I just realized that I haven’t posted since the beginning of September. Sorry!!!!
So Thursday night I was still trying to get all my stuff together. On Tuesday I did get up to the MS Headquarters to get my ride packet. I did get errands run earlier in the week so I had the appropriate snacks, Nuun tablets, peanut M&M’s and whatever else I needed.
Friday morning, I was sitting at work when the Dell guy walks in with a coworker to ask “can we take your computer?” They were updating the operating system and hard drive (maybe) so since I didn’t have anything work related that couldn’t wait, I said “sure”. By lunch time I was so full of nervous energy and had a long list of things to get done, I was ready to go. I left at 1:30 PM or so to get my stuff done. Got my boys and then headed home. I finished packing, cleaning the kitchen, and getting my big boys soccer stuff together for my hubby. The final thing I needed to do was wash my bike. It was bad. I hadn’t cleaned it since my tri in August and the chain was greasy and dirty. So I normally take the rear wheel off and thoroughly scrub everything which takes several hours. I don’t have several hours. I’ve got about an hour until the hubby gets home and I then need to leave. So to the internet!!!! I found a a youtube video, here is the link and the video that was super helpful!!!
I managed to leave my scrub brush, simple green bottle and our house phone outside after I did this because i was a little preoccupied trying to get all my stuff done. Hahaha hubby told me about that on Sunday when I got home. I don’t have a chain cleaner (YET!!!) but I was able to make my bike look a lot better and then get it all lubed up ready for the weekend.
I headed out the door around 5:30 PM on my way to Callaway Gardens to meet up with my team. Its a really nice/easy 45 min drive south. I got there with no issues and quickly found my team in our tent. We had a big spread of spaghetti, salad, dips, desert and whatever else was there. Each of the different teams had a tent for their riders to gather at all weekend. The theme was Mexican Fiesta and Bike MS gave out an award for the best decorated tent. We didn’t’ win 😦
After hanging around the tent for a while, we loaded up and 6 of us girls stayed in a cabin together up on Pine Mountain. We of course stayed up too late talking and 5:30 am came way too early. We all packed our gear the night before so we wouldn’t forget anything. Most of our food was provided (except Friday night) by the ride so breakfast was at the big circus tent at Callaway Gardens. We piled in 2 cars and headed over to the tents. Breakfast was eggs, bacon, biscuits, fruit, coffee and OJ. I didn’t have the biscuit but had everything else. Then we lined up for pictures.
Me all ready to go. It was a little chilly at 63 degrees but we didn’t’ complain. I wore my compression sleeves (hot pink tye dye) the whole weekend and everyone loved my “socks” plus they seriously helped my legs. I had Nuun tablets in my water bottles with extra in my bento box (little box/bag up near my handle bars), my garmin, road id, buff on my head under my helmet and my smith optics glasses. Also wore this sunscreen all weekend and did not get burned. Loved it!!!
They had announcements, followed by the national anthem and then this!!
I set out on the ride at 8 am as a whole team. slowly we started thinning out to our paces. My two friends (Tracie and Vicky) waited for me at the first rest stop (15 miles in). Here we are at the first rest stop, where leprechauns handed out beads. We got food and drinks but set out again pretty quickly.
I stay within eye sight of them and they promised to stay with me for the 62 mile ride. Get to the 2nd rest stop and we are all still feeling good (25 miles). It was Captain Jack Sparrow!!!! This rest stop was pirate themed!!!
The next 10 miles start going back up hill more and i”m slowing down a little but they don’t leave me. We cross into Alabama for just a few minutes and head over to West Point Lake.
The sun is out and it’s starting to warm up but the humidity is way down so it feels nice. I have people all along the route saying “nice socks!!!” I’m going to be known for my socks from now on (on this ride).
Before each rest stop, we get a sign that said how far ahead it was. Usually 2-3 miles would be the distance. I see Vicky and Tracie up ahead of me and I then see the Lunch sign in 2 miles. Well get get to the turn and they keep going straight. Well straight is not just the rest of the ride it’s the route for the century (100 miles). I stop at the turn and yell for them. They don’t hear me and two other cyclists said in a kind of rude tone “well they seemed sure that they were doing the century” I thought, thanks a$% hole (sorry but that’s what was in my head). I tried calling them on their phones but not no answer. In addition to the rest stops, they have SAG vans driving all along the route and motorcyclists all along the route to make sure that we are all ok. So I had two motorcycles stop to see if I was fine, I was. I was very mad and on the verge of tears. They told me they would ride with me that day, this was the first time I had done this event, gone this far ever and I told them I wanted them to stay with me. I was furious. I’m now on my own and not happy about it. I get to lunch and I pull myself together. I see a bunch from our team for a couple minutes until they set out to finish the ride. I thought my two friends were doing a short loop and coming back to lunch and then having another loop later. I hang around to fuss at them but after waiting a while I just decided to go. turns out their loop was a lot longer than I thought.
