Monday, September 08, 2008

Bike the Bay, Walk the Bridge

Bike the Bay, Walk the Bridge... haha. Ok, so the ride was really called "Bike the Bay," but I figured that the title I came up with more accurately represents how I approached the ride.

Unfortunately I didn't start the day out real well. I woke up feeling awful. I had horrible cramps and it was like my body was in overdrive. I was cold/clammy/sweaty/anxious and short of breath. It was the oddest thing. I got winded just on the short ride from the car to the beginning of the race and then I got anxious because I was so out of breath.... At that point I think I was battling a mental and physical battle.

I calmed down a little bit while we stood around waiting for the beginning of the ride. It was fun to see all the different groups and the cool jerseys. We marveled at those who were riding the "fixies" and the beach cruisers. We needed every single one of our 21 gears. haha! Finally the ride got started and we were off. We barely got going and we hit the beginning of the bridge. No time to settle in and relax. I didn't even make it up the entrance ramp. It was a sharp turning ramp. It was even hard to walk it. Then I was huffing and puffing and freaking out in my head. "What the heck? I can't even make it up the ramp?" I caught my breath and rode some more and stopped again. Mentally, I think it's easier to stop the second time. It was like I was defeated. I was so upset and so worried. I kept walking, but I was going over every possible scenario. Could I quit? How would I let Candace and Jane know? Would I be able to live with myself if I quit? Physically, could I possibly go on? I honestly thought I was going to puke and cry and pass out all at the same time... but I kept walking.... and then finally I got back on my bike and started riding and it was EASY!!! I mean seriously. Granted I got back on when the slope wasn't so bad, but I was still shocked at how easy it was to pedal... I finished up the slope of the bridge and then calmed down as I rode down the other side.

By the time we made it to the first pit-stop (about 3 miles into the race), I knew I could continue on but I still wasn't feeling real good. I took some ibuprofen at the pit stop and Jane gave me a shot blok. I drank some water and had the pit crew adjust my seat a little bit and we were off... A few miles later I finally started to shake it off. Candace gave me another shot blok at the next pit stop and I was finally able to stomach the idea of food. I ate a couple orange slices, a piece of banana and more water....and from that point on I absolutely loved the race. I made it up every single hill and I had fun.

At the first pit stop Candace was frustrated with herself too and said she was going to do the ride next year and she was determined to make it up the whole bridge. I said "have fun, I'm never doing it again. I'll be lucky if I finish this one." (you should know, I'm generally miss I can do anything!!! so this was totally out of character.) By about 15 miles I knew I would do the ride again....

But during the last couple of miles Jane looked up and saw the bridge and she said "do you see that?" and I said "Yea, it's that ugly bridge" and we burst into a fit of giggles. I may have been enjoying the ride, but I hadn't befriended the bridge yet. Give me a few days and I might be able to look at it and remember that I did indeed conquer it....even if I walked part of it. Just wait until next year.

One of the fun things about the ride was how many comments we got about our outfits!! You see it's all about the shopping and color coordination. Our outfits and bike accessories match our bikes. Jane has a pink bike...and pink accessories...Candace is purple and I am blue. While we knew this and we do indeed plan our outfits and accessories, we had no idea that it would be so obvious to everyone else. It was hilarious. We got comments all day long.

We spent a lot of time checking out everyone's jerseys. We saw quite a few that we've looked at and considered buying and then we saw a lot of unique ones. I think one of our favorites was the girls wearing the shirts that said "I may be slow, but I'm in front of you."

The volunteer riders were great! We started out at the front of our group and our rider was pretty funny. He stopped and helped so many people with blown tires that he ended up passing us a couple of times. The best was when he passed us on the bridge and reminded us there was no stopping and Candace said that she knew but thought breathing was kind of important (or something like that.) He chuckled and agreed. Many volunteers and fellow riders passed by while I was walking and there were so many kind words and offers of help. It was nice! Nobody seemed to judge me for walking, they just wanted to make sure I was ok.

And here's my little shout out for Shot Bloks!! They are made by Cliff bars and they look sort of like little jello blocks. I think they help replace electolytes or something like that. I've experimented with what to eat before, during and after a ride and these really are my favorite. At first I didn't really like the idea of them. They seemed like empty calories, but for me they work! I can't deny that I feel so much better when I eat a couple of them on the long rides and I truly think they saved me yesterday. So of course, I bought a few more packages after the ride so I wouldn't have to get handouts from my friends. (I still don't think I'd eat them, just to eat them...still not so sure about the whole empty calorie thing...)