Trek Women
August 30, 2007

HELL-o Hills!

Jencarlamissyride07 My inaugural ride on my new Trek Equinox 7 WSD was a charity ride I signed up for with my friend and fellow Team Survivor teammate Carla.  The local event is in its second year and is called Tri for Missy.  The event is actually a whole triathlon broken over a series of days.  Anyone is welcome to do any or all portions of it.  The "race" benefits a local triathlete, Missy Flynn, who suffered a brain aneurysm two years ago.  The money raised helps pay for her therapy and medical costs.

I have never done a charity ride before and didn't know what to expect.  Other than in a race, I have always ridden by myself or with other gal pals from Team Survivor. I didn't know where we would be riding (other than where we were starting) and my bike was still brand spanking new to me.  My odometer had a total of 3 miles on it when I showed up Saturday morning at Tyler State Park.

So, Carla and I went through our last minute preparations - you know - "Am I going to be cold in this shirt?"  "What if it rains?"  "What did you eat for breakfast"  "Do you have any idea how this works?"  (You know, the usual woman getting ready to head out stuff!)  We made our way over to the check-in table and got our cue sheet for the 25 mile ride (also offered were a 50, 63, 75 or 100 mile ride).

When we got the cue sheet - (okay hello what's this?),- we tried to look nonchalant off to the side while we worked on figuring it out - we found it was really a 30 mile ride.  No biggie - we just had to figure out now how to read the cue sheet.  So, feeling bold I went back to the check-in table and said "I have a dumb question."  It was at this point that Suzanne from my bike shop, Guys Bicycles, (organizers of the bike portion of the event - fabulous job Bob!), said "I was just telling all these people about your Trek thing!"  Great.  Now my dumb question felt even dumber.  Luckily, bike people are cool people and were happy to tutor us on the whole cue sheet business.  Lesson learned.

Once we understood the mileage on each road and the turn by turn directions we were set.  That is until we got back to our bikes, looked at each other and said, "How are we going to hold this and know where to turn?"  So, after some thinking we came up with this solution:  I would keep the sheet in my bike bag that is on my top tube within easy reach.  I would read out the names of the next 3 to 4 roads and Carla would try and remember them.   After we got off to a slow start, involving a lot of "Do we turn here?"  I figured out that there were some very nice spray painted arrows at each turn!  I'm not sure if its a woman thing or just lack of experience with these kind of rides, but I have a feeling a lot more of the men on the ride were just using the "heck, we'll figure it out eventually" attitude.

The ride was great for the first number of miles - we started to relax and I was working on my Zen with my Equinox and then HELLO!!, we turned into a big hill.  We got to the top, excited at the downhill prospects, only to spy what looked like a steeper hill in the distance.  For the sake of brevity (okay, if you're this far you know this story isn't brief), this steep hill business went on for a number of miles - let's call it the rest of the ride.  Toward the end we hit one hill that was the monster of all hills.  It went up and then made an S turn.  At this point I had no idea if I should just power up it - hoping that the turn would be the top OR, try to reserve a little energy in case that turn was really just leading to more hill.  I was tired so I down shifted, and then down shifted and then down shifted and then eventually ran out of gears. . .I think I was riding backwards at one point.  I found the humor in it once I got to the downhill. 

After that we only had about 6 miles left.  During those 6 miles another rider caught up to us saying "Nothing like some women riding up in front to make me work harder!"  I took it as a compliment!  We got to chatting and he asked where we were headed.  I said "Back to the start."  He looked at me blankly.  Turns out he was just out for a long ride and wasn't part of the event.  When we told him why we were riding he told us a story of riding with Missy Flynn one time and what a great triathlete she was.  He asked where he could send a donation.  Not only did he help point out our final turns, we got a great story tied to the reason we were doing the ride in the first place.  As a relative newbie biker, it was great to hear how friendly and interconnected the bike community is in my area.

At the end of the 30 miles we were spent, our quads were burning and we needed a serious nap.  But, (after my quads stopped burning) I realized that I would have never chosen that ride on my own (love to ride flat!) but it definitely taught me that I have more legs and riding capability that I thought.  In fact, we were so happy with the ride at the end we have saved the cue sheet so we can do it again some time!




Kristin passed your blog link on to me and I am very impressed. After reading your entries I can see that your biking is becoming stronger and stronger.

I agree, cue sheets are a drag at times.

I am slowly working up to my former mileage and would be happy to join you on your training rides. If you ride enough in Bucks, you will learn to love the hills and the beautiful views they afford.

Posted by: Michael Sullivan | Sep 3, 2007 12:59:14 PM

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