I text my husband (cell signal was iffy most of the time) to let him know I was at 35 miles and having lunch. Then I just sucked it up and set out by my self. The next 15 miles, I was so mad. I would question why I’m out here, that I told them I wanted them to ride with me and this was getting to be the hardest part of the course and I was all alone. literally!! I could see an occasional bike rider but i was pretty much alone. I cried, I cussed and had a thought of why am I doing this. But pretty quickly said, what satisfaction would i have if I quit. So I kept going.
I pulled into the last rest stop (mile 50) and sent a text message to my friend back at the start/finish that they left me, I a pissed that I am riding by myself but i am at the last rest stop with 11 miles to go. She answered with “You got it girl!!!!! Deep breath and do it for u ” I stayed at the rest stop for about 30 min. I posted on fb where I was and got a bunch of encouraging messages from friends. so my mood was improving.
Can you tell which one is me???? I sat down under the tent and took off my shoes. My toes were tired of being in them and trying to fall asleep. So I parked myself under one of the tents and had an entire orange, big water bottle of water/nuun and just chilled. I also photo bombed a group shot.
After hanging out and cooling off for a while I set out. I ended up leaving at the same time as another group. Turns out one girl and I were at the same fitness level/speed and whatnot. She noticed my jersey and said she knew someone on my team. Turns out it was my friend Tracie that left me. Well we started talking (I know imagine that) and talked the last 10 miles. Our conversations carried us up the last of those blasted hills. We talked about anything and everything that came to mind which was wonderful. We came up onto Hwy 27/Main St in Pine Mountain and I just about started crying. One we knew where we were and 2, there was a huge group of motorcycles that was waiting (police officer had stopped traffic) and they were waving, yelling, honking horns at us as we went by. Once I was on Hwy 27, it didn’t matter how many miles I still had to go, I knew where I was and knew I was almost done. Coming through town I had people waving and cheering as we went by. So I finished my 62 miles in 6 hours and 45 min. i was very pleased with myself and still pissed at my friends but I pushed myself and did the hardest part all by myself. I stopped my garmin and walked slowly over to rack my bike. As I was taking my watch off my bike, the battery died. I hoped it would catch my entire ride and it did. It’s in 3 parts but who cares!!!!
Here is Kim, who I rode with for the last 10 miles of Saturday!!! We were each others savior that day!!!
I walk up to our tent and have the nicest welcoming ever. A big group had been waiting for me to finish and finally just really wanted to get cleaned up and showered. They were also worried that I got lost or something. My text seemed off in mileage. I said on the last 26 miles by myself and sitting at the last rest stop. Should have said I’m on the last rest stop of the 60 mile route instead. They were worried that I went on the 30 mile route and should have been back hours ago. My friend set out to see if she could find me close to the finish and guess what?? I pulled in. So Tony, one of the husbands, was there to give me a big hug. He got the sweatiest, saltest, nasty hug and he loved it. I got a Popsicle and stood in a misting fan for a bit after I sent text messages that I was done. My friend came back and picked me up so I could go get cleaned up. Also clarified to all of the girls that I couldn’t’ add at that point and was sorry I was not making sense. We loaded up and went back to the tents to wait on the rest of our team who were finishing the century ride including Tracie and Vicky.
I also went and got a massage. They have a tent set up and it’s free (you can give them tips). You get a 10-15 min massage so tell them what really hurts and they will work on that. I told her hips and she did some serious magic. I could walk straight after she pushed, popped, and massaged my hips and lower back. It was heavenly and got awful painful all in the same breathe. I almost told her to back off but didn’t want too. I know it will help me.
I grabbed some dinner with some of our team and found out that I know a lot about this guys job. This is Tony and he works for the natural gas pipeline. They also have a big string of diesel engines (that’s the kind of stuff I deal with). So it was nice to chat with someone about what I do.
I also found a few people that I know (outside my team). Found one of the pediatricians from my boys office, a friend from our mustang club and a local PTC triathlete Julie! Seriously enjoyed chatting with her and turns out her team mate was able to help my friend Tracie when she couldn’t get her bike to change gears on the century.
So we took them back to the house to get cleaned up. I rolled my legs while they were getting showers. Then we went back to the tent and got them dinner and the rest of us ladies to eat again (yeah we were all hungry again).
