Sunday, August 28, 2011

Venus de Miles 2011 Completed

**Update: I should always speak to my better half before posting anything. I forgot that he was out with his camera phone and actually snapped a few shots of the ride, so I've added those in. Yay for photos!


As fair warning to anyone looking for photos, I have no visuals to support this years' Venus de Miles ride, but I definitely have commentary. But, before I get into that, I should go back to mid-evening Saturday night when we decided to do a last minute check up on the Hillborne to make sure all was functional and working appropriately. I had mentioned that perhaps the saddle should be tipped down a bit (I kept feeling as though every time I rode, it was slowly dipping in the back), so we took it out front to make the adjustment. As I rode down the street, all of a sudden the saddle collapsed from beneath me. I couldn't help but let out a little scream as it startled me to suddenly lose my seat. I pedaled back and we fixed the saddle again. I started down the street again, and - same results (without the scream this time). We removed the seat post and discovered that at some point it had loosened slightly and had stripped itself, no longer allowing the saddle to be held in place. Bummer. Fortunately, we had another seat post to use, so we took that one off, put the other one on, and then realized that because of the clamp on it and the railing on the Brooks saddle, it just wouldn't hold it in place. It was fairly late in the evening by this juncture, and all the bike shops were closed, so it was time to move on to plan B.
**Image from Venus de Miles
Plan B turned out to be riding a bicycle that I've only ridden a total of about 35 miles. Plan B scared the bejesus out of me because of my hand/wrist issues and not having established the comfort that I have on the Hillborne. I was a bit hesitant, but, since I knew my friend Cara and I would only be doing the shortest ride, I figured it was better than not showing up at all. We adjusted the saddle, changed out bar tape to provide more cushioning on the drop bars, and hoped for the best.
Start line of Venus de Miles 2011 9am group
Of course, Saturday night I didn't sleep well, finally dozing off somewhere around 1am Sunday morning, and then waking a little after 3a because I'd consumed so much water before bed that I had to get up. I fell back asleep some time after 4a, and then rose again at about 6:45a. Not the best nights sleep, to say the least. Regardless, I awoke, ready to get the ride under way, and anxious to meet up with my pal. When I arrived on scene, we had a bit of trouble locating each other, but actually connected very soon after our wave of the ride began.
A group of ladies about 8 miles into the ride... Love the tutu's!
We talked a bit about how the summer was going, and how I have entirely too much to get done to be spending this time riding, but was happy to be out in the fresh air. She shared that she never decided on a bike and opted to rent the one she was riding, and wasn't entirely comfortable on it. As we climbed our way out of the neighborhood where the ride begins, we chatted along, but I could see Cara was struggling. She encouraged me to ride on ahead, but I told her we were doing this together and "no man would be left behind." I pedaled along in front of her, and after a few minutes turned around to realize she was nowhere within visual range. I stopped mid way up the climb, thinking she would be approaching any moment, but she didn't arrive. I started asking those passing by if they'd noticed anyone stopped on the side of the road. Each person said they hadn't, so I continued to wait. A few minutes later, a car pulled over and asked if I needed assistance. I replied that I was actually doing great, but was just waiting for a friend who seemed to have fallen back. They said they noticed a woman on the side of the road just back a bit, so I turned around and headed back, thinking that she'd been cursed with a flat.
A small group of ladies crossing Hwy 119 at Niwot Road, Niwot, Colorado
As I spotted her not too far from my previous point, I waved and asked if everything was okay. Apparently, as she was shifting coming up the hill, she heard her ankle crack. While I'm no expert, that just didn't sound good to me. She didn't seem to be able to put pressure on her foot, so we waited for a ride to come and get her. Sadly, we were only a couple of miles into the ride at this point, so as I waved goodbye and took off to finish on my own, I realized that I was at it alone once again.

I reassured myself that it would be fine. I've trained for this (albeit on a completely different bike) alone so I'm used to amusing myself, and last year I met up with some really great women who I tagged along with, so, I assumed this year would be the same... I was wrong. It was quite disheartening to see an event that I remember fondly from last year become a ride that was not something I would recommend to others. While there was the occasional polite and/or cheery rider, many participants seemed out of sorts and completely non-communicative. Few were announcing that they were passing, I watched cyclists on an open-to-car-traffic road riding more than 3 abreast, and many seemed to be just generally cantankerous. Needless to say, it made for a less than thrilling ride.
Headed toward the mountains!
While I'm still waiting on reports of my friends' injury, and repairs to the Hillborne are underway, I'm trying to figure out what went awry with today's ride. I know I was excited to get underway this morning, and I tried to chat with people as I passed, but something just felt off with a lot of riders. Maybe next time I need to try a longer distance, or perhaps not focus on having fun? I thought it was sort of the point of this fundraiser-ride, however, so I'm left feeling a bit empty and confused. Though it wasn't the best ride ever for me, I do hope that others enjoyed and, most importantly, that lots of money was raised for Greenhouse Scholars.

6 comments:

  1. Congratulations on doing this ride, even though it did not go as expected. I can never seem to get my $#!+ together for group rides and missed the D2R2 this year despite my best efforts to go. Maybe some day I'll finally make it to one.

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  2. Sorry your ride was a bummer, and I hope your friend is okay.

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  3. Thanks, Velouria. I'm sure your schedule is so insane, so trying to get in group rides can be a challenge. I think I actually enjoy riding alone and in smaller groups, though it can be a nice change up to have a new challenge. :o)

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  4. Iris, I think I was just a little bummed because I expected it to be better than last year, so perhaps my expectations were set too high? Not quite sure. Thanks for the well wishes for my friend... I'm hoping she's up and functioning very soon, too!

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  5. I think it's even more of an accomplishment that you finished after the ride had such a crummy start. Congrats, that's awesome!! I had a very similar experience during the Venus ride. I had thought it would be this super supporting amazing ride, like a 2200 person group hug. But, it was MUCH more competitive and solitary than I wanted or preferred. I'll be writing about it in my blog as well, although I don't write as often as I should...so not sure when I'll actually write about it. ;o)

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  6. Thanks, Joey! I was actually pretty prepped mentally to do the ride by myself, but I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one who thought the ride seemed "off" this year. As you said, I was expecting more of a love fest and it felt more like a "get out of my way" kind of ride (unlike last years' experience for me). I actually pulled off the road at one point to talk to someone I met last year who happened to be passing me and a couple of women riding by actually YELLED at us to get off the road (we weren't on the road). I suppose it's part of what happens as the numbers for any ride increase. Maybe it needs to be reinforced a bit more that it's a ride and not a race? I'm not really sure, but it's making me second guess whether or not I'd want to do this again next year, which is a bit of a bummer.

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