Total Pageviews

Saturday, September 1, 2012

America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride!

Hardest thing I've ever done (endurance wise) to date.  My 7th Team in Training event was America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, which was a 100 mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe!  Yes, there were mountains climb.  Yes,  there were altitude changes.  Yes, it was AWESOME!!

Training for this ride was so incredible.  I thought I knew how to ride my bike.  I mean, I've been riding my bike for a really long time.  However, I didn't know how to ride my bike in a group.  I had more than a few eye opening moments during training, and I'm sure I still have more to learn, but I feel good about being able to fit into a bike group and go.

in the SUV limo

In and Out Burger
So on Friday June 1st I got up early and Jason dropped me off at the airport, where I met some of my teammates for our flights out to Sacramento, and subsequently the drive to Tahoe. The first flight left at 6 am from Raleigh to Houston.  We flew on United (not that I would EVER fly on United again). We got into Sacramento around 11:30 am, and got surprized by our travel vehicle being a Stretch SUV Limo!  It was pretty awesome!  We were all starving so we stopped at In and Out (classic west coast - California staple) for a late lunch (we didn't get there until 2 pm.  We were STARVING!!

the bike outside our hotel
After our drive up the mountains we checked into the Mount Bleu Casino and Resort in Nevada. We got settled and picked up our bikes from the transport company (ohh yeah, our bikes were sent ahead of time on trucks) .  Then we went to check out the area, and walked down to California!  It was 2 blocks from our hotel.  We ended up eating Pizza with most of the crew in California.  It was awesome catching up with most of our cycling group and just hang out.

Saturday warm up ride
The plan for the next day was to get up and do a short ride to make sure our bikes were in order.  That all of our gears were good and no issues before Sunday (the big ride).  When you are not in control of your bike during transport, and even when you are it's a good idea to do a little warm up ride.  Most everyone was fine on the ride, we had a couple of flats on the ride and one issue that needed the bike shop to fix.  Good thing it was on the day we could get it all done!  My bike was fine and I had a fantastic warm up ride.  The weather was amazing and the air was dry (not like our weather in NC), and the scenery was beautiful!  After the bike ride, and going to packet pick up (to get our race info and swag - long sleeve shirt, water bottle, patch), some of us went to the bike shop to help one of our teammates with his bike.  While there we found the worlds LARGEST bike SADDLE.
checking out the route on Saturday

After all that our teammate (and my running coach for the Marathon) Bob and Peggy (his wife) had a car and took us around Lake Tahoe to see part of the route for the ride and enjoy some the beauty before experiencing it on the back of a bike.  We stopped at couple of overlooks and enjoyed the day!  It was so warm on Saturday, in fact the whole weekend was warm and beautiful.  The mountains were gorgeous, the water was amazingly blue.  The company was great!  It was Bob and Peggy, Jeanne, GMac, and of course me!  Our little band of friends had a great afternoon!

The morning of the ride (Sunday) was upon us.  I was excited!  I was ready!  I had trained for this, I had a great group of people around me, it was going to be a GREAT RIDE!

The start line was cool.  We lined up by state, and started with our groups.  Half of the riders were TNTer's.  So we got to go first!  Cool benefit of raising money for cancer!

Jeanne and I before the big ride
the lake behind us
We started out on the ride, and the first little bit was easy, E-A-S-Y, flat, cool, fun.  Then the switchbacks came.  I knew they were coming, we rode up them on Saturday as part of our see what the route is like tour in the car.  The switchbacks were hard, H-A-R-D!  Mostly because they were at the beginning of the ride while everyone was still bunched up together and the roads are very narrow.  Because of all these things you have to be careful while climbing up the switchbacks.  As I was climbing I kept gearing down, stayed on my line, but got caught behind slower riders (climbers) and as a result I became slower, and finally I ran out of gears.  I was at my lowest gear and not able to keep going.  I pulled over to the side and dismounted.  And climbed the rest of the switchbacks on foot.  The saddest part about this is that they put photographers at the top of the switchbacks, so there are pictures of me walking my bike up the road.  As soon as I was at the top, back on my bike I went and off to the first rest stop I started to go.  I wasn't sure if I would meet up with the rest of my group until we got to the rest stop but I was hoping I would.  Luckily I did meet up with most of the rest of the group and we enjoyed some riding to the rest stop together.

