My bike has a name. Her name is Tiffany, after the renowned Miss Tiffany Aching of Discworld fame. (Have I mentioned that I am a huge Terry Pratchett fan?). I call her Tiffie, for short.
As you may recall, at the behest of the fabulous Kim, our spinning class guru, Tiffie and I decided to do the Tour de Cure bike ride to benefit the American Diabetes Association. I signed up for 33 miles, and fundraised $1,100.00 for the cause.
The ride took place yesterday and to tell you the truth, until I got on that bike, I wasn't sure if I could do it. I had never cycled that far.
But damn if I was going to quit.
Besides, I had great teammates (Gabe and Kat), and an enthusiastic pit crew (ballistabob and my Dark Child). How could I not finish?
The ride started under good auspices. The sky was overcast, the weather never went over 71ºF, and a nice breeze stayed with us during the entire ride. Perfect biking weather. Plus Gabe, Kat and I decided that no man (or woman) would be left behind.
So what do I do? Not long after our start, I make a mistake, follow a bunch of people who have made a wrong turn and get lost.
Pretty soon I am asking myself "Where am I? Where is my team? Who are you people? And where are my pants?"
Okay, not the last question, but you get the drift.
Maybe I should not had made that left turn in Albuquerque.
Luckily, once we got out of that neighborhood, I hear a friendly voice behind me "Are you enjoying yourself?"
Thank God! It was Gabe, with Kat following him not far behind.
Yay! Someone with a clue! And on my side!
But my woes had not ended. A bit later we ended riding on a small winding, narrow road with very sharp curves. It was all downhill, and much to my horror ended in a narrow tunnel. No way (or point) on stopping now.
I got swallowed by the tunnel. Fast.
Note to self: wearing dark sunglasses while barreling down into a dark tunnel is never a good idea. (Must purchase amber glasses pronto!)
Luckily, the tunnel was not very long. I could see the light at the end of it (and it was no train!). However, I did get freaked out, got totally disoriented and crash landed at the side of the road as soon as I rode out.
(Thank God, it was grass and not concrete.)
That was crash landing No. 1.
Crash landing No. 2 came at another narrow path, this time uphill.
I hate narrow paths, especially when there are other cyclists and assorted people sharing them. Again, I crashed on the grass so no harm was done.
"Are you okay," says a concerned woman running by my side. "I am an EMT."
"I'm okay," I say. "The only thing bruised at this point is my ego."
She smiles and waves me off.
Kat and Gabe are at the top of the hill waiting for me.
I'm telling you. These guys rock.
I will not bother to say much about crash No. 3 because that one was really silly and did not slow us down. It involved unclipping my right foot while attempting to dismount on the left. Much fun was had by all since this is a common mistake. Besides, we were at the rest stop so no harm was done in terms of time.
The road was not as flat as I had expected. There were some really challenging hills out there. I had to repeat to myself (aloud) "C'mon people, we can do it!" while pedaling as hard as I could. Since the "people" I was talking to was myself, that was totally weird. But since I've heard that other bikers have the same conversations with themselves, I don't feel too bad.
"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."
Finally, Gabe (who owns a bike GPS) says "There are only three miles left, do you need to stop for water or anything?"
"No," I say. "I just want to finish this thing. I'm sick of pedaling. Let's keep moving!"
Kat agrees, wholly and wholeheartedly.
So with all our might, we keep on going.
A small child, wearing a bike helmet looks at us while we whoosh by him "Oh, no!" he says. "More bikers! How many of them are out there?"
Ahhhh, poor child. You chose Tour de Cure day to go out on the trail with your parents.
But I digress...
We keep pedaling and, none too soon, the familiar buildings of the Reston Town Center appear in front of us. A crowd of people waving orange flags and pom-poms greet us with a cheerful "Keep on going!" "You did it!" "Yay!"
Legs burning, we finally reach the finish line and dismount, high fiving each other and almost jumping up and down. Or we'd have jumped up and down if our legs had not had other ideas, such as "How about no?"
I see my Dark Child's smiling face saying "You did it Mom!" followed by my husband who hugs me and tells me how proud he is of me.
We are extatic.
We need food.
I can't stop beaming.
According to Gabe's GPS, we completed 34.2 miles in 2 hours and 41 minutes, averaging a little over 12 MPH.
That is very cool.
I met great people. I had fun. It felt good.
I was terrified most of the time.
My hips are not loving me today.
I am so doing this next year.