We finally give up around 9:30 pm or so and head back to the house. I rolled my legs again and wash my jersey. I have 2 but this one is my favorite (nicer feel to the material) so I hoped it would be dry in the morning. We crashed around 10:30 pm and I hoped I would sleep good. Yeah not so much. 5:30 am was way tooo early but we were up. Packed up our stuff and loaded up the cars. We headed out in stages, with me and Vicky rounding out the back end. I couldn’t handle eggs again for breakfast so I made a peanut butter bagel (gluten free) and had my coffee. I walked down and got my bike and set my stuff in the tent. Then I went to find everyone before we had a short church service at 7 am.
The service was very nice and I loved that we could see the lake. Once we helped clean up, I headed to get water bottles to fill up mine and one more bathroom stop. Got ready and we took a Sunday morning team picture on our bikes.
We line up as a team with the plan to gather back up at the last rest stop and then a final gathering at a gas station on the main road so we could finish together. I stayed with the main group for a little bit but my legs were not up to pushing too much so pretty quickly I was by myself. I was ok but wished I had my friends. Well all of a sudden Dan pulls next to me. He is an amazing cyclist and can bike circles around me. He did the 100 mile ride the day before. So I was very surprised that he hung back. Well right with him is 3 other ladies that were very new to cycling and Dan told them he would ride with them. Dan is a social person (like me) and since he spent the day before by himself he wanted to be with people on the second day. We pulled into the rest stop and after a quick break we set out again. We had lots of fun talking. As we got to the last rest stop, I was wearing out and slowing down. Dan circled back around to get back with me. I was surprised and loved it. We had a short stop (I needed longer but the whole group was there and wanted to get moving) and then we set out. Not before I got this picture and it’s one of my favorite!!!!
I look at Dan and know that he goes to my family’s church and said “you know my parents!” He just looked at me so funny. I told him and he just laughed saying my socialness made more sense now. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My dad has never met a stranger.
Here is the rag taggle group of ladies (and Dan) coming up to before the last rest stop.
The last 4 miles were the hardest of my life. As I came up each hill, i was cussing and telling Dan how much i hated this. I was literally pushing myself to the limit of what i could do. I really think Dan knew that I was done because the encouraging changed to you can do this and you are doing great from normal chatter. We approached Hwy 27 and we saw the group up ahead. He asked me if I was stopping and I told him I couldn’t stop. I was afraid that if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to start riding again. Well Cliff (our team captain) told me to keep going and go in front. He said “Take us home Anna”. My friends Vicky, Tracie, and Cheryl asked me if i was stopping I just shook my head no. they then yelled “Go Anna” I was on the verge of tears. Dan was right next to me and then he slipped back behind me. I couldn’t understand why they all would line up behind me. Dan told me later ” . . . and the last shall be first!” when he told me that last week, I lost it at work. He also said ” I just had to peel off and let you roll in leading the way for all others my friend”.
Another friend Cheryl came up next to me and asked me if i was ok and having fun. I said no. I was done!! Tears started flowing. I may have scared one of the other guys Tony. He had a look of papa bear worried about his cub. I pulled it together and stayed in the front as we rode into the finish.
I love that you can see our friend Sharma snapping pictures of us as we came into the finish. I don’t like mine as I am finishing up, because I can tell that I am DONE!!!! I was clicking through the pics and found Dan at the very back of our group. Bringing us home!!
I was ok once i was off my bike. We went back to our tent. I changed shoes and sat down and had water and peanut M&M’s. Shortly I heard that they were serving lunch but I had not energy to go just yet. Then Tracie told me they had gluten free and there wasn’t that many of them left. I went and got lunch. Tony saw me eating and again had that papa bear look to him gave me an approving look. I saw the line was short for massages and I went over and got tortured again but it made a hug difference. I chatted with Dan and several other people for a bit before I headed home. I did tell him Thank you and got a nice hug.
I sent him a nice thank you message on Monday and was blown away. What exactly we talked about is between the two of us but it opened my eyes more to that people do see me as an inspiration. I see myself as a over scheduled, over weight mom who is just barely trying to keep things together and moving forward. But as another friend said, I am doing some remarkable things and achievements. So my flaws in no way cancel any of that out. Also I don’t understand why the team would line up behind me – I was the slowest one out there but they did and with smiles on their face. Blew me away!!! No I’m not going to get a big head, ego, or anything like that. It’s just humbling but very awesome to know i do encourage you all to get out there and do something that scares you, pushes you and makes you a better person. It’s taken me all week to not cry every time I think about all of this since it’s so over whelming. So not only did I do something I have never done – ride a metric century on Saturday and a grand total of 94 miles in two day – I learned a lot about myself and feel blessed to have the friends I do. So thank you guys!!!!