Saturday, June 9, 2012
7:00am – I awake for my first official ride! I’m excited, nervous, excited, sleepy, and excited. I know that it’s not a huge deal since it’s not an actual “race” per se…but it’s still my first official/with-other-riders ride!
7:45am – Boone and I put our bikes on my car and head to Worlds Fair Park for registration. I’ve just returned from a week long trip to Ohio and Canada with the youth choir, so I’m a little nervous about having to ride over 28 miles.
8:15am – We arrive at Worlds Fair Park, grab our bikes, and head down to registration. There’s not a ton of people there but we register, get our numbers (and our t-shirts!!!), and have a little breakfast before getting ready to ride.
9:00am – The ride begins! And we’re off to a great start. At least, I feel like it’s a great start. I don’t really know how these things are supposed to go. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a gun shot to begin the ride…we just counted down from five to one.
At this point, the timing of everything all ran together.
We rode through downtown Knoxville with police escorts/help the whole way out of town. I made sure to say “thank you” to each and every one of them as I rode past them. We all started in a huge group. Eventually, as we started to head out of town, the group thinned out and we could ride single-file.
I remember stopping at the first rest stop after a pretty significant hill. The main pack had spread out quite a bit and the lady at the rest stop told us that we had completed 11 miles. At first I though, “holy cow!” and then I remembered that I had over twenty more miles to go. So I thought “dang…” After we hydrated, we continued on the ride. At this point I thought we had missed a turn and were on the 40-mile route so I was pretty discouraged. The only way to figure out which way you were supposed to go (besides having a cue sheet, which I did not grab…silly me) was to follow the paint on the road. Our paint was pink and the century (100 mile ride) was white. The two are very close. I was really scared that we were accidentally on a ride that I was not prepared for…100 miles?!
Thankfully, we rounded a turn and saw a huge “28 —>” in the middle of the road. I heaved a huge sigh of relief and Boone and I began toward the turn-around. It was a gorgeous ride. It actually didn’t feel like 28 miles…
We stopped at the same rest stop on the way back. It was at a church and there were two entrances to the rest stop. As I pull into the rest stop there was a guy standing at the entrance who was yelling at me to turn around and go back and enter through the other entrance. But honestly…why did it matter? He proceeded to yell at three or four other people who did the same thing I did. I don’t get it. Still don’t. Whatever.
We got back on the road and headed back into town. That’s when it hit me that I was riding longer than 28 miles. My odometer hit 29…and then 30…
The climb back into town was hard to say the least. I was exhausted. But I eventually recognized that we were REALLY close to the beginning so I got my speed and endurance back. We could see the finish line! Boone rode up next to me as we crossed the finish line. We high-fived across the finish line! I wish they had posted to picture of us high-fiving. After we crossed the finish line, a little girl came up with a soaking wet, ice-cold towel. And let me just say…it was the most refreshing thing I’ve ever felt in my life.
There was a catered lunch that Boone dug into. I, on the other hand, was way to hot and uncomfortable to eat hot chicken. So I just grabbed four or five pieces of watermelon and had some Powerade.
It was a really awesome experience. And thank you to all of those who helped me raise enough money to ride! I didn’t curse you until my odometer clicked over to 31 miles. :)
Until next time, fellow BFs!