100 Miles of Nowhere, Team CarboRocket Division, Surprise, AZ Part II
Since 2010 is the year I have decided to stretch myself, what better way to do so as a cyclist than committing to ride 100 miles. A 100 Miles of Nowhere to be exact. Shortly after I registered for Fatty’s annual 100 Miles of Nowhere, I invited fellow CarboRocket team-mate, Mary, to join me for the Team CarboRocket Division in Surprise, Arizona. What better way to keep myself accountable, than to have someone else join me?
To my delight, Mary accepted my offer to compete as a team! As May 8th approached, I was excited and nervous. I have completed a century once before, about 4 years ago. Although I have lost roughly 40 odd pounds thus far this year, I am still a good 50 pounds heavier than my goal weight. I would still be lugging a lot of extra weight on the ride….for 100 miles….33.5 laps around my neighborhood…at least 6 hours plus in the saddle….potential 100 degree temps. The closer May 8th got, the more anxious I became that I would actually be able to complete the ride.
The week before the ride, I had planned a 60 mile “tune up”, to gauge my fitness level. I figured if I could ride 60 miles, I could certainly ride 100. Mother Nature conspired against me. The day of my planned “tune up”, we were experiencing wind gusts of up to 60 miles an hour. Not one to try to ride through a dust storm, I was relegated to a 2 hour mountain bike ride on a trail protected from the wind. I thought, “No biggie, I will get some shorter road rides in as the week progresses”. That added up to exactly one road ride, squeezed in before work one morning, totaling 30 miles. I did get a long run of 5 miles in the week before the ride, and I took the Friday before the ride off as my “taper”. What was I getting myself into?!?!?!?!
Before I knew it, Mary was at the house, and we were carbo loading on pasta in preparation for our ride. Mary was worried about the heat, and wanted to start earlier than later. I was able to convince her to start at a somewhat reasonable hour, 6 am. It was early to bed Friday night. I had the pre-big ride jitters, and had some difficulty falling asleep. I had no doubt I would complete the 100 miles, my doubts had to do with the amount of time that it would take me.
The day of the ride dawned early – the sky was awash in an orange blaze as we enjoyed our morning coffee. I was grateful to see an unusual bit of cloud cover that would stick with us the first couple of hours of our ride. Soon enough, we were off. All of my pent-up doubts, and nervousness about completing the ride came out as riding like crazy for the first few laps. I wanted to get as many laps completed in the relatively cool morning air as possible. The first laps were easy as Mary and I swapped stories about our cycling experiences. We were riding at 17 and 18 mph at some stretches, and I had to wonder how many matches I was burning for later in the day. The first 2 hours flew by. We had some comic relief from my neighbors, who joined us on cruiser bikes wearing flip-flops for a lap. Soon after, a friend, Marianne (the triathlete) joined us. The day was warming up, Marianne had a flat – I was grateful for the break. We got her flat fixed, and soon she dropped off to get back to her Saturday. It was just Mary and I (and Sammy the snake) for the duration.
We were over the 60 mile mark. I knew I could complete the ride, but would I be able to do so before the wind got out of control, and the temperature got too high? I hit a rough patch between mile 70 and mile 90, where I was just gutting it out. Thank goodness Mary was there to distract me. Between Mary’s chatting (we hatched plans for a Team CarboRocket Boot Camp, as well as a fall BBQ), and the cow bells that were rung in our support on every lap, I somehow made it to mile 90. I knew I would be able to finish! At just about that time, as I went to stand up to stretch my back, my right leg locked up in a cramp. Oh noooooooooo. I sat back down, and continued to peddle, thinking maybe it would just happen that once. Yeah. Right. Each time I tried to stand up, or adjust, my right leg would start to cramp. Not good. My fast start from earlier in the day was coming back to haunt me. With the end in sight, 1 lap remaining, my left leg started to cramp as well. We took a quick break so I could stretch my legs one last time. Once back on the bike, the last 3 miles flew by – we were joined at one point by some neighborhood kids on an assortment of 2 wheeled toys. A couple of bmx bikes, a scooter, and some odd contraption that propels its rider along as they wiggle.
Finally, we hit the 100 mile mark! Our ride of nowhere was complete. Thanks Fatty – for inspiring us to ride a 100 miles, and raising money to fight cancer. Thanks friends – for giving us comic relief to keep us going, and a ringing cow bell to spur us on each lap. Thanks Mary – for driving all the way to Surprise to ride as Team CarboRocket, and for riding the whole way with me, not in front of me. Thanks Kerri – for making sure we had proper snacks during the ride, and for being my never ending source of support.
One milestone achieved, many more to come this year!