But right now, it’s the bike. Oh how I love riding my bike – I can’t even believe how this happened to me. Last time I wrote about it was in September when we did another family ride, me and my nieces and nephews. Since then, a lot of things have happened, and I have really upped my game. I even bought a bike rack for my little beetle so I don’t need to borrow hubby’s car to go somewhere to ride.
My “Ride with the Girls” group rides had come to an end of scheduled Wednesday rides but I felt I wasn’t done yet. I wanted to keep riding and I needed to find another group to take me. After searching around a little bit, I found the Rapid Wheelmen. The Rapid Wheelmen are a local bike club who have a lot of group rides scheduled, but that is some serious business. They classify all activities by pace (Ride paces: Easy: 9-11mph, Casual: 11-13mph, Moderate: 13-15mph, Good: 15-17mph, Fast: 17-19mph, Fast+ : 19+). Since I track all my rides, I know that door to door I usually average 14.5 to 15mph so I consider myself a moderate rider. They are using YahooGroups to communicate, so I signed up for their group on October 4th. I was a little anxious, because again: that is serious business with a race team, time trials, club jerseys and what not.
On October 8th, I set out to a big ride – this was a “Ride with the Girls” event and 4 of us went down and around the White Pine Trail. It was an amazing trip and even though I was worried that I would not make it, it was not a problem at all and we went 52 miles. It took 3 hours and 49 minutes, and I loved every minute of it.
All pumped up, I started to look around the RW schedule to see what rides would allow a moderate rider, and I found a Wednesday evening ride going from 6.30 to 9pm which included my pace. I sent a message to the list asking how “Newbie friendly” they are and if it is a suitable ride for a moderate rider. They were very nice and welcomed me to join. They said there are usually two parts, a faster group and a moderate group. Well, I showed up and saw 4 fit dudes on road bikes all clad in fancy bike gear. Oy, now what? Well, they were nice enough, actually asked if I was Susanne and took me under their wings. Now, what was supposed to be the moderate ride ended up as a 31 mile ride at an average speed of 15.5mph. They clearly were trying to test me, and I have no problem with that – I would do the same, and I believe I earned their approval because I was never last but some other guy…HA! While this was not the longest distance, it was a really fast pace for me.
Next up, my “Ride with the Girls” group had posted another event, on October 15th there was the ColorBurst, which was hosted by – surprise – the Rapid Wheelmen. I signed up and after some encouragement by my Girls leader I chose to go for the 62 mile route. Yeah, you read that right, I went 62 miles/100 kilometers on my bike. We decided to meet at the park – since it was a hosted event they offered a pancake breakfast and stops with food and refreshments. I showed up there fairly early – the weather sucked pretty much. Very windy – actually windy enough so they issued a wind advisory – and it was fairly cold. I saw my Girls leader in line but wanted to pick up my shirt. Once I returned, I couldn’t find anyone anymore. I have no idea what happened, but we must have walked by each other “silent movie style” without meeting. So, now I was standing there, me and my bike and no one to go with when all of a sudden someone next to me said Hey. It was Dave, one of the guys from the Wednesday ride. I don’t know if I looked that lost but he asked if I want to go with them and I sure as hell wanted that! He had a buddy with him who dropped fairly fast so it was just Dave and me. He was really watching out for me, it was amazing to ride with him. He was a quiet guy, who had done a big tour from Michigan to Oregon this summer – wow! He gave me great advise for hills and wind, he waited at the top of every hill and told me that I need to eat something. This is really not that easy for a sleeved person – 62 miles in these weather conditions take a long time. I am burning a ton of calories but cannot eat all that quickly at a rest stop so I just tried my best and put some cookies in my bike box for the ride. In the end, I came out at 4 hours and 45 minutes with an average speed of 12.81mph and a total climb of almost 3,500ft.
After the ride, everyone met back at a shelter in the park for soup and hot beverages, and we sat down at a fire place where I slowly started to collect myself. I felt my vision was blurry, I felt a little dizzy and was a little shaken all over. Several of the Wheelmen talked to me, all very impressed that I did the 62 miles especially being such a new rider and under these conditions and at a very acceptable time with very little proper bike gear. I felt amazing and couldn’t believe it myself. I did need almost an hour in front of the fire trying to collect myself before I felt safe to drive back home.
Now, after all these October rides I did the math and had already done 200 miles in October so I set myself a goal to make it to 300 miles. I knew I would spend 4 days at a conference (more about that later), so I couldn’t get too far out. I made it – I ended on October 31st with 301 miles!
Did I mention I love my bike?