On Saturday May 9th, I went for a 3 hour bicycle ride. My half-marathon training schedule said I was supposed to run 11 miles, this sounded like it would work instead. This was my second time on a road bike, ever, the first time was just a few days prior and I rode 9 miles. Good thing I take half-marathon training more seriously.
I borrowed a friends bike, since she was 9 months pregnant and wouldn’t be riding it. They made sure the normal pedals were on, since I would be wearing running shoes.
The event registration opened at 8:30, it was a brisk 45 degrees and the sun was shining. While the riders huddled in the rat maze registration line, I took in what I was about to do. 51 miles on a bike, something I swore I would never do because I didn’t like to bike. Little did I know riding a mountain bike and riding a road bike were two COMPLETELY different things!!
After registration, we got a group photo, and then headed out. There were 5 of us riding in our team, all saying we were going to do the long route, compared to the 15 or 25 mile routes, but that we would see once we reached the “no going back” point in the course. Only one person was really sure, that was my friend’s husband (we’ll call him Tom) all decked out in his bike gear. Once we started pedaling, we warmed up, that cool breeze kept the temperatures of the hot sun off the skin. I wore a breathable long sleeve running shirt with thumbholes, and running shorts, because I’m a runner. I remembered to wear sunscreen on my bare legs and face.
I broke away from the group at about mile 8, there were hills involved and I couldn’t handle going slower up them. Tom kept up with me, and we were a duo passing and being passed.
The first pit-stop was at mile 12, at beautiful Fort Snelling.
This was the decision maker, we had to either get going and make it the “no going back point” in one hour otherwise they weren’t going to let us take that route. Tom filled his water bottle, I ate a snack, we briefly saw the other three and decided to get going without them. We were on a mission to get those 51 miles DONE!
There were a lot more hills than I had anticipated, but since going down was a lot more fun than going up it seemed to even out. The views were spectacular, and without that scenery I probably would still hate riding a bike. We stopped at each designated pit stop along the route to eat, grab more water, and sometimes use the port-o-potties. We sat at only one, for a brief 2 or so minutes.
We went through neighborhoods I had never visited before, and some neighborhoods I grew up as a kid. We rode right by the public swimming pool I visited in the summers, rode along the path we went along as a family some days in the summer, and rode passed the hospital my grandma spent most of her nursing career. We had the paths to ourselves most of a the way, and when we shared the path it was with a lot of people enjoying their Saturday afternoon along the lake shores.
It was the longest physical effort of my life, to date, and now I want to own my very own rode bike and do that adventure again next year.
It is for a great cause, after all: Multiple Sclerosis
Have you ever taken on a challenge you never thought you’d do?
Did you end up completely changing your feelings about it, and ended up loving it?