gayathri: (girl)
[personal profile] gayathri

I dont actually like big group rides. Let me just get that out of the way. The very first big ride I did was the Cinderella Classic, and I didnt finish it, but it was ok 'cause @crayonbeam, @JR, and @alicia were all there, and I had a pretty good time.

The next one, the Portland Bridge Pedal - I got it into my head it would be fun to go and ride over these bridges with Byron. And it was. I got a new bike. and then started riding more.

The next big group ride I did was the ADA Tour De Cure, and that had its own stressors - coming out as a diabetic (or a person with diabetes? still not sure how I identify there) But the actual ride itself, 50 miles in Napa, was amazing. It was really well managed, the rest stops were in the right places, and the encouragement from random strangers was so encouraging! I did great. Its still my 'gold standard' for organized bike rides. :)

The next big ride I did was 63, and it sucked. So many reasons - I didnt train at all, the metric century had hills that were insane. My body just wasnt going to do it, and it gave up. Ever since that ride, I've had this terror of hills - I am still not sure if its physical or psychological, but I've been really working hard on dealing with the psychological and taking the appropriate meds for the physical (Panic attacks, utter anxiety and fear, an inability to breath or see straight) But the ride itself was really scarey as well with the rolling start, so many REALLY good cyclists, the pseudo-encouragement from better bikers. Gah. I hated it. I'm going back this year just to prove to myself that I can do it. And to give the finger to those annoying 'helpful' bikers. (I'm still utterly terrified when I think about Coleman Valley Road...)

I wasnt sure about doing this one, so soon before the portland bridge pedal, but @rhiannonstone's been getting more into riding as well, and suggested we all go. Touted as a good ride for beginners to group rides, there was a 20, 31, 56/63 mile routes. After being prompted a few times by byronium , we opted for the 31.

I suggested that we pre-ride some of the route a few weeks before to see what might be problematic or what might need some work and so we did, last sunday: and rhiannonstone posted about her ride:

But we didnt do the 10 mile loop up to the Pulgas Water Temple, and I was a little nervous about how I'd handle the hills. It didnt help that when I got home sat night after dinner, I realized my front tire was completely flat again. That would make four flats in 3 weeks. AHRGH> but the thing about this is that I've gotten really good at taking off the tires and pulling the tubes.

@rhiannonstone had tweeted about ruining her manicure working on her bicycle, which reminded me to wear nitrile gloves while I did mine. ;)

Sleeping the night before was funny. I kept having annoying dreams about the ride itself. The ride itself was _awesome_ - we found each other easily, bikes were ready, we were ready, and off we went!

Its hard riding in a big group especially when I'm not that great at starting from a stop sometimes. For whatever reason, I felt really good and strong today and taking some of @llamaeyes suggestions, on this, I kept thinking more about how I was going to be successful vs how it was hard, and also just looking 10 feet in front of me when it got really tough.

We actually parted ways with @rhiannonstone and @llamaeyes before the big hill they had to tackle and headed to the water temple. This was a grind, but not bad, the worst part was how _damn_ cold it was that day - my chest wouldnt get warm enough and I kept having to use my inhaler to manage the cold induced asthma. :( As long as I was moving, I was fine. As soon as I stopped, this would start to physically hurt my muscles. :( Up the hill to the overpass - this section was a little scarey. The road was an unkempt bike path, very steep and narrow - it felt a little more like I was offroading vs road riding, but it was good when we finally hit the downhll section onto the road to the water temple.

This was a long slight downhill, and I got myself tucked in behind @byronium and got into the big ring. This was great, we were pedaling hard and I got up to 26 mph before we had to slow down for the rest stop / turn around. This was at mile 11ish, so we still had a good 20 miles to go, so as soon as I warmed up - this was the ONLY SUNNY SPOT we hit the whole ride, we turned around and headed back.

It got colder, damper, and even rained on me - the worst was as I was trying to get uphill across the narrow bridge andI could no longer see - my glasses had fogged up and it was raining. This was the only panic inducing point on the ride, but I kept breathing and pedaling and visualizing the road being easy and clear and safe.

Fun was finally catching up to @byronium and seeing he had a friend pedaling behind him - this woman in all pink with a Specialized Ruby in white with pink glitter crystals all over it. We tackled that last bit, and I got to the top, a little out of breath, but no panic! not bad.

Resting through a few light changes, we head on down the hill to get to the intersection where we parted ways with @rhiannonstone and @llamaeyes - I knew the hills coming up, but felt pretty strong about making it. The rest of the ride actually went really well - we hit Sawyer Camp Trail, and I tucked in behind B and someone else and we paced at a nice steady speed, I really enjoyed this, we were steady and I felt smooth and at home.

(Except my new Hincapie bib shorts kept moving around. Turns out I got the wrong size. You can't really sell a pair of bike shorts, even if you've only used them once, sadly)

Anyway, l managed not to damage anything with the not quite right fitting shorts. When we got back down the hill and were on the last leg pedaling away - I realized that I ahd energy, and pulled ahead of Byron and upped the pace to closer to 20mph. This felt great. :) But I did get tired, and ralized why people switch doing that. Coming into the end, we almost didnt go over the finish, but made the turn to see llamaeyes, and rhiannonstone cheering us on! That was really nice. :)

PIcnic with mango, proscuitto, crackchips, diet pepsi, stories, running into princeofwands and karenbynight and their family (and their really cute friend, Chris? rowr.) The great part was while I was tired, I wasnt wiped out. And the days after were also ok!!

Date: 2011-08-15 02:24 am (UTC)
rhiannonstone: (bike)
From: [personal profile] rhiannonstone
Ugh I hate that pseudo-encouragement I get from some of the more experienced cyclists, too. That doesn't help!

I was wearing nitrile gloves while I was working on my bike, but the polish hadn't yet hardened enough to keep it from getting messed up anyway. :)

I'm so glad the ride was a good experience for you, too. I can only imagine how awesome it must've felt to be able to keep up with B and even get ahead.Thank you so much for going on it with me!


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