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Last year, I did the Medio Fondo in a haze of depression, and sadness - I hadnt really been biking much after the awesome ride I had with the Tour de Cure and was completely unprepared for the ride - I struggled so much, and was finally done in by my body just giving up, ever muscle spasming and cramping. Coleman valley Road had become a symbol of this failure of mind, body and my ability to prepare for something. 

This year, practicing for the Tour de Cure, I was still struggling with cramps and issues with muscles giving out when I was doing rides longer than 30 miles. Blood levels all came back normal, so I've been uber careful with keeping hydrated and keeping lots of electrolytes in my system. 

@byronium was awesome in helping me get ready, always willing to adjust weekend plans to make sure we got riding in, giving up on doing other far more fun stuff to make sure I could get up to santa rosa and get my 3d Fit done, he's held my head when I've been on the side of the road barfing up breakfast or the times I totally lost it, the fear of hills getting to me, 

I'm better about hills, I'm better about getting in and out of the clips, managing my blood sugar, all of it. But as the weekend approached, I was still really scared. Miscommunication around the event itself between me and @byronium resulted in a tough few weeks emotionally, but we're better for working through it. I know that everyone was trying to be supportive during this, but not knowing what was happening until the last minute or later was really trying. 

The week before was spent drinking so much water and electrolytes, I thought I'd float away. The temperatures were over 80 degrees all week in SF, and our AC at work being broken left me often feeling dehydrated, which did nothing to alleviate my fear of cramps and falling. 

I had a great talk with a coworker who is a long distance biker and who's been _amazingly_ awesome and supportive as I told him about my adventures in getting better. He pointed out that the 'HILL' in my head was likely just in my head, that it would be hard, but that I'd do it. And if my body gave out this time, it wasnt because of lack of trying on my part, but that his suspicion was that I'd conquer it.  That made me feel great. Texts from @basmatiheather, @clairesemarie, @llamaeyes and @libitinae all were greatly appreciated.  I continue to be deeply grateful for their support. :)

Friday, work was insane for both of us, and we got out of town 2 hours later then we'd hoped - we barely had time to get registered and get to dinner, which was good! Back to the hotel, unpacked and getting the bikes prepped for the ride, I could barely sleep, getting more and more nervous about the whole thing. @byronium was good and petted me until I fell asleep. 

Up and out at 6 am to have breakfast of oatmeal, and almonds, we were off on the road to the start around 7 am. I was wearing my Red Rider jersey, and it was great to have people come by to ask me if I were type 1 or type 2 - and to tell me they had it, or they had family members who did. I didnt see any other Red Riders but it was good to know there were others out there! Being with @byronium means that people are friendly to me! (no really, when I'm by myself, people react to my protectiveness of my space and self by being less than friendly. (I'm working on it, @pug knows what I'm talking about. ;) ) )

Being in a group of 7498 other riders with @byronium was _amazing_ - seeing other people getting ready to go out for 30, 63 and 103 miles was just fantastic!, we were so pumped up to get going! 

The only time I passed anyone was during the first 15-20 miles - I finally warmed up around mile 13, just before the 1st real hill - I was doing well, and told @byronium not to bother stopping at the 1st rest stop - it was a zoo! We headed to the next one around mile 22. I made good time on this section, rolling through the redwoods, my legs warmed up and happy. 

It was great getting to the rest stop by the ocean - the weather was still overcast, but the hills that were so hard last year were a lot easier this year. By mile 30, I was feeling amazing. This rest stop is where Levi and his peleton and camera crew showed up and @byronium turned all adorably fanboyish. :) I got a picture of the two of them together.

We headed out and within the next few miles, my "I can do ANYTHING" fell flat. I started cramping just as we hit the part where last year they had the sign, "Steep hills ahead," and while I was stopped rubbing out the cramp, Levi and his Peleton passed me, making it look like it was nothing. That was both exhilirating to watch and ego bruising, but I concentrated on how much fun they were having and kept going. The next 5 miles were a mix of pain, cramps, walking, pedaling. So so slow, but everyone who passed me was so encouraging, so upbeat, that it was hard to stay down. 
 
Getting to Oceansong rest stop was pretty much the happiest moment of my life at that point. Everyone was so happy to see us and really welcoming. I walked out a lot of cramps and drank lots more cytomax. I MADE IT over the BIG HILL, the one that had been haunting me. 

20 more miles to go. It seemed almost undoable. But the only way to do it was to get back on the bicycle and pedal. 
So I did. the downhills on this section were crazy. Really needed to get down low on the bike, and get my weight back as far as possible - i was down in the drops using the levers. The hairpin was insane, but I made it through! 

My thighs were cramping still, so I had stopped to rub them, when Marshall 114 came by. (oh, what eyes, he was so cute) and pulled a baggie out of his pocket. I was slightly terrified at what he was going to offer, but they were just Tums - apparently all the euro racers use it! Couldnt hurt, and it didnt. I made it to Occidental. only 15 more miles to go! 

at this point, I'd run out of Cytomax, and was drinking whatever they'd provided (EFS, I think) - which wasnt actually that bad - a little 'salty' tasting, but at that point, I LIKED that. I think it might be a good thing to add to the arsenal. (At this point, 45 miles in, I'd gone thru 6 packages of cytomax and 2 of prepetuam - I mix one cytomax to one prepetuam in a 24 oz bottle and my blood sugars were all still in the 110-130 range, just fine for what I was doing. )

The last bit is a little bit of a haze, I just wanted to get done. But it wasnt bad, and there were still plenty of cyclists doing it - tho I didnt see many metric century riders, just century riders, still passing me. There was one part where the police were holding up traffic to let bunches of bikers get rhought, and they asked us to stop so that another police officer could drive through. A car, stuck behind me, almost pulled out in front of the police car coming down - it was a moment, where all the cyclists yelled at the car, because we could see what he couldnt. At least he listened before causing an accident. 

I remember when we finally hit the section that went along a bike path, it really just got tedious. I couldnt wait for the ride to be OVER. I have never sat on my bike seat for SO LONG before and I was just done. just.done.

But getting to the finish line, and actually having people still there to cheer - THAT was amazing. I'm so grateful to them for doing so. We were immediately directed to where we could store the bikes and head off to get food and drink. 8.5 hours after starting, I finished my ride. 

<iframe width='465' height='548' frameborder='0' src='http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/118793353'></iframe>

Next year: my goals are: less walking, faster average speed - faster moving speed. Still aiming for the Medio until I figure out what's going on with the cramps. I can't wait! 




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gayathri

May 2012

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