I didn’t make the whole 37 miles; I only made 32. I knew going into the ride I probably wouldn’t be able to finish, I’ve never attempted anything of distance before, and I’m pleasantly surprised I made it as far as I did.
I have three strong thoughts about my CF ride: 1. I now know what 35-ish miles on a bike looks and feels like. 2. That wasn’t very smart of me. (For someone who has never signed up for anything longer than a 5k jog, 35 miles was way out of my league.) 3. I am so doing this next year!
The first thing I need to work on is my hydration. I felt pretty good during the hilly part, felt a lot better during the flat part, but after about twenty miles my right leg started cramping up and wouldn’t stop no matter how much Gatorade I drank. I think my hydration problems started before the race began.
I was nervous, to say the least, before the race and didn’t drink much Gatorade or water to begin. When we started out, the first ten miles or so, were rather hilly for someone not used to riding a bike. A couple of the hills were so big I had to walk my bike up them. I sweated quite a bit and only drank water or Gatorade when I stopped to take a break.
After the first ten miles the course flattened out and I hit the first rest stop needing a boost to my reserves. I had a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Gatorade, both of which helped me immensely. I felt a weird sensation in my right leg, after the second rest stop, almost like a gas bubble trapped in my quads.
I drank more liquids and felt pretty good until my leg actually started cramping at about the 25 mile mark. When I finally made it to the last rest stop, with about seven miles to go, I almost took the nice lady’s offer to drive me to the finish line but I wasn’t ready to quit. Not yet. She did tell me if I took a left at the light, instead of a right, I could shave about five miles off the route. That I did.
Now I have a much better idea of what I need to do to finish the CF ride. I need to hydrate better and more frequently. I need to actually train for the ride and not think a few 5k jogs and a 13 mile flat bike ride will suffice. I need to increase my fitness level, although I will admit I didn’t feel quite as bad after the race like I thought I would.
Janet and I (mostly I) were at the back of the ride for almost the entirety. That didn’t bug me as much as not finishing. I knew almost from the start I would ride this again next year. I can do better, now that I know what to expect. Next year’s ride will be much better…I’ve already started training.