Ok, so I ended up having fun after all. I always do.
My butt, however, did not. If there was a limiting factor in my completion of 150 miles it was not muscle fatigue or proper nutrition....it was my bottom. There is a reason people train for cycling events like this that has nothing to do with strength or speed and everything to do with getting your backside and your bike seat to play nice together.
Mine are currently fighting. The relationship may be permanently doomed if I don't start some regular counseling sessions very soon. I'm thinking 80-100 miles a week on a regular basis might be a good place to start.
The fact that I brushed cobwebs off my bike when I packed it up might put in perspective my strategy for this ride -- survive.
That said, I didn't start off so good. Flying along with some of the other Team in Training alumni at speeds of 19-21mph is probably not a smart way to start off 150 miles for the training impaired. But I felt good, I was dirty from falling in a mud puddle at the first rest stop and feeling tough, so I went with it.
Those first 40 miles of speed likely contributed to the whopping numbers like TWELVE and NINE that I was pushing the last six miles of day one. Longest - six - miles - of - my - life.
But there was beer at the end and all was right with the world again.
The weather for the weekend was pretty crazy. Complete downpour Saturday morning. Followed by some drizzle here and there. Then an eerie fog. Which was cool in a way, but did put a damper on most of the "scenic" aspect of the ride.
But with a little creativity the fog and the wacky town names here in Wisconsin (St. Moritz, Belgium, etc...) made it easy for bored cyclists to imagine themselves somewhere other than the Midwest.
A little cyclist community was formed as people rolled into Manitowoc and started setting up tents on the lawn of the college. We set up our tent, hit the showers, got a massage, and then kicked back with a Sprecher and a few good friends. What could be better, really?
A room with a view?
A little walk on the beach maybe?It poured again Saturday night. Lightening and thunder starting around 11:30pm. Not what you want to hear when all that separates you from the elements is a thin sheet of nylon. But we managed to stay dry, and even get a little sleep (due to sheer exhaustion, no doubt).
Sunday morning we rolled out just before 8am -- well behind a good number of more motivated cyclists (the official start was 7:30am). I seriously contemplated the possibility of 75 miles without actually sitting on the bicycle. After I determined that defied all the laws of physics (and the endurance limitations of my quads) I seriously considered sag-ing to the finish if I could hold out 'til lunch.
I clung to the back of Kelly's wheel for dear life the better part of the morning. It wasn't "windy" but there was a steady and somewhat annoying headwind so drafting saved me a little more energy for hovering over the seat.
I really didn't think I was going to make it. But then....then, I was introduced to the miracle snack food....uncrustables. WHY DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THESE BEFORE? My addiction to PB&J is widely known, yet no one felt the need to introduce me to these?!
Ok, I know its not honey wheat bread from Wild Oats with natural peanut butter and organic preserves (ohhh...moment to savor the perfect road-trip food memories.....). But still.
When I got to the second rest stop (we blew by the first one) and put my hands on this little goo-ey blob of goodness....still slightly chilled....well, instant rejuvenation is what happened. Ok, maybe not instant, but darn did it make me happy.
I managed to make it lunch and fuel up on the best fruit salad ever. And whether it was that, or the 7 ibuprofen I'd popped throughout the morning, I don't know, but something gave me a little kick in the pants. The last 25 miles seemed to sail by and before I knew it we were pulling into the state park in Sturgeon Bay and loading our bikes onto truck #1.
Ya, that's right. Truck #1! I don't know how it happened either, considering our late start and my slogging along for most of the morning, but we managed to finish fast enough to get our bikes on the first of three trucks. Not bad.
All in all a great weekend. I was kind of a slacker about picture taking but here are a few more....
There was a lot of this scenario....barns, cornfields, and what you can't see is lake michigan is about 1000 yards to our right.
And there was some of this too....a beautiful sight for a cyclist...a straight, flat road all to yourself.