Thursday, May 15, 2014

Goldilocks Century Ride

 It's over! I did it! I accomplished a goal I have had for awhile and I never have to do it again if I don't want to. Because as of right now I don't want to. But, you never know what the future holds. Here's my recap of the ride (because Goldilocks says over and over that it's a ride and not a race, but they still give prizes out to the fastest riders (not winners! We're all winners!) Haha) Oh, and consider this your warning. I know I've mentioned it before, but I lack brevity. It's a huge fault. But I am a very detail-oriented person and this is my blog. So this sucker is looong. Just like my ride on Saturday ;)

Saturday morning I got up at 5:15 AM to get ready to go. I  had a little bit of a nervous stomach. I had packed up all my gear the night before, so I got dressed, ate (or forced food into my mouth), and Andy drove me to SoDa Row in Daybreak where the race started. I picked up my packet and got all my gear ready. The race started at 7 and since I arrived around 6:30, I felt a little rushed. I am so bummed that I didn't take any photos of the starting line or anything. I figured I would have plenty of time to do that after the race. Also, I had joined a team because there were perks and a discount. I only knew one girl on the team (Lisa, a highschool and cheerleading friend) so I thought we would at least get a photo together, but we didn't. So without many photos, my words will have to do.

I finished getting everything situated about 2 minutes before the start and got into the starting chute just in time. The bell rang and we were off. Since I was doing the 100 miler, there weren't a ton of other ladies, just over 200 or so. The different distances started at different times. We had policemen blocking traffic for the first 20 miles or so which was really nice. I got a flat around mile 15. I was super bummed because I had been going really fast, and it took forever to change. The thing I love about this ride was all of the awesome volunteers and the Papa Bears that rode along to help with any bike problems. It only took a few minutes to flag someone down and he helped me change my flat. After that I only had a few more miles to the first stop. I only stopped for a few minutes to go to the restroom and grab a snack and then I was off again. I should have refilled my water, but I thought I had plenty.

Here's the sweet Papa Bear changing my flat

I got going again and I felt great for the first 10 miles or so. Then the sun came out and I got pretty warm. I realized my water was gone and I still had 10 miles to go. I stopped and took my fleece, gloves, and ear-warmers off so that would help with my water problem. Luckily there were Mama Bears at all the turns holding signs showing which way we needed to go. I stopped and asked some if they had any water I could have. I knew that if I got dehydrated this early on that there would be no way I would be able to finish. They were nice enough to give me an unopened powerade. I downed that 20 oz in about 10 seconds and immediately felt so much better. For some reason this second leg was really difficult for me. Little did I know it was going to get a whole lot harder.

I made it to the second rest stop (about 38 miles in) and had a snack. The wind had really picked up and I realized that I was freezing when I wasn't riding my bike, so I tried to hurry. I went to the bathroom and filled up my water and then put some sunscreen on (except I forgot about my ankles..... they are fried, haha). I realized I had done almost 40 miles in 3 hours. I was right on for my goal of 7 hours for the whole 100 miles.

I took off on the third leg and immediately felt a little sense of dread. My behind was starting to hurt at this point, as was my back. It was so windy and I just really wanted the wind to stop. I got on the highway that leads out to Cedar Fort and a tiny town that I didn't even know existed called Fairview (I think?) where the third rest stop was. this was only a 17 mile leg and I was riding with the wind so I was going pretty fast. Unfortunately, I got another flat on the way out. I had to wait for a Papa Bear to come and help me, so I lost more time there. Kind of frustrating. I finally made it to the 3rd rest stop and had a snack, filled my water, and went potty again (this is a pattern, if you haven't noticed. I think I drank about 25 cups of water during the course of the day.) There were also guys there checking over bikes, so I had my bike checked because the chain had felt wonky the last few miles when I shifted. Apparently I was missing my lowest gear, but the bike guy fixed it right up and I was on my way again. This next leg was the absolute hardest. I only had to 15 miles to make it to the lunch rest stop and I think it took me 2 hours. I was riding into the worst headwind I've ever experienced. I looked it up later and the wind speeds were around 40 MPH at that time of day. Just crazy, exhausting, hard, relentless, mind-numbing wind, blowing non-stop. It almost drove me insane. When I saw that I was almost to the lunch rest stop my spirits lifted a bit and I cruised into the rest stop. I saw my friend Lisa (from cheer) as she was just getting ready to head out. I told her I was ready to give up and she convinced me to stick it out. She told me to take a break in the porta-potty just to get out of the wind. So I did. I wasn't hungry at all. I updated Andy, my mom, and my dad where I was in the race. I had reached 70 miles and still had 30 to go. It was 2 o'clock, which was the time I thought I would be done with the entire race. I finally left the porta-potty and went to see what the lunch offering was. I had been eating at every stop and by this point I wasn't even hungry but I knew I had to eat something to keep up my energy. I ate half a turkey sandwich and had to force it down my throat. After dinking around for a little bit (I just did not want to start riding in that wind again!) and looking at the map (25 miles to the next rest stop) I finally hopped on my bike and took off.

