REWIND: so, I had been stressing about this BBC Ride because initially my husband (Kevin) had talked me into doing the 33 miler – without me having ever ridden 33 miles. We went out to a pretty flat course and did 32 miles a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I was hung over and it wasn’t a good test of endurance. Like I said then, with 5 miles left I was not in a good place and my vag was killing me.
BBC Ride: Let me start by saying that BBC means Beautiful Backroads Century. Backroads mean hills, they don’t mean sh*t else. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…We get up at 5am to be at the ride by 6:30am. Registration/check-in is 1/4 mile from where you park. Wtf? I may do these races/rides/tris/sh*t, but I HATE walking a long way from my car to my destination. Anyhow, so we walk the 1/4 mile in the dark, check in, then have to walk 1/4 mile back to the car to unrack our bikes and then go 1/4 mile BACK to registration for the start. Kevin’s Uncle is a cyclist, too and he did the ride, so he met us up there.
Well, Kevin goes to look for his uncle so I hold both of our bikes and there’s a group of cyclists standing next to us and they say to me, “You holding everyone’s bike?” in that we know your big ass isn’t riding a bike that nice way which only infuriates me, so I respond with, “Yeah, this is definitely my bike and I’m holding my husbands.” So, Kevin gets back and takes his bike and they say to him, “Aren’t you going to pay her for holding your bike?” and Kevin is like, “What?” and the guy says, “Aren’t you going to pay her for her services?” ….no clue why, but his response got me so hot and bothered. He says, in that very Alpha male, serious way, “Yes, she’s my wife and I take care of her in every way possible. I don’t need to pay her.” Boom. Made my panties twitch. And it shut that guy up.
This is a ride, not a race. There’s no “GO!” or “START!” there’s just random people leaving whenever they want with no official time and no bibs. It was all very overwhelming for me, especially since there were over 1800 cyclists. 😆 Well, we set off to do the 15 miler.
There were several different courses to choose from – the 15, 33, 48, 66 or 100 miler. At mile 7 you have to choose if you want to do 15 or more. So, at mile 7 Kevin looks at me and says, “Alright. Up to you. 15 or 33?” Well, the first 7 miles were hilly, but nothing unmanageable. Challenging, but doable. Hard, but good. So, I tell him the 33. He’s happy, and then we keep on. Mile 10 is a pit-stop that is 1/4 mile, off course and down a steep hill and the whole way down I’m cursing my decision to even stop, because do you know what that means? After your “rest” you have to go back up this steep hill. Whose idea was it to put a rest at the bottom of a hill off course? A sadists.
We finish up our break. I can tell I’ve clearly impressed Kevin’s uncle because he didn’t expect me to agree to 33 and he’s telling me how I can still do 20 if I go back now. Which only fuels my drive to do 33.
We clip back in and go back up the bitch of a hill. The next 10 miles are NOTHING but hills. Long, long, steep, infuriating hills. At one point, I changed gears too late, got stuck in the front derailleur, had to unclip and fix my bike and then promptly cried. Kevin reassured me and calmed me down. I was so angry and embarrassed. I’m extremely hard on myself.
We stop at mile 21 and meet up with his Uncle who is telling me he’s proud of me and at this point I’m ready to be done. Kevin looks at me and says, “10 more miles, baby. You can do it. I’m so proud of you.” That’s all I need. I clip back in and start up again.
Now, I’m slowly climbing a hill. Counting. Singing “help me, help me” from that popular Train song that’s out. Out of the corner of my eye I see flashing lights: an EMT Responder. Fear hits me. Several things run through my head, 1. This guy is waiting for me to die. 2. The ride is over and they’re following behind me/sweeping. 3. He’s checking my ass out. I pull over to the side of the road and wave him around me, Kevin’s waiting at the top of the hill. He pulls up next to me and says, “Are you okay, ma’am?” and I look at him and say, “Yes. You’re freaking me out! Just go, dude!” He busts out laughing and takes off. Kevin is laughing. I’m laughing. It was much needed laughter. Kevin gives me a kiss and we clip back in to finish it.
The last 10 miles were significantly easier than the second 10 miles. I felt good on my bike. I was sore and hurt, but wasn’t worried about not finishing.
We finished in 3:11:42. We took a couple of 15 minute breaks and refueled/re-hydrated, but I finished. I found this to be harder than my triathlons. Perhaps because it was only my 4th time on my new bike, or maybe because it was first organized ride, or maybe it was me getting into my own head, but it was hard. And when something is hard, I want to keep doing it until it’s easy. (that’s what she said)
Long story short: I’ll be doing this again…