Two weekends ago I participated in the Ride for Hope metric century in Tallahassee, FL to benefit the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center (http://therideforhope.com/). I decided to sign up a few days beforehand and was impressed with the ride before I even signed up!
Granted it is only my 2nd road-ride event EVER, I don’t have much to compare it to… Anyhow, back to my story – I signed up to get in a good long ride with some extra motivation. I was apparently VERY hydrated as I awoke about 8 times to go pee throughout the night. I also realized that I should embrace my odd eating habits as I had a PowerBar, V8, and a Starbucks Frappuccino Vanilla Light for breakfast and felt GREAT! The morning was overcast – even better! Nice and cool. As I head out of the parking area with my bike I am greeted by other Higher Ground-ers prepping for the ride and bravely ask if they have any Chamois Butt’r or the like. This promptly followed with some jokes about sharing already-applied chamois nastiness (in other words they didn’t have any). Just when I thought I was out of luck, a fellow rider shared a sample of AsMASTER anti-chafing creme (Soothes Tenderloins)! Yeah!
As I walk up to the start I see the century already gathering and I realize how nice it is to only think about one event. I see a few friends and colleagues and meet a few more athletes before the start and am feeling good about the ride. The countdown begins and I am immediately in front – not necessarily where I want to be for a draft-legal ride. As I rotate through, I notice how many folks are on their aero bars in the pace line. I finally get to the back of the line and it is an accordion = motivation to stay near the front! As I work my way back up to the front, I keep an eye out for those who aren’t pulling long, or not at all = those I don’t want to get stuck behind when the lead group takes off. As I work my way up, I discovered that those with very hairy butts should NEVER wear white bike shorts!!! There should be a law! Blahhhh!! I get back in the front = my turn to pull and I look up to see a nice size hill. As I push it up the hill one of the guys surges by me = no biggie, I catch onto another following. Another surges = CRAP! I gave it everything I had to stay with them; I didn’t want to lose the pack this early in the ride. I was worried that they would try to hold that pace and I wouldn’t hang on, but I tried anyhow and prayed that they’d back off soon…they did! I looked back and no one was to be seen – and then there were 4. We rotated quite a bit through most of the ride. I was so excited to still be with them! Sweat was flying and I felt like the Geico Pig – Weeeeeeeeee, Wee, Wee, Weeeeeeee!
I thought sweat was pelting me in the face for a little while before it started raining hard. I was relieved I wasn’t getting drenched with some guy’s body fluids… yucky! Unfortunately, I also forgot my clear glasses so I was making some pretty interesting faces as I unsuccessfully tried to avoid getting a ton of water and road wash in my eyes. This helped pass time until Rob, one of the last 4 of us, surged again. I went with and … then there were 2… We passed through the final timing sensor at the same time and chatted around the corner until we rode through the finisher chute (which was inside the fairgrounds to avoid a typically busy road). We took off again to pass through the finish chute since they were taking pictures there – Say cheese!
At the finish there were a bunch of spectators and supporters cheering us on in the rain! They had orange juice, real fruit juice, coffee, pizza, soda, bagels, and all sorts of other yummy food and that didn’t include the Gordos and Banditos they had for lunch! Rob and I were both presented with winner’s jerseys since we crossed at the same time. First time I’ve won a jersey at an event! Great end to an awesome, albeit wet, event! Now off to nap!