 milers (formerly 62 miles but route changes shortened the route...but that didn't stop some of them from putting in a 62 plus mile ride!) started together.

Our group is riding out....woo hoo!  I am under the starting line waving to Brian.

Three of us from our group lined up on the way out...

E and I on the roundabout shortly after the start...I am sporting my Cheshire Cat jersey.  :-)

(I met her at a rest stop last year - she was doing the 35 and I was doing the 20....we started riding together this year and she has been joining our Women's Ride Wednesday group)

And here is the back of my Cheshire Cat jersey.

We don't know this gal but we saw her riding last year too.  We love her bike - she is so cute!

I was going to try to put the pictures in order...TRY being the key word here.  I sort of got them in order....sort of.....but they are mostly random.

Up to this point we had one rest stop (darn it, didn't get pictures of that one...I wanted pictures of all of them because those volunteers stood out there a good chunk of the day in the heat and wind to take care of us!)
After the first rest stop we had a few rolling hills to warm us up then we came to our first big long hill.  It isn't steep, but I am told it is 1 mile long and gradual.  Here is the deal, it feels gradual at first...then the thighs start burning and the lungs are begging for more air (remember, I am not a climber and have not practiced climbs like this) so the rest of the hill seemed very steep!
But.....WE MADE IT!!!!  And we are still smiling!  We took this after we caught our breath. 
I can't tell you how proud I was of all of us!  Nobody quit...we all made it to the top of that hill! 

A and J heading out from one of our self designated rest stops at the top of another hill.  If you make the picture big you can see the rolling was a beautiful ride!

Why don't pictures show how steep something is?  This is a nice down hill run - love the down hills!  If you make the pic big you can see A almost to the turn.   This was a nice stretch of much appreciated shade.

HA HA!  This just makes me of my favorite jerseys so far!

Rest stop #2 - snacks, water, gator aid,  and some smiles and encouragement. 

One of the bigger groups heading out after a quick break.

Here are a couple of the special volunteers at the rest stop. 

Now, at this point we have already conquered Old Plank Road hill (the mile long gradual 1st real hill of the day) we are to the biggie that is steep!  The first part is steep - it levels out for a short bit (which means not as steep) then around the corner it feels like it is almost straight up!  No joke!
We are taking a quick break on the 'not as steep' part before we tackle the last half.

While taking a quick break several riders went by in they rode the whole hill in one try! 
If you make the picture big you will see one of the riders that passed by us...

WE DID IT!!!!  A and J made it up first and I was struggling....they started cheering and shouting that I can do it and that kept me going!  Thank you girls!!!!!  Dang it was tough!

If you look at the road to the right and it disappears there is a reason for drops!  It drops to a bottomless pit!  Okay, that is a bit of drama but it is STEEP!  This was the top of the worst hill and we took a break with some others. This was the hill I was most scared of.  I knew I would have to walk part of the hills and I was okay with that....heck, I didn't care if I had to crawl (okay, I would have cared about crawling) I just knew I was making it up the hills one way or the other.  I RODE up this hill!  I AM SO EXCITED AND HAPPY!!!  And tired...and my thighs are burning...and I am trying to catch my breath....ha ha! 
I thought this was the last hard hill....silly me!  Nope!  One more to go... 

Here comes a lone rider up that hill...we watched several riders on the hills and WOW!  They are so fit and I am very impressed and in awe of them!

Yes it is hard, yes it is hot (mid to upper 90's) and it is hard.  But there is always time for some smiles with friends! 
I wonder if anybody was home and wondered what we were doing at the edge of their driveway...

Rest stop #3 - McDonalds in Ashland, Mo.  Yes, we rode the back roads from Columbia, Mo to Ashland, MO!  I still giggle with excitement when I think about that....we rock!

And who else rocks?  The volunteers at the McDonald's rest stop!  There was another gal working outside with this one and I didn't get her pic, darn it!  The other gal went inside to order some of us ice cream cones.  There were salty snacks, cookies, yogurt parfait things with fruit, cups for drinks from the fountain inside...they took care of us!
Thank you all!!!

Bikes parked along the fence at McDonald's in Ashland, Mo.

Our group enjoying a break.  We knew at this point the only hills we would have are the rolling hills.  Here is another shout out for someone.  BK from CycleX bike shop!  He is one of the owners and one of the SAG (support and gear) drivers.  He drives the route and is on call when someone needs help whether it be a mechanical break down or to help a rider that is having problems. 

