Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fourth of July CMC Ride - 50 miles with hills!

Thank you to the Columbia Multisport Club for putting on a great event!  This is my first year to ride it and it was so much fun!  It is a free event and has a few different mileage routes to choose from.
23, 50, 75 and 100 miles.  All routes are on roads so we had to listen and watch for vehicles.

Some photos are ones I took, some are from Brian and some are from Liz.  Thanks you guys for taking pics! 

What mileage did I pick?  50!  Spoiler alert....SUCCESS!

I almost talked myself out of it....I have not slept well the past few nights and when I woke up at 4:00 a.m. I decided I was tired - even though I slept 4 hrs in a row (that is good for me!).  I layed there then told myself to get my butt out of bed in case I decide to go....then I walked outside and it was already muggy and gross.  The second time I almost talked myself out of it.  Ha!  I decided what my problem really was....I was scared.  Scared of not completing the mileage I wanted to ride.  I asked myself "Girl, you need to at least try!  At least start!  What is the worst that can happen?  You call Brian to come get you?"  So I hurried to feed critters and got ready to go.  Brian brought me in to town to be my support crew, and he ended up being support for others too.  :-)

We saw a couple hot air balloons on our way to the ride.  I love balloons...they were gorgeous!
I was nervous and excited about the ride and I was riding solo - I was one of the few not meeting with friends.  (As luck would have it, the girl behind me in this picture is one of the girls in the group I ended up riding with).

Smiles before I got started.....



Here is a group shot of most of the people who are riding....I am on the far right trying to stay out of the way.





All mileage riders took off at the same time....out the driveway and UP the first hill of the day.  :-)




I read the route but was not 100% sure what the directions were (Brian ended up loading it on my phone...but I didn't need it....I met three gals and we rode together...they knew the way)

I don't know how to pace myself...I try, and I think I do a good job...until I don't.  I didn't want to ride too fast too early and pooter out on the last half of the ride so I was trying to pedal steady and hang in the back of the group until I figured it out.  I ended up following three gals for a while then a few miles down the road asked them if they were riding the 50.  They were....we introduced ourselves then we rode the rest of the ride together.  I have to tell you all....riding by myself on a horse is very different than riding 50 miles on a bike by myself.  Having some fun people to talk to and share stories with make it so much more enjoyable!

My three new friends riding down the road...



Brian met us a few spots along the route and took pictures.  Here we are coming off the outer road....Brian joked about this picture.  Of course I am signaling that we are turning but Brian said it looked like I was saying "Look, I have friends!"  Ha ha!



Brian let us get ahead of him before taking this picture...





The four of us pedaling along...





Me and my new friends at the 'snack shack'.


There was one stop set up and it was run by volunteers.  There was all kinds of fruit, salty items like pretzels and chips, water with gator aid if you wanted to add it and some visiting.  Thanks to all the volunteers who worked out there in the middle of nowhere next to the hot asphalt.  You all rock and you are appreciated!



Close up of the back of my Garfield jersey...love it!  :-)



We are leaving the 'snack shack'...




The clouds and skies were beautiful today!  There were times I thought we would get a pop up rain shower but it never happened.  




A few self portraits along the way...





Okay, look at the road on the picture above...now look below.  It was bumpy and it also had long dippy trenchy lines - kind of like it was at the beginning of being stripped for some work.  I was worried my tires would get stuck in the lines and I would get bucked off.  It all worked out...and it was good experience. 







I got a new phone a couple days before this ride...my other one was pootering out.  Boo!  This phone does not have the awesome 'touch the screen anywhere and it takes a picture' feature.  Mine is a few generations older and you would think they would keep this awesome feature.  I love you Samsung but come on...don't take away the good stuff!  Anyways, Brian told me about a setting that will put a floating button on the screen.  I still have to know where the floating button is but it is better than only having one option.  I was practicing...





Route Z...we are only a few miles from our start point.  Okay, maybe 10-12 miles...give or take.  I lose track of distance and don't remember what my bike computer said.  :-)
OH!  And the hills!  The start of the ride had several hills - for me this was a big deal!  I have not ridden hills and have been talking (talking doesn't get it done...does it?) about needing to find some hills to practice on.  Anyways, I sure don't remember Route Z having as many hills as we rode.  Holy smokes!  I don't normally cuss...well, I didn't used to.  HA HA!   





This was the last shady area before getting back...so we took a quick break.  We were joined by other riders who found water that was turned on so everyone topped off water bottles.  Thank you church for the water!




