Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Venus de Miles Curse and Ride Results

"What curse of Venus de Miles?" you may (or may not) be asking yourself.  Every year, at the eleventh hour, something inevitably goes wrong with the bicycle I intend to ride (that bike generally being my trusty steed, the Hillborne), and I end up riding a bike that is both fairly new to me, and that I am not entirely comfortable riding as of the day of the ride. This year, was no different, and while I was completely prepared and ready to ride the Hillborne, I would have had to ride without a seatpost or saddle, and let's face it, that just wasn't going to happen. Instead, I ended up taking the Homer (a bit lighter, certainly, but it currently has the randonneur handlebars on it, and as many are aware, any drop bar and I just don't get along). I'll spare you all the details of how the disaster all went down, but suffice it to say that I was definitely worried about embarking on a long ride on a bicycle I am not yet comfortable riding - and with drop bars nonetheless.
Just before the ride started at around 7:15am
*Photo credit to Sam
Saturday night, I got about 2 hours of sleep. I was nervous (goodness only knows why - though I'm sure a great deal of it had to do with riding a bike I haven't ridden much at all). On Sunday morning, I couldn't eat anything more than a couple bites of oatmeal before I left, but still arrived feeling ready to take on the ride. I honestly wasn't sure that I would make it to the end, but I was going to give it all I could until I couldn't go anymore. Sam had rode with me to the start of the ride (it's an all women's ride, so he wasn't allowed to play), and planned on meeting up at a convenient spot at some point later in the ride with another friend (which we did).  I waited in line for the waves to actually get going, listened to the pre-ride music blasting through the speakers surrounding us, and prayed that I would at least make it to the first stopping point.
Waiting with the ladies to get going with Venus de Miles 2012
The first leg of the ride was pretty much all up hill, with a short exception of about 2 miles, and I arrived at the first rest stop to replenish water in decent time (for me). My hands weren't hurting and I still had lots of energy, so I didn't take long to get back on the road again.
First rest stop... still feeling great!
*Photo credit to Sam
As a quick side note, I would like to say thank you to all who chimed in regarding the chamois pad. I was a bit nervous to ride wearing this without having a lot of time with it prior to this event, but it worked out extremely well, and while my posterior is still sore, I was able to make it through without the normal pain that starts about 20-30 miles into a ride - so, officially, thank you to all.
Such creative "drag" outfits!
This guy was fabulous! He was missing his wig here (I caught him off guard at a re-fill station)
Rather than going through every detail of the ride, I will say that there were a few things I was very grateful to see. The first, was ice at every rest stop. It was a very warm day, and having ice to cool down the water was amazingly wonderful! The second was the men in drag. These guys are so awesome. With all the heat, they still came out and hammed it up, wearing dresses, make up, wigs, and so on. The gentleman pointed out in the picture above with a purple arrow was close to me most of the ride and he always took the time to say hello, check on me each time he passed, or offer words of encouragement as I struggled up a tough hill. The last thing that really impressed me this year was (thankfully) that everyone seemed to be incredibly polite, friendly and excited to ride. I was so grateful to be surrounded by women who were enjoying themselves and encouraging each other.


A good chunk of this ride is up hill (as I've pointed out). I would say 60-70% if I were going to take a rough guess, and as most know from reading here, I am not a hill climber by any stretch. While not all of the ride was pretty to see, there were some beautiful pieces in the higher climbs. Honestly, I didn't take enough photos because when I was going up I didn't want to stop for fear I wouldn't get re-started, and when descending I was so thrilled to be going faster than 5 mph, I didn't want to pull off either.  I am happy to report that I was able to climb every hill without getting off the bike... I was travelling very slowly on some of them, but I managed to make it through. My goal for this ride was to finish in under 8 hours (not a very lofty goal for most, I am aware), and I finished it in just over 4 hours of ride time. It wasn't lightening fast, but I didn't expect that I would be... however, I will say that I finished the 51 miles (even with all the climbing) faster than I normally ride the 33 mile leg of this ride that lacks the number of hills. In total, I rode just over 58 miles (including the ride to and from the race), and managed to still be able to walk at the end (sort of).


With the limited amount of preparation time I had before the ride, I think all went pretty well. There are so many people who need to be thanked and I couldn't possibly mention them all here. It was so nice to have little messages of encouragement throughout the day from my kickboxing pals cheering me on.  It definitely made me smile and kept me moving forward. Having Sam (and Will) meet up with me in a couple of spots during the ride was a welcomed sight, and as Melanie recently pointed out to me, Sam really is very much the one to encourage me, just like the commercial above. To the ladies of Inspire Salon, my God, it was nice to have smiling faces, the hand massage, and a cold towel at the end of the ride, and to everyone who donated to the fundraising efforts, I am so very, very thankful! Now, it's time to rest (and hopefully sleep) - at least for a few hours.

13 comments:

  1. Well done! You look awesomely strong and fierce.

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  2. Yay, you! Congratulations on finishing.

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  3. I would say, it was pretty damn awesome overall. The rider, the bike, the weather, the other riders. Besides the unwavering feeling of confusion at the "headquarters", but that's always the same. You really rode awesome, I mean seriously, you not only beat your 33 mile time, while riding a 51, but you destroyed it, and were still able to function! One of these years we will have it down, and the bike won't change, or maybe you will be riding full carbon, with the elusive Bob's big boy kit (It has to be done).

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    1. Thanks, dear... and thank you for making the last minute changes. As for the confusion at ground zero, it seems to always have that sort of feeling. Once we got on the road, things seemed to mellow out.

      Ahh, the Bob's Big Boy kit... it will happen some day. :O)

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  4. Congratulations! Glad you enjoyed it. Big events remind me how great the local cycling communities are. Sometimes I forget, but its days like that that make me truly glad to be a cyclist.

    Remember, being willing to do these things and then to share them with the world like we do DOES inspire people to get out of their own comfort zones and do more than they think they could. Kudos!

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    1. Thank you, Chris. Like you, I am grateful that there are so many local events taking place - it makes it even more enjoyable not to travel super long distances to do rides. :O) We are so fortunate to live in Colorado!

      I hope your training is continuing to go well. Just a couple of weeks to go! BTW, Sam is all registered for the Alpine Odyssey... and he definitely got in some training yesterday trying to chase me down throughout the ride.

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  5. WHOO HOO!! Congratulations and well done! 51 miles in four hours is a fantastic time, and with hills^H^H^H^H^H mountains to boot. I'm so glad that you had a good time and the vibe was a positive one.

    You look pretty damn awesome in those photos, too!

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    1. Thanks, Melanie! I'm glad it went well too (and as for the photos - ugh.. I'm dreading seeing the actual riding shots, but thanks). :O)

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  6. Congrats!!! Way to breeze past your goal time! And Melanie's right. You look great in the photos. That shirt is flattering on you, and you have gotten in such good shape. Thanks for writing about the ride.

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    1. Is that code for, "You don't actually look like that." ? ;O) I know, way to snag an insult out of the jaws of a compliment. It is definitely a gift of mine to do so.

      Thanks for all that you do!! I'm getting there - slowly but surely.

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  7. Well done! I don't know which I envy more: the fab scenery of that ride or your cheering section. Too great!!

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    1. Thanks, Marsha. :O)

      It wasn't all that gorgeous, unfortunately, but there were some very lovely portions. I should've taken more photos - but, there's always the next time.

      Thanks, again.

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