Ice cream cone time!!!  We were tapped out...we needed our Calcium group to continue.  That is my story and I am sticking to it!  :-)

The scenery along the route of this ride was so beautiful!  Back roads, rolling hills, big hills, farm country, shaded areas, sunny areas, a lot of animals to see...

Here is another thing.  This ride was ALL road!  No getting off the road and taking part of the bike trails.  ALL ROAD!  I really have come a long way....I still get scared when vehicles drive by me but I am getting more comfortable and can really enjoy the ride.  It also helps to have like minded people around you.  Safety is important but don't forget to have fun and also enjoy the beauty around...

My bike wanted her picture taken with the big machinery.  I think it was love at first sight!

These are the markers on the road for the ride.  There were signs in some areas and in the rural areas there were the stickers...they were easy to see and follow.  Each color represented a certain mileage.  The green was ours and the yellow was for the longer route. 

The rolling hills....

There were only a couple sections of road that were very busy.  Most of the ride was like this...

We are on the last stretch before the airport loop.  No shade the rest of the route...and LOTS of wind!  We hit some major head winds along the whole route but the last 12 or 13 miles had strong head winds and side winds.  Some of the side winds would hit me and I felt like I was getting shoved off the road into the ditch!   Thankfully we all kept it upright!

The airport tower!  Woo hoo!  Only a few miles left!

After seeing the airport tower I slowed down a bit so the other two can regroup with me (the other two gals were ahead of us)....I saw someone out of the corner of my eye and thought it was them.  Nope, it was this guy.  He was happy to see the airport tower too.   :-)

Rest stop #4 - our happy volunteers!  Thank you two!!!  They were set up in the middle of the roundabout right off the exit ramp of Hwy 63.  It was very windy on the top of the hill...glad their tent was anchored down real good.

WE FINISHED!  WOO HOO!!!!  We met Brian under the rider/volunteer tent and rested a bit while drinking more water.  What a fun day!  Huge accomplishment! 

First thing I wanted to do was get a picture of Brian and I.  I forgot to take my helmet off....

Sexy hair without the helmet!  Ha!

 What a great ride to benefit a great organization. 

First of all, I am so blessed to have gotten to ride with the group I did!  Every time I ride with them on Wednesdays we always laugh and I am always happy to have a group I am comfortable with. 

Second of all, I am so happy to have a sport to do that is fun and healthy!  I think about where I was last year compared to this, I have come so far!  And I am very proud of it!  I am definitely going to keep on pedaling.  It is for the heart and soul...and for rides like this.

This was the hardest ride with the biggest hills and strongest head winds that I have ridden so far.  What a challenge...but what a great accomplishment for all of us! 

It was hot and the heat got to a lot of people.  After doing the 50 mile July 4th ride and knowing how horrible I felt afterwards I knew I needed to do something different this time.  On the July 4th ride I was fine while on the bike moving but when I stopped I was a little shaky.  When I got back to the parking lot I was VERY shaky and couldn't hardly stand up.  I didn't understand it because I thought I ate and drank enough on the route.
Here is the deal - when you think you drink and eat enough on the route - EAT AND DRINK MORE!  So that is what I did this time.  At the end of the ride I felt pretty darn good!  My legs were stiff after I had been sitting down a while but nothing I couldn't stretch out real quick. 
The next big ride I think I will try to eat and drink even more.  I am finding that I like the long distance rides with lots of great scenery so I need to take care of myself. 

The ride started and ended at the SEC Beerfest in Columbia, MO.  Honestly, I am not so sure about that.  Registration for the Red Shoe Ride went up $15 this year and even though we are told we get free admission ($45 value) did we?  Did the $15 go to the Beerfest to help offset cost?  I don't know....but I have heard things.  If I pay another $15 (because I know putting on an event like this does cost money) I want to know it is all for the ride, not the Beerfest.  Maybe give options for a discount admission to the Beerfest if someone wants to hang out (and many did....but many also didn't). 

Here is my biggest gripe!  One of my friends was sitting in the rider/volunteer tent with leg cramps.  For a while she couldn't hardly move BUT she paid her full registration which included a pint glass and pizza at the end of the ride.  The glasses were in another tent on the opposite side of where we were!  The lady at the pint glass tent wouldn't give me a glass for her - I was told she could get her own glass when she can walk again.  And the expression on her face and tone of voice when she said it was as dry as you reading it on my screen.  All my friend cared about at this point was getting home but I wanted her to have her fun goodies.   I understand there are rules, especially at something like Beerfest, but it would have been nice if the riders were able to pick up their glasses when they checked back in.

