The Longest Bike Weekend EVER.

So a lot of people have asked A)why am I not blogging anymore and B)how was the “suicide” double century weekend. To answer quickly: A)I haven’t really felt “moved” to sit down and write lately. My ADD rages in the summer without structure. B)I am going to tell you about last weekend’s bike stuff…right now.

Back in January when I started training for Ironman, I knew that the “drop dead” date was in June, that meant 12 weeks out. I also knew that part of the 12 weeks out meant that I would have to spend two days back to back doing 7+ hr days (roughly 80-100 miles) on my bike. While there is a strong physical element to this, it was more to get to the point of mental break and then to press on. I dreaded this weekend for months. For two reasons, I am a very slow rider and not a huge lover of pushing on the bike. But the week finally came.

Day one: Eat a Peach Century, Carroll County, Maryland

DF (dear friend) and I arrived in Westminster, MD to the Ag Center around 8am. We got ourselves ready to go and hit the roads by 8:30am for the 67 mile course. Most people had started earlier, but 8:30 is about the time I think I’ll be starting the bike in WI, so it was a good idea.  DF was so sweet to do this ride with me. It is horrible. There is nothing nice to say about it other than perhaps you see a lot of cows. Climb after climb, up and up and up. As usual, I got crankypants early, around mile 30 and made a decision that perpetuem + hammer gel would NOT be my drink of choice any longer. Water, Coke = Good. Perpetuem = sugar tongue (and not the new song from the Indigo Girls). We played a nice game of “Sarah catches up”  as I would get dropped by everyone and their brother up the climbs, but my giant tush would get good speed on the descents. (yay for my booty)

I was really needing some h20 and when we arrived at the water at mi. 40, it was empty (mother “chicken” is what came out of my mouth here). So trudge onto 49, but about 5 miles later, after getting dropped and descending, DF was at the bottom of the hill where there was a convenience store. YEAH! I love Mt. Airy’s random convenience store. There I was able to get lots of water and a really cold can of coke.  This really really helped me feel better and kept my mind alert. So we pressed on.

With about 5 miles to go we faced some super duper big climbs and I started to notice that this point the flags weren’t just our orange one’s but all the other colors too. This made me realize that I would have to do this entire set of hills again, at the end of the 33 mile loop to complete the 100. Crap! But press on we did, arriving at the Ag center where I left DF behind and went out on the 33 mile loop.

I had the cue sheet but noticed pretty quickly that there were no yellow flags as had adorned most of the 67 course. So one missed turn and 2 miles of wrong direction later, I found I needed to follow the old course markings on the road (which were accurate).  The event directors had pulled all the flags from the 33 early. At this point, I was alone. And I don’t just mean without DF. I was the absolute LAST person on this course. There was not a single other cyclist for 33 miles. At one point a truck drove up and asked if I was with the “ride” I said yes. This turned out to be such a blessing as he called the water stop and told them to stay open. They cheered me in and gave me fresh, cold water. YEA! Bless them. Knowing all the other stops were closed, I stocked up and headed back out.

The 33 loop was a bit easier than the 67, but definitely NOT easy. I knew it would come time that I would find those hills again. But, I channeled DF’s words-“It’s just the Columbia course and a ride around your neighborhood” This really helped. At mile 96, Mr. Cool Guy (jackass) went to his mail box and said, “Did you have a flat? or are you just slow” Really? Really? (say those with rising pitch). No I’ve just ridden for 7 hours, 95 miles and I got lost, so screw you. Actually, I said, “I’m just slow, but I’m happy”.  Soon thereafter the Charm City Dudes in the XTerra started following me picking up flags (those that were still left) They were nice. They didn’t make me feel stupid for being so slow. They even held traffic for me at one intersection. 🙂

Finally, 7 hours and 45 minutes of RIDING time later (about 8:30 of actual time), I arrived back to the Ag center where lovely DF was the LAST car in a GINORMOUS field waiting for me.  I may be the slowest person ever to finish 100 miles at Eat a Peach, but I finished (gol-darnit). And…I had a peach.

Day Two: This was technically supposed to be a solo century, but being in that I will never be alone during IM, DF decided to drive me out to Kent Island to ride a flat century for day two. This turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. We got a late start (I needed to sleep) and didn’t start the ride until almost 10am. This was, I think, our most fatal mistake as it was perhaps the hottest day thus far this summer. As I’m now remembering why I don’t blog much anymore (I’m tired) I will give quick highlights from day two.

First, flat doesn’t mean easy. It means constant pedaling and no break for the legs. Plus a headwind, which when its 90 degrees without shade means it feels like being behind a jet engine all day.

Second, this ride had the road to nowhere. Seriously, I found Sarah Palin’s bridge plan…its a long-ass road in Kent Island. By the time I got to the end of it, I had started to crack. I unclipped, put my head in my aerobars and started this laugh-cry breakdown thing that was hysterical. It was only mile 30. But alas, we had to go back.

Third, I love Sam and his store. Sam is the lovely proprietor of the convenience store on the road to nowhere. At the first stop, I had a coke, water, and the world’s most delicious ice cream bar ever. Plus, just being in air conditioning was awesome.

Fourth, when you have a full-on breakdown at mile 65, it helps to have a friend. Full-on mental breakdown occured at mile 65. I think I spent miles 50-65 just wondering “why the hell am I doing this”  and then proceeded to express said anger in a colorful (read: curse filled) rant that lasted 5 minutes. DF just listened, in a fully non-judgmental way, then proceeded to convince me and go back to visit Sam. If we made it that far, we would add 10-15 more miles. “Ok” So off we went.

Fifth, Sam really is the best store owner ever. A second coke, another ice cream, fig newtons and water later and we had made it up to 75 miles. “Do I have to go down the road to nowhere again”, I asked DF. “No. We can go back from here now. You’ve been great” (:-)

And so DF and I pressed on, in the heat, through the paths, across the bridge and pressed on back past Ms. Frederick’s street and back to the car, where I proceeded to cry a little. So happy to be off my bike. We made it 88 miles. (which we called good as it was hotter than a w(*&^ in church)

188 miles. two days. 14:15. Four cokes, two ice cream cones, three pb&j’s, one peach, one great friend, and the toughest bike weekend ever. DONE.

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