I don't really know what to say about the day. For the first time in a long time this just left me - blank.
Another early morning. It's sad that I sleep in longer on Monday's than I do on the weekends. Anyway, I made it to Karen's where we loaded up the bikes along with Kimberly and headed out to Marshall, VA. We started to get ready and more and more DC Tri people showed up. It was pretty awesome. When we rolled out, we had about 35 people (there is a group to the left that didn't make the picture).
The ride start was a lot of fun. The first 20 miles were rollers, lots of downs and ups, ups and downs. I can do okay with those. Mile 20 was also the main rest stop. It was a sight to come around a corner and down a hill to a sea of DC Tri jerseys.
Right after that, the real hills started. Or shall I say one of the hardest things I have ever done. I really don't even have the words. Everyone split into their pace groups pretty quick - mine at the end.
The first climb was steeper and longer than expected, after every turn, it kept going up. A theme often repeated. After that climb, there was a short break, a half mile on Rt 7, and left turn to straight up. With no sign of the top. I.E., the mountain climb had started. I went as far as I could until my quads started shaking and it was fall over or clip out and walk. I clipped out and walked - for the first time ever. And by this time, the 4 ladies I was with were long gone.
After a tiny break, it was up, then down, more up and down, even more up, and FINALLY down. And at the end, there was Sandy, Carolina, Stephanie, and Katie.
But it didn't end there. Once we got to Paris, VA, it was beautiful. We actually had some time to look around - such a beautiful area.
Then mile 42. One more hill. One last major climb and I just couldn't do it. Again. My legs just stopped moving. Carolina was right behind me, didn't want me to feel bad, so she got her bike too and walked up with me. I had horrible stomach cramps, non-working legs - just not good. We clipped back in, turned a corner and BAMB! Another frickn' climb. Proof someone hates me. But once we got to the top, Sandy, Stephanie and Katie were waiting. It was a glorious sight. They were stretching on the grass and I knew if I got off of Blain, I wouldn't want to get back on, so I just laid on my aero bars. I really don't know what I would have done if I were on my own for this ride.
The rest of the ride was mostly down hill, rollers, and flats. With a few more hills that made me even more - blank. I just didn't know what to think anymore.
55 miles. Not good. Not bad. Not okay. Just - just.
After, Karen and a great spread of sandwiches, chips, tots, and ICE CREAM!! Tammy came with mimosas. Lindsey had another great quote as we were trying to help Karen clean up "Oh, let me take care of it. I am really good at taking care of ice cream." Thanks Karen, it was awesome.
Here are a few things I learned on the ride.
1. I am really bad at climbing. And I just don't like it. Rollers, yes. Mountains - no (you can see the elevation change and map in the pic above. Thanks Alejandro)
2. My bike computer doesn't measure mph less than 3.0. I know this because on some climbs it would go between 0.0 and 3.0. Something I never wanted to know.
3. When going 40.7 mph (my max speed today), hitting bugs hurt. I now know how a windshield feels.
4. I am luck to have supportive people to ride with, people to wait for me even when I tell them not to, and great friends to talk me into crazy things like riding up a mountain.
Tomorrow, Reston 2 mile open water swim "race". Good thing I really don't use my legs swimming...