This is one of my favorite pictures...Brian took this and there is chickory in the front with awesome skies above...and our group looking so small.  (you have to click on it to make it bigger to get the feel) 




I MADE IT!!!!!  And still smiling!!!



My goal was to finish the ride in 6 to 6 1/2 hours.  I figured that was an average of 10 mph plus a few stops.  We finished in 5 1/2 hours!  And we took some long stops...so I am very happy.  And sore.  Ha ha!

I was very blessed to have found this group of gals to ride with.  The pace was good, they were fun, and they don't realize it, but they kept me going.

I really need to work on my nutrition.  I did take a couple of Clif Bars with me (love the chocolate mint) and I thought I ate good at the 'snack shack'.  While riding I was fine, but when I stopped I was very shaky.  As in VERY shaky!  When the ride was done and I stopped by the car it was worse and I felt horrible.  How can you feel horrible and great at the same time?  Well, I did it!  I walked around a bit to try to calm the shakes down.  So - I need to figure out what to do better to make sure that doesn't happen on these long rides.  Brian was wondering about my blood sugar...will explore that.  We went to get something to eat and I felt better....and now?  Other than being a bit sore I feel GREAT!

What a fun day!  






Monday, May 28, 2018

Pigtails II Ride - 51 miles on a bicycle...


Hello Blog!  It has been so long!  I have missed you!

There are a lot of pictures in this blog entry (from myself, Erica and Sue) and some of them are out of order... Me and two friends from our Women's Ride Wednesday group went to Ankeny, Iowa for the Pigtails II ride and WE HAD A BLAST!!!
http://pigtailsride.com/
I highly recommend this ride!  Put it on your calendar...May 18, 2019!  It is a women's ride and after the ride the after party is for everyone.  There were some guys that rode with their gals on the ride but not very many. 

The ride is noted as 48 miles long and is a 'there and back' ride.  I wanted to ride over 50 miles so between the ride from the parking lot to the check-in spot and going a little farther at the bridge, we got 51 miles!  Woo hoo!  We would have ridden to the next small town but the weather was a concern...as it was we only had to ride 1 1/2 miles in pouring rain on our way back. 
The ride is on a paved trail the whole way with no real hills.  When I got tired I could tell when I was going on an uphill grade but it was not bad at all.  And when you ride with friends and meet a lot of new people the distance is not as long as you would think.  The update e-mails we received said there were over 800 women signed up for this ride and I was a bit nervous.  I was picturing a big pack of riders taking off at the same time like a race.  Not like this at all!  Whew!  The start time was from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. so everyone was leaving when it suited them.  So if you are a newbie and/or nervous about big groups, this really is a great ride to get your feet wet!     

The big adventure started with our hotel....the hotel I saw on hotels.com is NOT the hotel we pulled up to!  Well, it was, but the picture I saw was not a current one and the receipt was under a different name...it was a rental name. (I will contact hotels.com with the update...it is more of a 'housing' rental place versus a hotel/motel for out of towners)  We will just say it was disgusting and did not give a feeling of safety....We did not stay and the guy who ran the place did not seem surprised or hesitate to refund our $$$.  He was so nice and the best thing about the place!  We found a place much closer and much more expensive, but the feeling of safety was worth every penny!  I have used hotels.com several times and this is the first time a place was not what it was supposed to be.  Anyways, after we found our new place we laughed about the old place...Sue said when we walked in the guy probably thought we were in the wrong place.  :-)

The adventures continued from here...and wow!  So much fun and this place was amazing!  We got into town Friday evening and went to the High Trestle Trail Bridge...we found a parking lot and a dirt trail that went to the paved trail.  The dirt trail was another adventure!  It was narrow and curvy, and there were bike signs with a picture of a bike on a steep down hill line to warn us of hills.  Yikes!  It was pitch dark so with the curves and ups & downs I got disoriented with our headlights moving so much.  It was fun but scary at the same time!  On our way back we stayed on the paved path to the road, then rode the bikes to the parking lot.  (The next day in the daylight we saw a closer parking lot)

Welcome to the High Trestle Trail Bridge!  It is lit up in neon blue and it was breathtaking!  My bright yellow wind jacket glowed under the lights...




Riding over the bridge...





The awesome trio!  Erica, Sue and myself. 




Our bikes lined up on the bridge...





Sue and I at the entrance of the bridge.  Actually it could be the entrance or the exit.  These huge pillars are at each end.




