October 15, 2014

106.95 Miles In 1 Day

Remember how I talked about setting a goal to complete another century bike ride? In case you missed that post you can read it here.

I was nervous about signing up to do a century ride by myself since I hadn't done a 100 miler in over 10 years. Andy said he would go with me, but he had never ridden his bike more than about 20 miles. I talked to my Dad and asked if he would be interested in going on a ride with us. My Dad had knee surgery a few years back and really hadn't been on his bike much so I wasn't sure what he would say. He told me he would think about it. Over the course of the next few months I kept mentioning bike rides, eventually he said he would do one.

Stipulations: we needed to find a Saturday ride (we don't ride on Sundays), on a weekend that worked with everybody's schedule, the ride needed to be reasonably priced, and located somewhere between where we both live.

I found the perfect ride for us. The ride was on Saturday August 16th in New Port, Oregon. We met up with Dad and Julie the night before and we all crashed at a hotel. If anyone needs hotel recommendations in New Port, let me know.

Most of us didn't sleep well that first night, something about not being in your own bed and being anxious for the long ride ahead.

The ride officially started at 7:00 am but we decided to start about 8:30 am instead. The weather that morning was a little on the chilli side but it was beautiful out! My Dad said we needed to get some protein in so him and Andy each ate a handful of ham...this later became a running joke for us. I opted to drink an entire thing of chocolate milk, not the wisest decision I have ever made.

Our ride began at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and led us through downtown New Port. About 15 miles into our ride my stomach decided to tell me that it did not like the chocolate milk I had previously drank. My tummy hurt so bad. All I could do was try to hold it in and push through the pain.

We rode around a bay/harbor and then started climbing some hills. I quickly noticed that my bike wasn't shifting properly. As we were climbing a hill the sprocket on my bike came apart. Luckily Andy was riding behind me and saw it happen. With the help of several other bikers we were able to find all of the pieces. It took both Andy and my Dad working together to get everything put back together (this whole thing really slowed us down time wise). My Dad said he had never seen that happen before. If we weren't able to find the pieces, my ride would have ended right there.

We reached the 25 mile marker pit stop and refilled backpacks with water, grabbed some food, used the bathroom, and hit the road again.

By the time we reached the 50 mile marker my knees were hurting pretty bad. The guys at the pit stop offered to put my bike in the back of their truck and I told them that wasn't going to happen, I was determined to achieve my goal. I popped 800mg of ibuprofen and hopped back on my bike.

As I was peddling along I found that I was talking to myself. I kept telling myself that I could do it. That I was mentally tough and physically strong. And then I found myself quoting Prefontaine, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift". Yeah, I was determined.

Julie grabbed us some more food and we stopped to eat somewhere between 50 and 75 miles. I'm so glad she was there to help us. She would park at the top of hills and yell at us with a megaphone that we could do it.

Around 100 miles we came a hill known as "the wall" and it is just that a wall. After riding close to 100 miles climbing a really steep and really long hill is the last thing anyone wants to do. Andy and I pedaled for as long as we could. Eventually though we had to get off our bikes and walk. Dad is a beast and he peddled all the way to the top. I hate to say it but I think Dad is in better shape than we are.

Somebody miss calculated the distance for this ride, we thought we were only riding 100 miles but ended up riding just under 107 miles in one day. The last 7 miles were tough, mentally I thought I was done but we were all determined to make it back to that lighthouse.

The sun was quickly setting so we were racing against daylight. Just as they were getting ready to lock the gate to the park, Julie told them that we were still riding and almost there. As we rode in the cop who is in charge of locking the gate turned on his lights for us.

As we were riding down the hill toward the parking lot there were some incredibly strong gusts of wind. I thought it was going to blow both me and my bike over, I'm really glad that didn't happen. We finished riding about 8:30 pm. We were on the rode for 12 hours but our actual ride time was just under 8 hours.

I'm so proud of us and that everyone was willing to help me achieve my goal. Was it hard? You bet is was. Did it hurt? More than I would like to admit. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I live to do hard things.

What do you do after you ride your bike 106 miles? We stuffed our faces with Mexican food and then headed for the hot tub. And then we went to bed and we all slept really good that night.