This leg was the longest, but it actually wasn't too bad. Yes, the wind was still there and as bad as ever. But for part of this leg I was riding with the wind. But then I had to turn around and go back into it for 15 or so more miles. I caught up to Lisa around mile 85 and we rode together for awhile. I just felt like I was going so incredibly slow. But, I just kept pedaling. I had made it this far, so I just HAD to finish. When I came to the first of two huge hills before the last rest stop, I just wanted to be done. Only one way to do that, and it was to pedal. So I did. I made it up the first hill and looked at the second one. Ohhhh, I just wanted to die. But, I just kept pedaling. I had to use the restroom so bad at this point, and I was ravenous (so glad I had eaten that half turkey sandwich!) When I made to to the top of the seemingly endless hill, it went down a little ways and then there was the glorious rest stop with those beautiful pink porti-potties! I literally leaped off my bike and into the bathroom where I peed for about 3 minutes straight. After that I went and stuffed my face with bananas and peanut butter, oreos and swedish fish, basically anything I could get my hands on. I could hardly believe I only had 5 miles to go. Eventually I knew I had to finish this thing so I slowly climbed back onto my bike like a wounded animal, and I set off for the last leg of my 100 mile journey.

Even though I only had 5 miles to go (it was really like 7 because it wasn't an even 100), all of the sudden the sky got really dark and the wind picked up like crazy and it got really cold. My hands were numb, my ears were numb, my toes had been numb since mile 40. The finish line was supposed to close at 5 PM and that's what time it was. However, the race coordinator knew that there were some of us out there trying to finish and knew that it would take longer because of the weather. Those last 5 (7) miles were absolutely brutal. When I finally made it to the neighborhood where we had started the race and saw the cute little volunteer ladies with their signs showing me where to go (and the fact that they had waited out in the freezing cold for us stragglers), made me want to jump off my bike and hug them. I had started crying about 6 times during those last 5 miles. The emotions, the physical toll that my body had taken, the inner strength that I had to dig so darn deep to find.... it all just came to a head. I couldn't believe I had done it. I mean, in the grand scheme of things it really isn't that big of a deal. But the fact that I stayed strong and actually finished it when I wanted to quit so many times was a big deal to me.

As I pulled up to the finish line and saw the people cheering and yelling that had waited for me, even after the race was technically "over" was just a little too much. Especially when I saw Andy, standing right past the finish line, just waiting for me, cheering and clapping, I just let loose a sob and hopped off my bike and into his arms. The sweet race coordinator came over to me and congratulated me and gave me my finishers necklace. And then Andy took the one picture of me from the whole darn day, with the men in the background taking down all of the fanfare and race festivities. It took me a whopping 10 1/2 hours to do it, fighting 40 MPH winds for half of it plus two flat tires. But I did it. It was over.

It was so nice to climb into the car and warm up my frozen extremities. I noticed that I burned almost 5200 calories from the day. Andy and I laughed that it had taken me so long because just that morning when he was dropping me off we kind of laughed that the finish line closed at 5 PM. We thought, "Who would even take that long to finish?!" Haha, me apparently. Oh well, at least I wasn't very last! There were several ladies who came in after me. It doesn't even matter though, it wasn't a race anyway. Just a "ride". And what a crazy ride it was.

I took a blazing hot shower when I got home and then I put on my fluffy pajamas and Andy picked up some takeout (my favorite comfort food will always be burgers and fries with frysauce. Always) and then we snuggled on the couch and watched a movie.
It was the perfect end to a very exhausting, rewarding, emotional, challenging, triumphant, hard, wonderful day.


Lisa said...

Sarah, you are amazing and I'm so proud of you for finishing. Sorry I wussed out and got picked up. I'm happy with my decision, but I should have stuck it out with you. Maybe we should do the 60 or 80 miler next time - if there's a next time! You rock and I'm so glad you did the "ride" with me. I loved following and watching out for you.

Amber Kei said...

Wow! You are amazing!! Way to go! I'm so glad you were able to finish the race. You did it!! You encourage me to train hard and push myself. I appreciate your honesty and that you 'do hard things' too. It helps me keep going. LOVE YA!

Laney said...

That is SO amazing Sarah!! You're a tough cookie. Good job on toughing it out.

Sarah said...

Lisa, I'm so glad we did it together! It was amazing.

Thanks Amber and Laney!