The next morning we showed up at Jethro's.  A breakfast buffet with BACON was included in the fee.  We also got lunch and a jersey along with some freebies at a couple of stops along the way. 
https://jethrosdesmoines.com/jethros-lakehouse/


BACON!!!!!!





Here we are, getting ready for ride day!  (Sue, Erica, Me)




We are heading out of town...Sue had Percy, her cute stuffed pig, riding in her back pocket.  Percy did great the whole ride! 





Out of town and riding on the trail...





Our first 'out of order' picture.  At the opposite side of the bridge there is a 'lookout' area.
This is approx 24 miles in to the ride...and we felt great!





AAAHHHHHH, riding over the bridge in the daylight!  Eric stopping for the view...
Both day and night are equally as beautiful on the bridge! 





One of the stops giving away some freebies...





Getting my fruit group!  And it was quite yummy if I say so myself! 
I don't normally drink and ride (anything..bikes, horses, motorcycles....) but it was warm and I was sweating so I was sure it would not stick around long.  Plus the trail was wide and smooth and not packed full of people or obstacles - yeah, it would be just fine.  And it was.  My first time drinking this stuff and it was GOOD!!!





Me and Sue over the bridge...




The Madrid Tigers had this painted on the wall of one of the tunnels. 





Hello!  Me riding and loving every minute of it!  Sure can't tell that rain is on the way, eh?





Just rode thorough the tunnel...I love tunnels and bridges!





Me and the pillars that are at each end of the big bridge...





Sue and Erica riding down the trail...





Sue heading towards one of the small tunnels...
She is wearing her jersey they gave us for the ride.  I got that style and Erica got the Mountain Bike style. 




Hey!  Who are those good looking ladies on the bridge?  Oh, us of course!  :-)





The freebie tent set up outside of the Nite Hawk Bar and Lounge.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of all the bikes parked outside in front and around the side of the building.  I have never seen so many bikes in one place before!  FUN!







Yes, a buffalo.  It was sharing a small grassy area with some cows.  Are they growing Beefalo?  I think they might be.





Heading in to one of the towns...






Erica riding on the High Trail Trestle Bridge.  I love this picture!  She is a member of the Big Tree Cycling Team and is wearing her jersey...she represents well!  :-)





This is where I got my fruit group.  I decided to have my fruit group because this day was full of new things for me, and since I have never had a Bud Light fruit group I might as well add to the 'new things' and give it a try.  Glad I did!  This picnic table was very long on and on wheels.  It is a rental!  Very cool!




Sometimes we did the passing...and sometimes we got passed...





We rode several miles and I saw trails signs about horseback riding.  We finally saw two riders!






This canoe is hanging inside Jethro's BBQ place.  We have bees so I was drawn to the paint job.  :-)
Brian on the other hand knew the brand that was painted on the side and he even knew how to pronounce it.  :-)





A view from the lookout spot at the end of the bridge.




Riding across the bridge with Sue behind me...





There were a lot of riders out but it didn't feel like it.  Even though we would come across some bigger groups we had to get around, most of the time it was like this.  We would see people but there was plenty of room in between.





Sue and Percy Pig passing the BBQ sign...





I am still in awe of this unique bridge!





This scroll was painted in the tunnel with the painted tiger.  Short version - have respect for the trail and others.




The opposite side of the tunnel (same side as Scroll) there was the Trestle Trail painting. 
Sue taking a picture of me taking a picture of her...ha ha!






Outside the Nite Hawk...





The view from the bridge...





There was a photographer taking pictures of the groups and individuals going over the bridge.  These are out pictures...




What a fun time!  On our way back we caught a tail wind and rode a few miles at over 20 mph!  My fastest ride speed ever!  We were watching the big storm cloud and rain heading our way.  We almost made it back....the last 1 1/2 miles we got wet!  I was scared of the wet pavement but we kept on going!  More to laugh about!

There were a lot of laughs, two of us rode farther than we have before, the weather was mostly great, the friendship is even stronger....yeah!  Great times!!!!  There were all kinds of bikes!  Road, gravel, mountain, fatty's, recumbent, and not sure what the other ones were but they were like an elliptical machine.  These ladies had to stand up and ride their elliptical the whole way - and they did!  There were young ladies, middle aged ladies, a little bit past middle aged and some way past middle aged.  The one thing we all had in common besides being women on bikes is the smiles!  SMILES SMILES SMILES!!!! 

Thanks Erica and Sue for going with me and for a great time!  And thanks to our guys for holding down the forts so us gals can go ride for the weekend!