Sunday, April 12, 2015

Race Report: 2015 Tony Serrano Century Ride

Well, I did it!! I rode 100 miles in a single day! It was a wild adventure and I'm so glad I did it! I'm also glad I waited until today to write the report - I think from now on, I'm going to let it marinate for 24 hours before writing a report! Gives me time to reflect (and get amnesia, perhaps?? LOL).

First off, I got a great night's sleep and woke up just a few minutes before my alarm went off! I had packed everything the night before and I was all set! I rolled and stretched and ate some yummy oatmeal, and headed out the door right on time.

About 10 minutes down the road, I realized I left my water bottles in the fridge. Ugh. I could not NOT have them and could not replace them on the way since this ride was out in the country in the middle of nowhere. So I turned around - and lost 15 minutes of my cushion time.

The traffic was bad by the time I arrived and I had to park way out away from the start - and the bathrooms. I walked over to get my band, and then walked back to get my bike ready and myself loaded down with all the stuff I carried with me. I over-pack as badly for rides as I do for Disney! In fact, I ended up wearing the cycling jersey solely because I needed the pockets on the back that the tri top does not have! LOL

I was getting texts from my friends wondering where I was but I was still getting ready! Finally, about 10 minutes before the start, I headed over. I was going to have to skip the potties which meant no Hoo Hah Ride Glide for the first 23 miles, but that wouldn't kill me. However, on the way cycling to the start I realized that I forgot to put on my gloves. They were still in the car! I pedaled back to the car in a rush and got them - shot off a few texts to let people know that I was rushing around. This was NOT the way I wanted to start my 100 miles!

I reached the area in front of the start and saw Judith with her team from TriCoachGeorgia. These are the folks who put on last year's training camp in Augusta and they are fantastic folks! I got there just in time to say "hi" and they gave me some encouraging advice. I looked down the road to the start and saw a mountain of folks - no way I was getting through. I texted BJ and let her know I would just wait for her and join up with her as she passed. I was nervous, but this ended up being quite easy!

I saw BJ in her blue jacket and we started to roll! I hadn't seen her in awhile and we had a lot to catch up on and literally the miles FLEW by! I looked down at my watch for the first time and we were already almost to 16 miles! It was fantastic! We stopped at the first rest stop and the line for the potty was around the corner. The next stop was 13 miles up so I decided to wait it out. We did partake of the yummy goodness - the snacks are the best on this ride!

I took my selfie with the intention of posting through the ride, but I had no internet service out there. I texted my hubby and my mom to let them know that the Facebook updates would not be coming so they wouldn't worry.
First rest stop selfie!
 BJ and I kept on pedaling and talking and having a great time! The miles passed quickly and we were at the 2nd rest stop. No picture here, but the potty line was much more manageable! We helped ourselves to some more goodies, applied more sunscreen, texted our loved ones, and went on our way.

The next stop was 18 miles away, at mile 54. I was a bit apprehensive for several reasons. The first one being that mile 50 is where I have this wall where I feel like I can't finish and I get very down. I was hoping BJ and I would be together long enough for me to push through it and get to the other side before she and I had to part ways at the stop since she was doing the Metric. (We had wanted to do our first 100s together but the timing just didn't work out for it to be this race) I also remembered this part of the course being very, very challenging last year. To my surprise, this time it wasn't nearly so challenging and I never really felt the "mile 50" problems creep up!

We hit the rest stop and saw George and Betty again (as we had at the previous 2 stops) - it was SO nice to see them one last time and get encouragement from them! I also talked to someone who asked me about Augusta 70.3 because he saw my jersey so I was able to encourage him that it's a great race! But then it was time to get rolling again! I sent more texts and BJ and I took a selfie together! I owe her so much for the first 54 miles being such a great and positive experience!!

