Sunday, June 6, 2010

Trying to Bike a Double Century

I have a sad story to tell.

It was the RAIN ride of 2007.

This story doesn't start out sadly.

We were lined up in Illinois in the pre-dawn gray - full of anticipation!

All 1200 of us were in great shape - having prepared for months for this big bike ride across Indiana.

160 miles in one day!

Most of the riders were young men - in very good shape.

I was a 51 year old lady with gray hair - but also in pretty good shape.

And we had a tailwind!

That's all anyone would talk about.

....a 17 mile per hour tailwind that would sling us from Illinois to Ohio in a shot.

We were so excited.

We could hardly wait for Joe to finish the countdown...


...Let the RAIN begin!

Pedals clicked and off we spun!

Yes! It was a grand ride.

We were laughing and singing... telling jokes.

The pedals were spinning with ease.

Most of the guys used this tailwind to finish the ride in record time.

Not me...I am slow.

But I'm persistent...

When I crossed the finish line and Joe handed me my medallion...

"Congratulations!" he said.

"Oh, I'm not done yet," I exclaimed.

I spun my bike around and headed out onto 40 - east into Ohio.

Things were hurting - feet, hands - but nothing too bad.

I could do this.

The sun went down behind me and the world got softer.

Shades of gray.


The breeze continued to push me down the road.

It was getting darker.

I knew my husband Tom would be coming to get me.

I went faster.

I wanted to get as many miles under my wheels as possible before he showed up.

It got dark.
Unfamiliar road.
What if I hit a pothole?
What if a dog got me?

I was in the unknown territory of the Buckeye State.
I was scared.

But look at that Cateye!
I had gone 189 miles!

And I still felt strong.

Still going 16 MPH!

Kept listening for the sound of Tom behind me.

I wanted him there in case something went wrong.

But I wanted to reach my goal.

Could I do it?

Mile 190!

The Highlander pulled in front of me.

10:00 at night.

Tom said, "Get in. You're tired."


Meekly I got in the car as he hoisted my bike in the back.
I should have argued, yes?
But I was akilter.

Mind buzzed with speed and distance, I was afraid if I argued he'd leave and I'd be lost in Ohio with no way home.

I knew he was tired.
He had driven 192 miles that day and he was ready for bed.

Of course, I had been biking the same distance and burned up some zillion calories...
...and I was only 8 miles from an incredible life goal.

Later, when my mind returned, I got mad.
And I stayed mad at him for 2 years...


(to be continued...)
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