I managed my anxiety much better this time. Ok, I ate my way through my anxiety - probably my weight in Halloween candy! But that's OK. At least I slept well, despite the sugar high and the resulting crash.
One of the best parts of this race was the fact that it was less than 10 minutes from my house. My alarm was set for 6:30 and I didn't need to leave my house until 7:50 for a 9:00 AM start. Easy Peasy! But then my tires wouldn't inflate right. I wasn't sure if my pump was broken, or if my brain was the one that was broken, but I figured I'd just ask for help when I got to the start.
I hadn't gotten anything pulled together yesterday and that was a big problem - left me scrambling around in the morning more than I needed to. And in the end, I ended up forgetting my Road ID at home. But I had my driver's license on me so it wasn't a big deal.
My friend, Jill, had signed up for the race, too, and she had already arrived when I got to the park for the start. It was chilly this morning and I had layered up. I do not have any cold weather cycling gear, but I made the best of it. We quickly got checked in (no race number?? no tee shirt?? LOL) and hit the rest rooms. I borrowed her pump and got my rear tire to take air but still couldn't get the front tire to work. I took it over to Bruce from Apalachee Cycle and he had no trouble at all. User error, I suppose. But I think I'd still like to get a new tire pump soon.
|A little nervous but ready to go!|
|Me and Jill|
Jill and I stayed together through the course, and I cannot begin to express how much help she was for me! For one thing, shortly into the ride, people start shouting things out and point at the ground and stuff and I was all confused. Apparently, in a group ride, you shout things to allow people to know when there are cars coming up behind you, or if there are things in the road to watch out for, or if there are cars coming or the route is clear. This is stuff I wasn't really prepared for, so I'm glad she was able to explain that to me! She was also a huge source of encouragement! And it was nice to have time to catch up with her since it had been awhile since I'd seen her! She is a true blessing to me!
I'm glad I had driven the course on Thursday, but I seriously underestimated the number of hills. Seriously. Wow, I'm not sure how I did that. But you know what? It wasn't all that bad. There were many long hills and I just spun up them, and only a few hills that left me terribly out of breath! The rest of the hills weren't tough to manage at all. THAT was incredibly surprising to me! I am feeling much, much better about the idea of doing the Olympic distance tri next summer - even if the course is hilly. I have months left to get more practice on the hills! And I am already so much stronger on them than I was this time last year!
One thing I have to say that I love about the whole "bike race/ride" thing? The rest stop! We pulled up and this nice gentleman offered to hold my bike for me while I walked around and stretched my legs. And check out the food they offered:
We stopped for about 15 minutes and then took off again to finish the course. At first, my legs were confused. LOL But they settled back in nicely. I was feeling much more confident on the second part of the course which was good because the traffic was much heavier. I even rode over the railroad tracks, instead of walking over them! Jill rode up ahead of me and I just followed her path!
That last hill at the end didn't end up being as bad as it had looked, and then we were at the finish. Or rather, our cars, because there wasn't a finish line! LOL
|I did it!!|
And yay for a free lunch after the ride! They had hamburgers, hot dogs, and chili! I took a very yummy hamburger and ate it up in a hurry! I also had Cheetos and a Coke! I meant to grab a banana, but in all the excitement that was my junk food marathon, I forgot! ;)
So, if you haven't already figured it out - I had a great time and I am feeling strong, and excited, and much more confident in my cycling ability! My Garmin says that we averaged just a little over 12 MPH which is wonderful considering all of the hills! I am completely thrilled and so excited to do another cycling race/ride again one day!