Saturday, August 4, 2012

riding with the boys.

 Today was another installment of :  "I wasn't sure I could do this but I did it anyway."

A group of guys that I swim with are avid cyclists and invited me to join this ride my friend David organized that they were calling "The Triple Crown of Cycling" which was a 37 mile ride that featured the three biggest hill climbs in the area.  When they were talking about it at swimming last week, and how challenging the hills were, I said:  "Yes, I'll be there" because I didn't want to be scared out of doing something potentially fun and definitely good for tri training.

But as I thought about it,  I really wasn't sure my legs would make it up that last hill, and I kind of regretted agreeing to it. I woke up with that what-have-I gotten-myself-into feeling.

There were 13 of us in all, 11 guys and two women (thank goodness Robin came too so I had a female comrade who doesn't ride 20 mph like the guys do)

 The other added element of this event is that there was a challenge to wear the ugliest bike clothes, hence all the Hawaiian shirts and knee socks you see in the photo. (I don't do ugly athletic wear because if I'm going to be a slow athlete I figure I might as well be a cute athlete.)

Even though I had to play chase to keep up with these guys, it is soooo fun to ride in a pack. 

And it was awesome to finally ride with my friend Robin after many failed attempts at scheduling.

We rode the hills in ascending order of difficulty, the first one was Hoxie Hill, a steep and then slow climb at about the 10 mile mark.  Not too bad. Next was a series of rolling hills that I would like to please consider to be the fourth hill, because it wasn't easy.   The second official climb was King Mountain, at about 13 miles which just kept going on and on.  Here we are at the top about to cruise back down.

Why didn't I take a photo of the view which was clear and beautiful and went on forever?  No idea.

 The last climb was Wiswell/ Copeland Hill at about mile 25, which was for sure the hardest and longest.  It was steep at the beginning, long and slow in the middle and then really steep at the end.  I was so happy to see the guys waiting for me and cheering me up the last stretch.

The last 15 miles back were mostly downhill and fast and fun.  We ended the ride at David's house for scones and fruit salad.  My legs feel worked but strong.

Even though I can't actually keep up with these guys, they are gentlemanly enough to wait for the women to catch up at several points along the way, and they at least make me feel like part of a big group of riders.  I'm so glad that this Half Ironman training has pushed me to ride more because I am just loving being on my bike. 

Just shy of 3000 feet of climbing and 37.7 miles and you know what? Don't tell the guys, but it really wasn't that hard. 

Just what I needed today.  Off to watch more Olympics. 


Emily Robinson said...

You rock!!

ltlindian said...

What a nice group of friends you have! I hear lots of stories from other women about male riders (husbands even!) who do not wait and have zero tolerance for women riding with them. Great ride!