Saturday I rode my first 100 mile bike ride. It was a fund raiser for breast cancer research. I liked the timing of it…not in the middle of the summer, which is just TOO hot here. It gave me the whole summer to train for it, so it worked out well. In the past this ride was entirely on the Natchez Trace Parkway, which is beautiful and has very little traffic, so it’s pretty safe, but 100 miles of it would be quite boring after awhile. This year they re-did the course, and took the 62 and 100 milers out on some really pretty country roads. I drove the course the day before, because after looking at the map I was worried about all the turns and unmarked roads and things. It still didn’t help…I took two wrong turns, one of which took me on a monster of a hill right after it started pouring down rain! The rain did cool things off a bit, but it was scary for a beginning rider like me. It was absolutely pouring buckets for awhile.
I also had a flat about 6 miles in. I was very frustrated, because I had just taken my bike in for a tune-up, and they had replaced the tube and supposedly checked the tire, but when the SAG helper changed my tire for me, he found a piece of glass inside. Luckily the SAG vehicle was well equipped and very helpful and I only lost about 30-40 minutes. If I had had to change it myself I probably still would be out there!
I was supposed to meet my friend at the 4th rest stop (mile 67), and since cell service was spotty and my phone stopped working after it got rained on, I couldn’t call her to tell her how late I was. She had to wait almost 2 hours for me. I felt really bad, but I was glad she waited because she helped me to finish the thing. The actual course was only 95 miles and since I couldn’t tell people I’d done 100 miles unless I actually DID 100 miles, we added on at the end. Then, after we finished and I got off the bike, someone informed me that I had a flat! The OTHER tire was flat. Thank God it was after I finished.
Being new to this “bike” thing, I’m learning a lot every day. For one thing, even though I think I’m in pretty good shape, I’m at the lower end of the curve…there are lots of bikers who average 18-20 mph and just fly by me putting along at 15-16. But there are groups of all levels so you can always find people to ride with. And people are always offering to hook up to ride together. I still feel more comfortable riding by myself. I just get very nervous when someone is riding right behind me or next to me. I’m afraid I’m going to swerve and knock someone over. People tell me that if you ride with a group you can “draft” and go much faster, but so far that doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not racing. For me it’s about the distance. I don’t want to be out there all day long, but a few minutes more doesn’t really make that big a difference to me. Yet.
Well, gotta go get a new tire to replace the one that has a cut in it from Saturday.