Most of the rest of the ride was enjoyable, with great friends chit-chatting, while riding along, and some  easy drafting off each other, and pulling at times.  The rest stops were stocked with yummy treats and good substance (my favorite was the boiled potatoes that you salted!).  I re-filled water, ate a little, and off we would go again.  The next memorable moment of the ride was the "trek into Truckie, and back".  You had to options, one was to follow a greenway trail along the river to Truckie, and the other was to take the highway in.  We decided on the highway because the greenway trail was mega-crowded.  All of the people in our group have been riding in traffic before and felt comfortable doing our thing up the highway.  AGGGGHHHHH!!  What we didn't know was how horrible the road conditions would be.  The road was mega bumpy and pot-holey, and the shoulder was big, but had giant grates in it to catch the snow melt (as the snow was melting of the mountains).

Greg sandwhich
the 3 amigos riding along
 We made it to the rest stop in Truckie.  Most of us shed our outer layer at this point and made a bee-line for the grocery store and inside bathrooms!  The people were super nice at the store!  We ate a little, filled up water bottles, and headed back out to the horrible road.  I should mention the reason for the trek into Truckie is so that the ride is a 100 miles, because just around the Lake is 72 miles.  The road back to the lake was just as bad, and added an extra fun element of riding into the wind.  It was HARD.  The group took turns pulling and drafting, we had a good system going and we were getting through this tough road.  What we didn't know on the road that we were battling is at the same time the coach from Charlotte's aunt was dying from a blood cancer.  To put it into prospective, that road wasn't so bad after all.  We were back going around the lake, and looking forward to "the Lunch Stop".  We stayed a little longer at this rest stop, ate a little more, took a few pics, and off we went to climb Spooner.  Aggghhh Spooner.

Spooner comes at about mile 80 of the ride and it's a real mountain, with a real climb (1200 ft over 7 miles).  I was climbing and climbing and climbing.  I was feeling good, I was staying with the group, and then, all of a sudden.....I wasn't.  It was getting harder.  The air was getting thinner, or something.  My legs felt like lead.  My hands were shaking.  Ohh no.  I pulled over.  I pulled myself together, I rode up some more.  Leaded legs, light headedness, ohhh noo, I pulled over.  One of my teammates pulled over next to me.  Ohh thank goodness you stopped.  I can stop for a second too then.  We start to climb again. Pull over again.  CRAP!!  I thought we'd have a rest stop soon.  A car pulls over in front of us, with a bike rack on the back.  People get out and ask if we are okay.  Are we okay?  Hmmmm.  Sure we are fine.  They are looking for friends.  Hey- Any chance you wanna give us a ride to the top?  Unless it's really not far- we can make it 1/2 mile, we can't make 5 miles.  Ohh it's about 2 miles.  Hmmmm.  We can give you a ride if you'd like.  Yes Please!  We strap our bikes on the back and ride up to the top, and wait for our teammates there.  We found them at the rest stop at the top.  FYI about .5 miles from where we were was a water stop and the big crazy climb lessened.  I'm pretty sure if we had gone to that stop, we would of made it the rest of the way.  We saw it in the car, but felt bad asking the people to stop since we already loaded the bikes and all.  Down Spooner we went. Fast fast fast.  And then 5 more smaller "rollling"mountain climbs.  Then we were at the finish line.  We made it.  We did it!  (minus my 2 mile lift).  Most of the group pulled in together!  We did the ride in 8 hours!  6 hours and 15 minutes of actual ride time.  It was AMAZING, it was BEAUTIFUL, it was the hardest endurance event I have done!
at the finish!

Great Friends

We hung out at the finish area for awhile, then went back to the hotel, dropped our bike off at the transport, and went and took showers.  Some of us met up to grab something to eat, and drink!  We walked down to California and had food and beer.  And as you might of guessed, exhaustion set in - at least for me.  The after party was that night, but I was dead to the world.  I was so tired I went back to the room and passed out!

limo ride back was tighter.
Got up the next morning (Monday), took a regular stretch limo (not as comfortable as the SUV limo) back down the mountain (2 hours) to the airport.  As we left the snow started to come in, we saw it falling as we were going down the mountain.  Thank you Tahoe for a lovely weekend with beautiful weather and great friends....doing a ride that was FANTASTIC and AMAZING!

With this event I earned my triple crown, which is doing a running event (full or half marathon) a triathlon event, and a cycling event.  I just happened to do all of mine in one year.  My year of crazy came to an end with having completed a Half Ironman Distance Triathlon (Augusta 70.3), a Full Marathon (Disney 26.2), and a Century Cycle (America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride -100), and raising $11,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

A little break for now, and then on to the next adventure......let's go take a hike........

1 comment:

  1. Go Chrissy!!! Good job with the race AND all the fundraising AND the race report!!