Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hilly Riding

My alarm was set for 3:45 AM, a time that no human should ever get up, especially one that is not a morning person.  I used to go to bed at this time, but today it was my wake up time all in the quest to ride 100 miles on my bike.

Since beginning running again, I forgot how much I enjoy biking.  Today, with the cool weather and windy conditions felt perfect for a run.  Instead, I drove over an hour with 2 friends to ride my bike.  The organized ride didn't have much information about the route online.  We didn't know what to expect, so when we got to the registration I inquired.  "Is it hilly?"  This is the first and most critical question for any person who lives in the pancake-flat state of Illinois.  "The last 25 of the 100 mile route are quite challenging" responded a guy dressed in matching bike gear from Trek from head to toe.  That answer, right there, sealed our fate.  We were not going to attempt 100.  50?  Sure. 75?  We'll see.

I am not an experienced rider.  I don't know how to change the tire on my bike, or put air in them.  I rely 100% on my friends to take care of my bike.  Luckily, they enjoy helping me out.  After I wheeled my bike over to the guy who was checking bikes before the ride to put air in my tires and check it out, we set out 25 miles until the first rest stop.  Those were the toughest 25 miles I have ever biked in my life.  It was one hill after the next.  And then another one for good measure.  However, all of the hills were worth it because the scenery was absolutely spectacular.  And, the aid station was just as nice.

There were many people at the aid station because the 50, 75 and 100 mile routes all stopped there.  On of my friends wanted to get his biked checked out by the bike people working, so I went to eat.  I was hungry, and trail mix is always served at these events.  I've never met a cup of trail mix that I did not like.  Now, this was no ordinary aid station.  Many things happened here:

  1. We had our picture taken by the guy from the host bike club.  Apparently, he is uploading all of the pictures on their Facebook page, something he was rather nervous about.  
  2. The bike repair guys asked my guy friend and the other girl we were with if he was my dad.  
  3. I met another type 1 diabetic because of his cycling jersey.  As I was eating trail mix and looking at the lake we were by, I saw his jersey, which said something about diabetes Research Foundation on it.  My other friend and I talked with him for a bit.  I learned about an organization for diabetic rides and his experience with riding with them.  His coach was also riding with him, who also was a type 1 diabetic.  
I ended biking 56 miles today.  Was I disappointed that I didn't bike 100?  Not really.  I am more proud that I made it 56 on a hilly course in tough conditions.  The riding season is far from over, and I know I'll get that coveted 100 mile ride before fall ends.  

Have you ever failed at something, but viewed it as a success?  

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