BJ and me - hopefully I'll get to do a 100 with her one day!
 BJ and I rode on together for about another block and then the Metric went left and the Century went right. I turned right and there was nobody in front of me. I figured this might be the case, so I set to work on my brain. I knew the next rest stop was only 10 miles up the road so I focused on that. 10 miles is nothing, right?? A few days before the ride, my friend Lisa had suggested that I pray for people each mile during the time I would be alone - something that she remembered me doing during my marathons, something my friend Jill had suggested and it had worked so well. I'm so thankful to her for that reminder because it worked brilliantly! I prayed and, since I was pretty much alone, I sang whatever praise songs hit my head. Sometimes I just repeated choruses and sometimes I got more into the songs. I couldn't daydream too much, though, because I was alone and had to pay attention to the turns in the course! I did not want to get lost! LOL

And just like that - the rest stop was ahead of me! I was looking forward to seeing "Bostwick Mansion" where the 4th rest stop was located. This area for the race is so beautiful and some of the homes we pass so ornate, I was expecting this incredible estate. Instead, I pulled up to this:

The lovely Bostwick Mansion - I need to read up on its history!
 The lady at this rest stop was phenomenal. I didn't talk to her much mostly because I was in a zone, but she was talking to everyone. And yes, people pulled up behind me! I was shocked that I wasn't completely by myself. I took this picture, hit the potty, refilled my bottles with COLD water, and took off for the last rest stop which was about 15 miles away!

This part of the course seemed the most remote to me. In fact, some of the roads were questionable whether they could qualify as an actual road or not! LOL But the scenery continued to be absolutely beautiful, and I continued to pray and praise! I wasn't paying too much attention to my speed but I could tell that I was keeping a pretty steady time, even though the course was getting hillier. There was one hill at mile 75 where we had 150 ft of climbing in a half mile - it was brutal. But the last rest stop was only a few miles beyond it!

I think once I got to the last rest stop and realized that I had 20 miles to go, I knew I was going to make it - and that was a great feeling! The same folks that rolled into the last rest stop rolled into this one as well. The folks who hosted this stop were also very, very nice and I especially appreciated the fact that it was fully stocked still - even the water and gatorade were nice and cold! For some strange reason, I latched onto the Twizzlers and had about 4 of them! Not sure why, but they tasted so good at that point. With the exception of the licorice, my fueling was going according to schedule and plan! I was feeling good. I took my selfie, and this time I had internet service and could post it!

This is supposed to be my tough face!
 As I pulled away from the stop with confidence, I decided to take the last 20 miles easy and enjoy it! This worked for about 10 miles and then all of a sudden - BOOM! My whole attitude changed. I was feeling just fine - no aches or pains and my legs were only feeling the sort of tired you would expect after so many miles. But I looked down and it was around mile 91 and I was just done. I even noticed that I was no longer singing praise songs. Instead, I was singing a line - over and over - of a Beyonce' song that my daughter likes to play quite a bit ("Flawless"). I'm embarrassed to type it out because it has a bad word in it, but it's sort of comical: "Bow down, Bi***es". I'm singing that in my head over and over and over. "Bow down, Bi***es". No more glory to God and thinking of how good He is to me and how blessed I am to be healthy and doing these miles I trained so hard for. Just "Bow down, Bi***es"! I had a few different artists that I enjoy working out to when I'm struggling emotionally - Linkin Park, Foo Fighters - let me assure you that Beyonce' is not one of them! I have NO idea why that popped into my head at that time but it was there! And I have no idea if I was singing it out loud or not! I hope not! LOL

With 5 or 6 miles to go, I finally saw another cyclist on the road. As I got closer to her, I noticed she was wearing an Atlanta Triathlon Club kit. Now these folks are very, very fast. And I'm closing in on her?? I pull alongside her and ask if she's OK. She says, "Yeah, why?" I said, "Well, if you're back here with me - you must either be hurting or having technical issues!" She said, "Yeah, I had a flat tire and now my shifter isn't working!" LOL We talked for a little while longer and I told her this was my first Century, but I am a slowpoke. She said something encouraging about speed not being important and I thought that was nice! I wish I had told her that she is inspiring because I think if I had had a flat tire AND my shifter broke, and I'm normally a fast cyclist forced to go so slowly, I probably would have called the SAG wagon to come and get me. But she persevered! I think she's awesome! I wish I would have told her so! I'm just hoping she didn't hear me singing my "Bow down, Bi***es" song! ;)

With around 2 miles to go, I came across the SAG wagon helping one of the guys who I had been seeing at the rest stops. I felt so badly for him as they loaded his bike onto the SAG wagon! He was SO close! It certainly helped my perspective! I was almost there! But there were no guarantees I would make it, even then! I was so grateful for coming so far and not having any issues at all!

