First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who donated so that I could ride. I had a great time, but more importantly, many people in the Austin area will get the help they need because of your generous donations!
Ride morning was cloudy and cool, but I knew it would be a beautiful day to ride. Del and I got to Reunion Ranch right in front of Roger & Ron and just a few minutes before Shayla. They had a huge variety of breakfast food out for us and right away we saw people in costume, Superman, Batman & Robin, etc. This was going to be fun!As we were getting our bikes ready, I realized I had left my Garmin charging at home. I'm completely addicted to it and I don't even know the last time I rode without it. I was not happy! But I knew this was just a fun ride, so it wasn't really a big deal. Shayla and I planned to start early with the century riders. We figured it would take us about the same amount of time to ride 70 miles that it would take Roger & Ron to ride 100- yeah they're fast! We lined up to start and Shayla pointed out the ominous looking clouds, weather.com said 10% chance of rain, so I didn't think it would rain.We started the ride with lots of people cheering for us, we rode out the same way that cars were coming in for the later start, I thought that was weird, but whatever. Then about a mile into the ride a car comes zooming up beside me and the passenger yells "they took a wrong turn at the start! You have to turn around!!" That was a first! I lost Shayla in the wrong turn mess, but I wasn't worried. Soon, Del came up behind me and told me there had been an accident when some people turned around- ugh! I hate hearing about bike accidents, especially when I'm riding!
Between making a wrong turn, a little rain, chip seal, Del telling me about the accident (and he had told me about another one that morning too), and not having my Garmin, I was not very happy. This was not starting out to be the ride I wanted.
Luckily, after about 10 miles I was feeling much happier! I'm not even sure what happened, guess I just came out of my mental funk. I was still driving myself crazy looking down where my Garmin belongs constantly, but it had stopped raining, I had found Shayla and Del and I was having fun! Just a few miles before the first rest stop I hear "ring ring ring ring" behind me- it was Roger & Ron! They had stopped to help at the accident at the beginning so they were behind where I thought they would be. This also meant Shayla and I had a good chance of finishing our 70 miles before they finished 100! We all got to the Lube Stop rest stop about the same time and hung out a few minutes.
Del, Roger & Ron at the Lube Stop
me at the Lube Stop with...well I'm not sure but he/she was entertaining!
We were 20 miles into the ride and I was feeling great! I was concerned that there would be some very steep hills as we got close to Burnet and rest stop 2, but I was pleasantly surprised with mostly rollers and a few longer climbs, but nothing really long or steep. It looked really west Texasy with lots of catus, rocks, and cedar trees. Rest stop 2 had a tikki theme
Porta potty said "volcanic sacrificial virgins apply within"
They had pineapple and coconut at this stop- I was happy! We should have gotten pictures of the volunteers dressed in grass skirts.
We were already halfway! I got distances from Shayla and from signs posted on the road, otherwise without my Garmin I would have had no clue how far we'd gone. I was still expecting some big hills, but Shayla told me that according to the elevation profile, the second half of the ride should be mostly downhill, and like clockwork we hit a section that was mostly downhill for a few miles.
The lunch stop seemed to come really fast but I was ready for it. Lunch had a Mardi Gras theme with beads on the tables and more dressed up volunteers. Even the porta potties were decorated with beads and flowers! They had sandwich boxes from Central Market for lunch- a big sandwich, chips, fruit, and a cookie. As long as I don't eat wheat, I can pretty much eat anything and feel fine riding, so I gave my white bread to Shayla (she had some kind of whole grain bread with nuts that she didn't want), and ate everything else but the cookie (I had a bite of the cookie- it was yummy). These guys were volunteering in a SAG truck, they told me they were dressed as transvestite pole dancers!
We were about 50 miles into the ride and with all the stops, I barely felt like I had been riding at all. The first few miles after lunch went by quickly, then we hit a section with lots of uphill, it might have been the toughest section of the entire ride. Shayla was a little behind me at that point, but I knew she was going to be annoyed with the uphill, since we were expecting mostly downhill and this was her longest ride ever! I saw a sign that said "Cold Treats Ahead" I knew it was way too early for our last Andice rest stop, so I didn't know what that meant. Then a few minutes later another sign said "popsicles 1 mile" I Love popsicles, so I was excited! They had put in a surprise rest stop just after the hilly section with popsicles! Yay!! Shayla pulled up to the rest stop and said "this rest stop came at just the right time!"
From the popsicle stop it was only about 5 miles to Andice and the royal wedding rest stop. Volunteers were dressed in wedding gowns, and they had this cutout.
Shayla and I at the royal wedding rest stop
From Andice, it was only 5 miles back to Reunion Ranch and the finish! There were tons of people at the finish cheering and when I stopped, they gave me a medal. I don't think I've ever gotten a medal from a bike ride before. Shayla was right behind me and we got cleaned up, got more to eat and started looking for Del, Roger & Ron. We had spent lots of time at rest stops, so I was sure they had finished before us. Turns out, they finished an hour and a half After us! I guess they spent just as much time at rest stops.
I felt great even after finishing, no tiredness in my legs, no sore shoulders, nothing! Maybe if the Ironman ride was a rolling buffet with lots of rest stops, I'd feel great then too!
The SAG trucks were also decorated, this one was the Village People, the driver was a cowboy, the guy standing in the back of the truck was an Indian, and I bet the passenger was a cop!
We stayed to see the final finisher and the awards ceremony and didn't leave Reunion Ranch until about 5pm. I have done a lot of really fun bike rides, but this was probably the most fun. I'm really lucky to have great friends and family who will support me in doing this kind of stuff. Thanks again!!