So, other than my gripe at the very end, I am happy how things went.  My friends leg cramp got better after she got home, the girl that was injured after we started is doing better and I am excited for next year! 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Trip up north to visit family...Part 1...Minnesota...

I try to get my Mom up to visit her (our) family at least once a year....we just made our long weekend trip and had a great time!

Mom and I in the back seat while my Auntie M is driving around trying to find the restaurant/ a town of like 50 people!  Okay, it is a little over 3,000.  Ha ha!  That is one thing I look forward to when we go visit...the laughter!   

We went to surprise my Aunt Judy.  Oh my goodness, she was sooooo surprised!  She had no idea we were coming! 

Then there is Aunti M. who doesn't know how to make silly faces.  She only looks cute! 

Mom and Aunt Judy....Mom is the baby of the group.

Mom, Aunt Judy and Uncle Carl (Judy's other half).  We had lunch at Kim's Saloon and Grill.  It was busy but not too busy so we had time for lunch and time to visit a while.  My Taco Salad was yummy!

My cousins are raising deer!  These are two bottle babies...and they are so friendly! 
They were curious about Mom.

Mom got to feed the youngest one.

This is not Daddy but he will be a Daddy someday.  Meet Stoney!

He let me touch the velvet on his was so soft!  There is a doe that lives with him but she has not been handled.  I still don't know anything about raising deer but I know a lot more than I did before I got there.  You don't just 'catch' deer and pen them up.  There are a lot of rules and regs! 

While Mom was getting some visit time in I took a bike ride!  Yep, I took my bike with me 'just in case I had time to ride."  :-)

We were in the town of Wabasha, MN - it is next to the Mississippi River and a beautiful little town!  On our way to visit my Uncle in the nursing home I saw the entrance to a bike wound around the edge of a pond thing then down town along the river.

Wabasha is a beautiful town....this is a town I could move to but it would have to be the old part in an older river house.  I rode through a newer section with some big new homes and no....

See that bridge?  That is the one I am going to ride over!  Funny thing is I knew how to get to the bridge by car, but for some reason I had to make two loops around town to finally get to the bridge entrance.  I see things very different while riding a bike!

I am under the bridge I will be riding across.  How cool is that?  Pretty darn cool!
This was my second loop around to get to the bridge entrance....I was getting closer!  Ha ha!

There is a lot to see along the river road (small street that follows the river then circles around back into town).

While making my second loop around town I saw this black squirrel.  I saw a few black ones while I was there and they are so pretty!  I was told there is another section of town with white ones...I never saw them.

And so it begins.....I rode across the bridge and am now in Wisconsin!  My goal was to make it to the Creamery in Nelson, WI so I could get an ice cream cone.  Funny thing....I got there at 6:04 and they close at 6:00.  If I would not have had to ride around town twice to find the opening to the bridge I would have made it!  Ha ha !  That is okay....we are leaving in the morning to visit another Aunt and Uncle....the Creamery opens at 9:00 a.m.!  Ice cream cone - getting my calcium group for breakfast!  (And I did too!)

There are some parking lots and boat ramps along the road from MN to WI.  People also canoe and kayak in these waters and I am not 100% sure, but I thought I saw some water trail signs with arrows.  I am assuming that is for the paddlers so they know where to get out.  My next goal is to kayak out many birds!  And maybe a sea monster!

On my way back to MN....the water was like glass!

Most of the time I had a pretty wide shoulder to ride on.  The other half of the time I did not have a lot of room.  I am still trying to find my comfort zone riding on the roads....yep, very scary but also very fun and exciting!  I felt so free! 

Almost back to the big bridge.  It is not steep riding over it but it is long and uphill so I got a workout!  You would have thought I would lose some weight.  Well, not if I am eating ice cream cones for breakfast.  ;-)

There is enough shoulder on the bridge...I had to stop to take a picture of the evening boaters on the Mississippi River.

Why is this so exciting other than the fact that I put on my big girl panties and did it?
I love bridges!  This is sooooooo awesome!

I got back to town, made another loop then found the bike path that went down another main road.  I rode it to the end and back...

My bike ride was 17.25 miles and wonderful!  It felt good to get out and it felt good knowing Mom and Auntie M could visit without worrying about me.

The next post....visiting my Aunt and Uncle in La Crosse, WI