Today begins my No Workout Week (NWW). I’m going to try to go a full week without swimming or biking. Thus far it’s not terrible but I’m freaking out about every single thing I eat. I know I can’t gain a lot of weight in one week but you know how that goes…
Since I knew this was going to be a NWW I decided to bike my butt off over the weekend. On Saturday I planned a nice, easy ride with Tiny Tish (visiting from Texas) and Aloha Kris. I got in 18 miles and felt good. My hamstring was grouchy after but nothing that was going to stop me from riding on Sunday.
Since a bunch of my friends are doing the Florida 1/2 IM in a couple of weeks I decided I’d head over to Haines City with them and ride the course. Granted, I’ve never ridden more than 32 miles but I figured I could make it to 56 by hanging on to someone’s wheel. I am fairly certain that I’m insane.
I don’t really know what possessed me to make this leap but I’ve really been enjoying my bike time lately and I guess since I knew I was taking a full week off I got a wild hair.
Of course, as pumped as I was to ride that far I was also nervous and a bit tired on the way over. It took about an hour and a half to get to the ride start and when we arrived there were a lot of cyclists, both with our group and those who were also checking out the course. The worst part of this was that there were no open bathrooms. We had to ride to the nearby McDonald’s as a group to use the restrooms.
Let me explain that this was my first really large group ride. I was riding with people who’ve ridden a gazillion more miles than me and who probably didn’t feel a bit of panic every time they had to stop and start again. And there were traffic stops. All of this was new to me and yes, I was nervous. I gave myself an inner monologue pep talk and felt a lot better after we got about five miles in.
There were originally supposed to be two groups. An A group going about 18-20 MPH and a B group going about 16-18 MPH. But as I assume what happens with many group outings, we sort of splintered into a few smaller groups. I wound up riding with my good friend Chris-Brian and about four to six other people with a few joining and a few leaving at different points. Two of the women we rode with were so extremely helpful and friendly. Fortunately, they live close by and asked me to join them on some rides and runs. I love making new friends!
We rode along and I marveled at how strong I felt. I got to mile 27 and thought ok, maybe I’ll get tired once we pass mile 32. But we got to mile 38 and I felt good still. I was eating Powerbar Energy Blasts (I love the cola flavor!) and drinking lots of water with Nuun plus I had some Powerade Zero in one of my bottles too. I made sure to eat and drink often since I had never ridden this far.
The course had a few hills but nothing worse than what I had ridden previously and by the time we stopped to refill and realize we were lost at mile 42 I was still feeling fine. Yes, you read that right. We got lost. We missed a turn that wasn’t marked and went about 4 miles out of our way. Thank God for GPS cell phones, a friendly local real estate agent, and a helpful gas station attendant.
We had started our ride at about 7:15-7:30 and by the time we got back on the route it was getting pretty warm out. I started to feel tired and hot right around mile 58, give or take. I had run out of water and thought, “Welcome to Bonk Town, Population: Me.” I got some water from a fellow rider and when we stopped a couple miles later to let everyone catch up I noticed we were right squarely in the hood. Heh.
While at the gas station chatting quickly about where we needed to go and how far we had left a gentleman in a hoopty with a Black N Mild cigar yelled over at us, “How many miles ya’ll got left?” to which I replied, “Too damn many!” He laughed and we got back on the road. No less than a half mile later the same guy from the gas station pulled up next to me and yelled, “Can I get a tow?” to which I replied, “No way!” Then we both laughed and he turned off presumably to head to his crib. 
As we got closer to the end of the ride I felt like myself again and was in shock at how far I had ridden. Sixty four miles total!!! We weren’t going very fast which definitely saved me but we weren’t exactly crawling either. I’m so thankful to have ridden with such a nice group of people and guess what else? We had to stop at a couple of gas stations and a couple of lights and a couple of stop signs and I had zero issues with clipping. Not a single one.  Yay! Go me! I gave myself the BAMF of the day award. I’d say I earned it.
It’s safe to say that had I not had this impending week of nothing I would not have gone out to ride like that. Once again, Hampton is taking a lot of credit for this new found cyclist chick. I didn’t know she was in me, but I’m glad I found her.