Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cycling a Century

Follow that pumpkin!
 Could I really do it?  I've only been cycling for a little over a year.  My longest ride to date is only 67 miles.  My feet were so sore this week that I could barely walk, let alone lightly exercise all week.  It had been raining all week.  I hadn't bothered to acquire rain gear.  I just didn't feel like it.  Even on a good day, cycling a century would be a challenge, but adding my lackluster mental state, made this feat seem virtually impossible. As if that wasn't bad enough, Aunt Flo came the eve of the century! Being the loud mouth that I am, I told folks near and far about my century.  I had been talking about it ad nauseum for the last few months.  Folks I hardly knew, hell, strangers knew about it.  There was no chickening out now.

My husband who's seen my pre-race, PMS infused tapering week madness knew exactly what was going on.  When he tried to tell me that everything would be fine.  I was ready.  No need to work my tail end off, I was tapering.  I have pre-event jitters coupled with PMS.  No biggie.  I was ready.  I have the best cheerleader in the whole world but I would hear no word of it.  "This is different!" I insisted.  Don't tell me I'm awesome and ready because I'm not!  In fact, I'm thinking of downgrading to a 75 mile ride!  In hindsight, I recognize how utterly predictable I am and how well this man knows me. 

It turned about to be an amazing experience, beautiful, well-marked course, super fun fellow cyclists, fantastic support and both physically and mentally easier and more fun that I ever anticipated!  I enjoyed each and every mile of this event.  A few of the highlights were:

  • Enjoying the sights and sounds of this beautiful course around the quaint little towns that surround my hometown.
  • Cycling with my friend Janel, whose been my cycling inspiration.  We met a little over a year ago at surf camp and become fast friends.
  • Reaching my maximum cycling speed of 40 MPH cruising fearless down a steep hill.  What a rush!
  • Not getting lost or needing to turn around once, thanks to the great pumpkin course markers. 

Here's a brief photographic tour of the Harvest Century, the first of what I hope to be my many, many, many centuries.

My bike "Princess" at the first rest stop, a sweet turn of the century white church complete with steeple and grazing horses across the street.  I enjoyed hard boiled eggs, donut holes, apples, oranges and salted potatoes.
Halfway done at this point.  I could chose the 75 mile or 105 mile route at this point.  100 miles, baby!  Wahoo!  Janel and I had finally connected.  I had had lunch.  I was having the time of my life and felt like a million dollars.

Look at this madwoman!  The bike isn't even carbon and look at that height!
Crossing the river on the Canby Ferry.  So far, so good.  God, this was fun.  Can I do it again next weekend?  Little did I know that all the serious hills were 70 miles into the ride. 

Janel surfacing from behind a ginormous hill with a smile on her face.  Look at that beautiful blue sky!  Janel and I rode with a group of six cyclers, some were quite the characters.  Miles sure pass quickly in the company of chatty bikers.

Beer, BBQ and lots of belly laughs at the finish.
 So, my dear readers.  What lesson does this blog post hold for you?  Find something that seems larger than life and beyond your capabilities and go for it!  YOU CAN DO IT (and so much more)!  Believe in yourself!  Live life big!  Don't make excuses!  Go for it!  You only live once!  Do it with no regrets!  Carpe diem!

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