Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's That Time Again: Venus de Miles 2012

As long time readers already know, this is the time of year I generally start blabbing about doing the Venus de Miles ride. While I should be deep in to training at this point (considering it is exactly one month away), I am debating what to do and whether or not to participate at all this year. This would be year number three for me, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the first year of the ride, last year was not horribly pleasant and I pretty much proclaimed that I would not do it again, despite my desire to support Greenhouse Scholars. While you are free to read the posts for each year, I can summarize the first year by stating that it was like meeting a bunch of new friends and just enjoying a ride, contrasted with last year which was mostly like being berated by total strangers for no apparent reason (I wish I was exaggerating).
*Image from Venus de Miles
Enter the current year. I said I wasn't going to do the ride, and I've pretty well stuck to my guns thus far, but as I feel it getting closer, I find myself saying things like, "Well, it could be fun like the first year," or "Maybe the group will be less irritable this time?" Perhaps the biggest reason I'm considering doing the ride again is that I have been attempting to do some longer rides over the past couple of weeks, and it gives me a goal to shoot for. While the ride isn't a race necessarily, and there aren't "winners," I seem to do better with forcing myself to ride when I know there is a goal that is quickly approaching.

There are reasons not to participate, such as the glaring sun and heat that will undoubtedly be a part of that day (I swear, we get the hottest day of summer during the VdM ride), and I have to actually prep myself pretty quickly to do the ride (I have choices though as there is a 33, 51, 67, or 100 mile ride - heads up y'all - I will not be doing the 100 mile, regardless).

And so, my friends (and those who just read here, but certainly have no desire to be my friend), I am once again looking for advice. What would you do? Do you think it makes sense to just do the ride and see how it goes? After all, I did have fun at one point doing the ride... or, would you sit it out and look for something else to challenge you on the bike, and avoid the chaos and possibility of cranky folks on two wheels? Thoughts, ideas, opinions are all certainly welcomed.

10 comments:

  1. Can you get friends to ride with you so you guarantee friendly companionship? That would eliminate the grouch factor and you could look at it as a decision about whether you want to ride that distance on a hot day.

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    1. Actually, that's what I had tried to do last year, and my partner was injured right after the start of the ride. Bummer. It is possible I might be able to round up a person or two to come along, but I'm guessing the likelihood at this point is slim. Most of the people I know who bike will do the long ride, and I'm just not ready to attempt that (especially because it heads directly into the mountains). It's a good thought though certainly, so I will keep your suggestion in mind, Barb. :O)

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  2. I can see why you're torn. When I rode the Tour de Cure, I rode by myself because nobody on our team wanted to ride the half century. I was a little lonesome but had my ipod to keep me company (I wore only one earbud so I could hear passing cyclists and car traffic). On the other hand, it's a worthy cause and I'm a fan of supported charity rides. If you're able to scare up someone to ride with you, you should definitely ride the 33-miler.

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    1. I hear ya... My brain tells me to do the 51 mile ride, but because I haven't been doing many long rides, it probably isn't the wisest decision. Unfortunately, we're not permitted to have any kind of headphones on this ride, so I can't even tune out all the happenings. {sigh}

      Wanna come to Colorado for a ride? :O) I'm still trying to think about who I can sucker into this... It's a shame it's an all women's ride because I'd have Sam do it with me. Last year, I had him volunteer so he could be on the course, but the ended up using him as a marshall (well, they didn't even do that - but that's another long story), and so I went at it alone.

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  3. Well... I don't have any plans that weekend and airfare appears to be pretty cheap. I'd need to borrow a bike and the cojones to ride up a mountain. :)

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    1. What? You don't want to come to the mile high city and then climb a mountain on a century ride? Sheesh. What fun are you? I kid, I kid. I don't really want to climb a mountain either, but fortunately the 33 mile ride has no mountain climbing involved (hills, yes, mountains, no). The 51 (from what I've heard) is a bit tougher as far as climbing, but still possibly doable. Bikes, well, they are certainly everywhere in this house... especially if you're a hobbit (which I know you're not).

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    2. Heck, we would even rent a bike for you, feed you, and make sure the tires aren't flat. : )

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    3. Aww, look at you, trying to help me find someone. :O) It is rather sad that I can't seem to come up with one person, isn't it?

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  4. Like you, I find pleasant companionship trumps team spirit. But I did some thinking about what REALLY annoyed me about some of the group rides. I discovered it was the first 5-10 miles of the ride. Whatever group I found myself with, they rode this portion of the ride like idiots. People took risks that made absolutely no sense, then blamed the resulting crash on everybody and everything but themselves. These were people I liked and usually enjoyed riding with. My solution was to continue doing the rides, but to wait out the initial dash off the line. After everyone had furiously pedalled away, I followed with a friend who also disliked the pack start. We rode slower than the group for the first 5 miles, then resumed our regular pace. We caught up with the back of the pack after a sag stop or two. So what I'm saying is the problem CAN be the way a group handles a mass start. I still do the rides, just not the mass starts.

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    1. Interesting, Marsha. I know I definitely dislike the "pack start" as well. This particular ride has gotten significantly larger each year, so I don't think that is helping matters. What baffles me about this ride in particular is that it is supposed to be a fun ride... there are no winners or losers, and they make fabulous stops along the way to allow riders to snack or listen to music, but I think it's something in many cyclists that they still have to "win." Last year, about half way through the ride, I had stopped because I needed water and just wanted shade for a minute because it was so hot. I was standing in the dirt, under a tree, completely off of the road and a rider went by and started screaming that I needed to get out of the way. All I could think was, "Huh? I'm not even on the road." I know it's a busy highway being shared on the ride, so I know better than to stand out in the shoulder part of the road. There were several incidents like that one which caused me to say that I wouldn't do this ride again, but perhaps if I just held off and started out slow (not that I'm fast anyway), that could be a solution to avoiding all of those who seem to be in a big hurry. Thanks for the suggestion and your experience... it definitely helps.

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