My First Century – Gran Solo

With the Full Aquabike looming at the end of July, it was time to tackle my first 100-mile ride. Anyone who knows me well knows I try to keep all my cycling workouts off-road ‘cause that’s how I roll. I do my hill workouts by hitting the trails on my knobby tires. I do my time on the trainer with the Spinervals DVDs. And I do my other rides on the bike paths in the area.

Sometimes I luck out and have company on those bike path rides. But on this beautiful Saturday, it didn’t work out. I had to go solo. Todd was supportive, but knew I had a rough week with way too many deadlines, etc. “Listen to your body. If you’re not feeling it, you can bail and do it next week.” I knew he was right.

I have never ridden 100 miles on the bike in my life. I had no idea how my body would react after not having enough sleep or calories the previous 10 days. I just knew I wanted it behind me, so I could focus more on my open water swimming for the race.

Funny how these big workouts feel like races, prepping the bottles, lubing the bike, laying out the clothes and the snacks the night before. I had my first cup of coffee at 4:45 a.m. Parked my car near the bike path just after sunrise. Started the Garmin at 6:21 a.m. To help acclimate to the heat of Santa Rosa, I did the entire workout in layers – tights, long-sleeve shirt, and bike jacket.

For some odd reason, I felt the best I’ve ever felt on the bike. (What a difference: Last weekend, I had to cut my hill workout short.) For some really odd reason, time seemed to pass quickly too. You never know what (or who) you’re going to see out on the bike path.

There were two highlights of this ride. I saw an older guy riding down the path on a beach cruiser without a helmet wearing safety goggles – like the ones you’d use with a power saw. And as I pulled into a park to hit the little girls room, I met a woman unloading her tri bike. Turns out it was Deena from Survivor Amazon! It was fun to talk with her briefly about her adventures and triathlon. Then it was back to business and the remaining 76 miles ahead of me. After six hours and forty-five minutes of ride time, I stopped the Garmin at exactly 100 miles – with a view of the Pacific Ocean and the smell of salt air and smoke from barbecue grills. Even though the bike path is kind of flat in comparison to others places, I still ended up doing almost 2400 feet of climbing. Yay! Okay, sometimes this blogging truly just feels like bragging, but I’m over-the-moon happy that I reached this milestone after rehabbing my knee and leg for a solid year and a half. And it was always the mystery of the universe how all the other people I know and admire rode that far before. Just gotta keep pedaling.

Who knows if I’ll ever get on a podium in triathlon, but Todd made me feel like I won the yellow jersey when he surprised me last night with these beautiful yellow-and-red roses!