In an effort to get us on track with our training, I’d signed us up for the Flying Wheels ride. There were options to ride 25, 45, 65 and 100 miles. We were vacillating between the 45 and the 65, but ultimately decided to go for the 65 and see what happened. It was cold, gray and windy at the start line, which was not putting me in a good mood. After a lengthy porta-potty line, we got the bikes off of the car and headed for check-in. As I wheeled Slim over, something was wrong. The front brake was rubbing the front wheel really badly. I’d been having random issues with that brake before, but nothing this bad. There was no way I was going to make it over all of those hills with this situation.
Luckily, there was a bike mechanics tent to help deal with it. (I’m not sure why this is, but for some reason I won’t believe T’s diagnosis unless someone else backs him up. So, despite him telling me the wheel was out of true, I didn’t really take it seriously until the REI guy confirmed it.) The wheel was part of the problem, but ultimately I’d have to take it to a shop with more tri bike experience to get it fixed. He was able to adjust the brakes so they weren’t rubbing and cautioned me to be careful on the downhills. (Great, that’s what me and my scaredy cat descending need to hear… )
With a heart filled with whining and dread, we headed out. The lovely thing about riding is that it’s hard to stay grumpy for long. Before long, I was passing people and feeling much more cheerful. As out of shape and slow at climbing as I am, there’s nothing like a big organized ride to make you feel better about yourself. I was passing people on all of the climbs, it was awesome! Before long, we made it to the 20 mile mark and a decision, do we go for the 65 or play it safe with the 45? Right or left? We chose the hard road and went for the 65:
With the food stop still 11 miles up, we took a moment to eat a little snack and snap a few more pictures. (I really wish I could take photos while riding, but I’m too afraid of dropping my phone… )
T also managed to get a flat. That boy has skills, I tell you.
The 11 miles to the aid station flew by and it was nice to refill our bottles and get some snacks. We were feeling pretty good, despite the fact that my nose would not stop running. I’m not sure if there was some sort of pollen in the air or what, but it was seriously disgusting. As the ride continued, I started feeling my lack of bike fitness in the form of cramping in my quads and just general fatigue. By the time we got to the next aid station, I was pretty pooped and we still had approximately 25 more miles to ride.
We took a nice long rest and I loaded up on some salty pretzels in the hopes that my leg cramps were electrolyte related. (No such luck.) I knew the last section had a big whopper of a hill and I was not looking forward to it. In addition to my runny nose, I was getting chills and feeling like crap. As we got closer to the big climb, I was feeling worse and worst. Finally, I decided to send the boy ahead of me and head back to Carnation, the town near the last aid station. They had a Starbucks where I could wait for T in relative comfort.
All in all, I managed about 53 miles. Which is twice as long as any rides I’ve done this year, so I should be pleased with that. I’m choosing to blame my weird head cold thing for my lack of perseverance, but I’m also struggling with my mojo right now. Somehow, I need to get back on track…