I was going to wait until I got my pictures to post a race report but since I had to use a camera with actual film then it may be awhile before I get it done so I should write this now before I forget all of the details.
We left out of Lubbock on Friday afternoon after I spent all morning cleaning and organizing to make sure I had everything I needed for the whole weekend. I also ended up getting new tires on Thursday because I got a hole in one of mine. I did have time to ride a little bit on Thursday night just to make sure everything was working right and that I liked the new tires. The trip down was fairly uneventful except for the frustration of not having my cell phone work for two hours which was probably good so I would stop texting my boyfriend who was following me in his car. Setting up our tent and hitting registration all went very smoothly and I felt really great until after dinner and had a horrible case of stomach cramps. Luckily, I was well stocked with medication and nipped that right in the bud.
Even though we were sleeping in a hot tent, I slept like a rock until 5am when I got up and started getting ready. I hit the restroom and saw way too many beer bellied, shirtless men just going outside their tents to pee. And to change. Ugh. When I got to the restroom, I smiled at the long line waiting to go into the men’s restroom as I sailed into the women’s with no wait. This soon changed because at my next bathroom trip an hour later, I found the men had taken over our restroom too. So unfair! The first time we don’t have to wait and the stinkin’ men take it over.
By the time I got dressed and ate, it was time to go line up. When lining up to start with 12,000 other riders, this can be a challenge, but this year it was fairly uneventful. I got settled in and talking some with the people around me. The guys next to me were newbies so I got to tell them some of the things they had to look forward to which got me all excited and ready to be out there. But first, they played the Nation Anthem which always chokes me up. Every single time. Then three fighter jets flew overhead (I am hoping I got a picture of this. One of my favorite things about this ride!), the cannon boomed the start and then…..we stood there. For almost 20 minutes. It was all very anti-climactic, but it is really hard to get that many cyclists started safely. The good news is that no one fell on me and I was able to pick my way through the crowd pretty easily. The most important thing about this race is being very cautious for the first ten miles. After that, it is pretty clear, but when all of the routes are together, you never know what can happen.
I saw the first big wreck about 4 miles in. All I could see is a woman laying on the ground moaning with EMT’s surrounding her asking questions. And blood. I quickly looked away, but apparently the lady next to me not only had laser vision but also was psychic as she started shrieking to her friends that she (the lady whimpering on the ground) did not have her helmet on correctly. This irritated me for so many reasons, the least of which being that how on earth could you know that when the injured party has probably already had the EMT’s and who knows who else messing with her trying to help. Second, even if you were able to tell that she did have her helmet on incorrectly, why rub salt in the wound by announcing to the whole world that she screwed up?? And not once, but yelling it multiple times? Ugh, I was happy to pass her.
The amazing thing about this race is that I was really passing people. A lot of them. For a good portion of the ride. It was an incredible feeling…mostly because it was not one I had often. Of course, my computer was not working so I had no idea how fast I was going but by the number of rest stops I was passing, I knew I was going to finish in a timely manner. Which was a darn good thing since I had to be finished by 11am in order to load up and drive to my parents house to make it to a dinner in another city at 6pm that night. Nothing like your mother threatening you to make sure that you will be on time!
The rest of the ride went by quickly and uneventfully and before I knew it, I was at the end. Not only just at the end, but I finished at 10:55am, 5 minutes before my deadline. I was excited, I was thrilled, I was joyful……and I was not really sure I could swing my leg off of the bike. I spent the last 5 minutes I had left standing over my bike using the premise that I was texting people and that is why I was not getting off of my bike. When my boyfriend was there to hold it and me, I swung my leg off and wobbled off.
I had finished my 100K in 3 hours and 35 minutes which was almost an hour faster than last year. I do have to say, I usually stop at more rest stops and linger for awhile and chat some, but this year I had a deadline and I met it! I guess it really can all be in your mind! Now that I know I can pull off speeds higher than 14 mph, I am totally ready for my next ride!
Luckily, because I am dating a total sweetheart, he had already loaded up the tent and so all I had to do was load my bike and we were off to find food. Which at that moment was more important than anything else. Apparently, it was more important than taking my seat bag off of the trunk before I drove off. Oops. I did spot it and my brakes kept it from sliding off onto the highway before I could stop and retrieve it.
I quickly stuffed my face and then started my second race of the day…driving 3 ½ hours to my parents hometown so I could then get in the car with them and drive another hour and half to San Angelo, Texas. By the time I got to the house, I had half an hour to get showered and changed and get in the car. I fully planned on passing out as soon as I got in the car (with someone else driving now) but as it turned out, I was too wired. And stayed wired all through the dinner and show we attended. Which was totally worth racing across Texas to see!
Pictures will follow soon!