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!