SOS Eagle River Ride

In spite of the recent IT band issues I made it to my long-anticipated charity ride! 

It didn’t exactly go as planned. First, the IT band issues and resulting training setback made the 68 mile route that I’d planned to do a bit out of reach. I settled for the 42 mile option – a bit disappointing but less risky for re-injuring my IT band or bonking and dying of fatigue on the side of the road.

  
I planned to meet up with the women’s cycling club that I joined a couple weeks ago at 6:30 am for group photos and then start with them at 7am to ride the first 10 miles together before they split off to the longer (68 and 110 mile) routes. Last night I set out oatmeal ingredients for a quick, hearty breakfast and prepped the coffee percolator so I could have a pre-ride sip. I gathered my clothes, gels and chews, water bottle, sunscreen, bike, and other biking gear, set my alarm for 5am to avoid having to rush, and crawled into bed feeling prepared and excited for the ride.

  
I woke up this morning to worryingly bright sunlight and no alarm. I bolted upright and grabbed my phone. 6:37am. Shitshitshitshit! It’s a 20 minute drive to the start and I still needed to get dressed and get my bike tacked onto my care.

I pulled my bike gear on in a panic, slathered on some sunscreen, grabbed my bike and bag of fuel/gear and raced to my car. It was going to have to be dehydration and energy gel for breakfast instead of coffee and oatmeal.

 

yum, fruity :-/

 
In spite of my sacrificed breakfast, I still missed my riding group by 15 minutes. I’d really been looking back forward to the fun group pics and good company that first 10 miles :-/ I walked to registration a bit downhearted and got my number and approximately a billion different sunscreen samples. The marvelous variety of sunscreen (spray! Chapstick! Goop!) lifted my mood a bit at least.

  
I ended up heading out around 7:30 onto a route still striped with chilly shadows and lightly scattered with riders. Fortunately, I ended up with a small cluster of riders the first 10 miles who were going around my pace. They split off on the long route and I spent the rest of the ride passing happy couples on tandems, older men with investable funky riding form, kids on mountain bikes, and middle-aged women.

  
 The aid station volunteers were amazing – they were even making sandwiches to order! The turn-around aid was at a bike shop and I got some compliments on my ‘retro’ bike and my snazzy handlebar selection. It is a rather impressive old machine πŸ˜‰  

  
 The ride back was pretty lonely and I struggled a bit with the headwind, gradual but steady climb, and somewhat monotonous scenery. Oh, and I missed the turn for the finish and consequently had to tack on an extra mile and a giant ass hill – just what I needed 42 miles in on tired legs πŸ˜› 

 

Pretty but a tad monotonous after 30 miles…

 
But then there were donuts! And Gatorade! And goldfish crackers πŸ™‚ mmm, salty! Also a chairlift, inescapable features here in the land of ski resorts.

  
I got lost again on the ride back to my car, giving me 46.7 total miles (my 2nd most in a day!) and just under 107 for the week. Quite a jump from my last few 20-60 mile weeks but the IT band felt good!

  
I’m still bummed I missed out on the socializing at the start, but really satisfied with the ride as a whole. I couldn’t even imagine surviving a 45+ mile ride earlier this year, much less enjoying one! Here’s to my $:$($:@*## alarm working next year and my legs letting me do the longer route next time with my awesome cycling gals!

  

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