Wow guys, I just had the most fun, epic weekend ever! I took part in the MS150 bike ride which was a 2 day charity ride to raise money for MS. First, let me just say that this was the most well organized event I have ever taken part in. They did such an amazing job that literally the riders did not have to worry about one single thing besides riding their bikes! From the very start the check in and bag drop off was easy. There was coffee and snacks at the start line and throughout the ride there were crossing guards at most major intersections and SAG wagons driving the course in case anyone needed help. The rest stops were AWESOME. They were every 15-20 miles and there were signs at each one telling you how much longer the ride was and how far til the next station. There was a medical tent and bike mechanics at each stop too! They had plenty of port-a-potties (yuck) and the volunteers were awesome. As soon as you rolled in they came up to fill you your water and gaterade. Oh and there was so much food! Everything you could want–pb&j, turkey sandwiches, bananas, oranges, pb crackers, fruit snacks, chips, pretzels, popsicles, cookies, chocolate! They definitely kept you fueled up!
I made sure that I ate something at every stop and over the ride on the first day I think I had 3 gels, 2.5 pb&j, 1 banana, 1 mini smiley cookie, and a dixie cup of trail mix. It felt like I was eating all day! And sure that is a lot of food but I was on my bike for 7 hours and according my my HRM I burned a little over 5,000 calories! So eat I did! I tried really hard to stay hydrated but in the heat it is just so hard. I drank and drank, forcing water and gaterade down but it just wasn’t enough because I only had to go to the bathroom once the whole ride! I felt a little funny at dinner—not super dizzy or anything, but just sort of *off* so I had probably 3 bottles of water after the ride and then felt great 🙂
Ok, so back to the ride….The weather was great and I felt great! I rode with a team of people, some of which I know from my gym and everyone was so, so nice and encouraging. I was one of the youngest and I also think I was the only person on the team who was riding this for the first time—some people have been doing it for 10 years! I was nervous at first but spent the first 20 miles just chatting with my friends and it flew by. There were some climbs right off the bat but other than that just some nice rolling hills through the gorgeous countryside. I saw more horses this weekend (and horse-and-buggy!) than I have in my whole life! So the first day is about 80 miles but there is an option to do a Century ride which is 100 miles. At the start people asked me if I was going to do it and I laughed at them…there was zero chance I could ride 100 miles! And then as soon as I said that I just had to do it. If I said there is no way I could do it then I just had to prove that I could. That’s just how I am. So at mile 45, the Century riders split off to do a 20 mile loop and then join back up with the whole group for the rest of the ride.
Only a few people from my team were doing the Century and they were such strong cyclists that they dropped me almost right away. It was fine, I was feeling really good and didn’t mind zoning out and enjoying the scenery by myself for a while. Then some guy comes up and starts talking to me and he was just so annoying. I’m sorry, but he was. This guy would not stop talking to me. He was a stronger cyclist than I am so I could tell I was holding him back and kept telling him to go ahead. But he was like “no, it’s ok, I’ll stay with you. I like riding easy for a little bit.” That pissed me off because this was not easy for me! So I just sort of tuned him out and said “mmmhmm, yeah….” when he kept babbling on and on and just didn’t even listen. Ok, and also everyone forgot to tell me that the Century option is for crazy-ass super cyclists who belong in the Tour de France because good lord was it HARD. There were some climbs that were just outrageous….steeper than anything I had ever seen in my life. There was this one where we made a sharp right turn and then BOOM a wall in front of my face. Boy did those hurt! And that annoying guy just kept talking to me! Like, umm, hello I am dying here, clearly I do not want to talk to you! I was trying to keep my heart rate in check and he was not helping. Everyone I saw on that part of the ride was in amaaazing shape, with the best bikes, and just so professional looking. I felt so amateur. Also, interestingly, I think I only saw 3 other girls that whole loop! I think cycling is definitely a guys sport. Ok, so anyway I was dragging. I was pissed that I decided to do the Century, I was hot, I was tired, I had already been on the bike 3 hours longer than I ever had in my life, and then all of a sudden the longest steepest climb of the day. It was mile 65 and I was toast. I made it up about halfway and just couldn’t do it. I saw a Lance Armstrong-esque looking guy walking his bike up the hill and that was the “go-ahead” for me to do it to. My annoying bike buddy was like “what, you can’t walk! This is 90% mental, 10% physical!” and I was like “No! This is 100% physical. Maybe if this was at mile 5 I could do it, but I have been riding for 65 miles and still have 35 to go. I know my limits and this is just not within them” So I walked. My calves were screaming and I could barely even walk up the hill. I think Alberto Contador biked up next to me and I was walking faster than he was biking 😉
We finally joined back up with the big group and I have never been so happy. I was able to lose that annoying guy and get myself back together. I got a pep talk from a nice older man who suffered through the Century too. Nobody could believe that it was my very first MS150, my very first ride over 35 miles, and I went for the Century. I kept pulling away and finally made it to the finish where my team was all there cheering for me! It was the greatest feeling. Turns out only a handful of people even did the Century today so that made me feel legit. One guy grabbed my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said “Sarah, you are tough.” That made me feel really good. I am tough.
My lower back was killing and I got a nice massage in the team tent, went to the nice dinner they had in the dining hall, then had 1 beer at the outdoor concert with my friends and was asleep by 8:30.
Up at 6:15 and ready for day 2! Day 2 was SO much easier than day 1….only 60 miles and 4 hours today, not as many or steep climbs, and a nice long downhill at the end. It was WINDY though. Luckily there were some big strong guys on my team to draft off of 🙂
We made it to the finish, had a great picnic, and now I’m home! I seriously can’t believe I did that, I am so proud! I feel great too! My butt hurts. A lot. Getting on that seat this morning was seriously agony but it got better about 10 miles in. My quads are sore but that’s about it!
This was so long but I wanted to write it all down so that I remember everything! What an amazing weekend 🙂