Sunday, August 29, 2010

Venus de Miles Ride Completed

This morning was the Venus de Miles ride for the fundraising efforts of Greenhouse Scholars. I have to say, I was a bit nervous this morning and curious as to what would happen on the ride. When I arrived, I had to pick up my bib, and even though I was running late, it was surprisingly easy. I had no line to wait in, and was able to check a bag with ease so that I didn't have to carry everything with me. Since there were three different rides available to attendees, they had the different groups start at different times. I was in the last group, which was absolutely fine by me. I wasn't in it for a race, but rather for an opportunity to take the Hillborne on a semi-decent ride and to just see how things went.

The start line was, at first, just modestly dense as you can see below.
Start line of Venus de Miles ride 2010 in Longmont, CO
No one was pushing or shoving (for the most part) and women who were complete strangers began conversations regarding bicycles, families, how they arrived at the event, and so on.  Then, the line of people started to thicken up and we all kind of braced for the start of the ride.
More women arrive at the start line of Venus de Miles
After what seemed like an eternity of standing in the sun, the organizers started letting people go in waves. I was in the second wave of that particular group, and I think we all agreed that the waiting was certainly the hardest part (or so we thought). While we waited, I had so many people comment on the Hillborne.
Hillborne is dressed and ready to head out on the ride
I suppose most of these women are more serious about "road racing" than I, so they were all a little puzzled to hear that he's made of steel, and to see the fenders and larger saddle bag on the rear.  I guess I really didn't expect as many comments as I received, but it was nice to hear that others liked the bike, as I know I definitely enjoy the ride. Perhaps it's the fat cream tires, or the bright color of the bike, but everyone from women riding, to guys helping out on the ride were interested in what the bike was and where I'd gotten it.

The first stop made was in Niwot, Co, where riders could meet some of the students who benefit from the Greenhouse Scholarship program. I did stop at this location simply to not kill myself on my first "long" ride on this bike.
Many riders stop to say hello to Greenhouse Scholar participants
While I was stopped at this location, I met two lovely ladies who asked if I'd like to ride along with them. I told them that would be nice, since my partner for the ride had been in an accident and was unable to ride with me.
Ladies who allowed me to ride along with them, taking a quick breather
We got going on the ride and were quickly in for some up hill climbing... far more than I anticipated. Even though we'd driven the road before the ride, I wasn't prepared for just how difficult some of these hills were. I am proud to say that I was able to ride up all the hills, and even though I wasn't moving very quickly up those hills, I was able to make up for it on the downhill portion of the ride. Steel is real, indeed. Pro-racers couldn't catch me when I was rolling down, and it was really fun to be able to still feel in control of the bike, even at those higher speeds. I would guess that I was traveling, at least at some downhill portions, at about 30+ mph, as at one point, there was a car driving next to me, and the posted speed limit was 35 mph.

The second rest stop had some gorgeous views of the mountains, and I suppose that I forget how lucky we are (at times, anyway) to live in such a beautiful area. Even though things are starting to die off, it was so lovely!
View of the Rocky Mountains from the Boulder/Lyons area
At this second resting point, there was also a very cool cover band (I don't actually know if they typically do covers, but they were pretty awesome to listen to while we gathered up some more water).
Windfall playing/singing tunes beautifully
I know that I was definitely appreciative of all the folks who were out all day in the sun to keep us motivated and moving along down the road. At the third rest stop, there was another awesomely cool band playing 80s songs (like Benatar, Journey, and so on).
The Goonies rocked it out 80s style
At this point in the ride, I was quite through with the whole mess. I was tired, my arm muscles were starting to cramp up on me, and I was sick of being in the 90+ degree sun. The last eight miles of the ride, weren't as pleasant for me. I seemed to struggle with just being able to make the pedals turn. It was by no means the Hillborne's fault, but rather that I just hadn't ridden this sort of distance yet, and my body wasn't quite prepared for it. I managed to make it to the end of the ride though, with the mental support from the ladies who'd allowed me to tag along with them, and I was happy to see the finish line banner soon thereafter.

All in all, a good ride, with some pretty amazing women. Despite wearing my yoga/spandex pants and a helmet, I enjoyed myself, and would likely do the ride again... though at the moment, my body just wants to recover from this round of things.  Now, I get to eat a cupcake! Yay!!

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