I rolled into the start/finish area and it was pretty much deserted! They were loading up the truck and I saw someone getting their sling backpacks, so I stopped and picked up mine while I was passing. I assumed they had packed up all the food but they hadn't. When I drove back a few minutes later, they still had wraps and chips out. I got back to my car and I was sort of grumpy. Looking back, I think I was just really, really hungry (for something substantial - I had been eating well and regularly but I think my body at that point just wanted something BIG). Once I got some real food into me - about 45 minutes later thanks to my lack of forethought on the food issue (I know I don't like wraps and that's what they had last year) - I was in a much better frame of mind!

Official time!! Much better than I had estimated! I averaged 14.5 mph overall - so pleased! 
 I decided to take a selfie to post before I headed over to see if I could still clean up and change clothes. I posted the hashtag "one and done"! LOL

Important lesson: Never take a selfie after a 100 mile ride with your helmet OFF!
 I drove over to the main area because I was NOT going to walk that again - and they had packed everything up but were nice enough to let me change clothes and freshen up in the bathroom before my 30 minute drive home! I really appreciated that. I got to talk to the Rest Stop Queen and tell her how much I loved the food and appreciated the fully stocked rest areas later in the course/day. I had carried extra food on me just in case they had run out  - and I didn't need to touch it!

I headed for home and quickly decided I needed to find FOOD and fast! I turned off the road that would take me home and headed for the nearest food. I wanted Chick Fil A but the traffic was so crazy that I ended up getting Zaxby's since it was closest to me! I barely remember eating the food! I think it would best be described as "inhalation"!

I got home, put my stuff away, and showered. That helped so much to be clean and fresh. I didn't have any major areas of chafing, which was a relief. I stretched a bit and then started in on the rehydration. I was still hungry, but figured I needed to wait a few hours before I ate again. Water was much more important at that point and I took in several bottles. I rolled and stretched a bit more before bed and ate some more, too! I had to pick up my daughter from work at midnight, but then came home and zonked out and slept hard!

When I woke up this morning, I noticed that my muscles were a bit tight but not sore and no pains. I rolled and stretched and we went to church. After church, I came home and ate my lovely steak lunch that my husband had promised me - and then went outside to clean off Mike the Bike! He had done such a good job of taking care of me, I wanted to show him some TLC! He is all nice and shiny, as is my old friend, Frankenbike! We are ready for some summer fun!

Here is the sling backpack from the race. My kitty, Apollo, thinks it's the best! LOL

My Garmin data! I do love me some data!! 
So there is the race/ride report. On the way home yesterday, I was thinking that I would never ride 100 miles again. (Heck, I was thinking I didn't even want to get on my bike for at least a month! LOL) And a full Ironman?? 12 MORE miles, plus 2.4 mile swim before AND a marathon after?? Forget it! But then today, I have felt so good - I'm starting to get amnesia already! I guess this is how it works! :)

I wish I could figure out a way to balance my marathon training with keeping a long ride a few times a month. But I can't. And the marathons I have coming up this fall are so important to me! That Marathon Maniac goal is something I really, really want. So if I have to put my cycling on the back burner and return it back to "cross training" status, then I will. I just can't imagine not doing a single triathlon this year, though - I've done at least one every year since 2011! I may have to see if I can find a sprint this summer. The hardest part with the longer rides on Saturday - even though I LOVE my training buddies - is that it takes me away from home for my entire Saturday, which is my husband's only day off work. And during the school year, that puts him on duty for getting our daughter to and from dance and work. He doesn't mind, but it does make me feel bad. There will be years and years and years for me to do longer triathlons when our kids are all older. Long runs on Saturday are much easier to manage and have me home before lunch at the latest.

So no more centuries for me this year, but I sure would like to be able to go back and do this ride again next year and maybe do centuries at the rides where I did the metric distance last summer! :) This week will be all about recovery. And next week, I start my marathon base-building!

"Bow down, bi**es"!

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