A Weekend Marathon (or Six)

This weekend was the first time I’ve done several consecutive rides of significant distance – and I was surprised and pleased with the result!

On Saturday, Dad and I rode a metric century – it was difficult but we had a good time. This ride, I decided to pull out my bike-mounted speakers for the first time. I also compiled a playlist of mostly 80s hits and classic rock to be the soundtrack of the ride. Being a music person, I’m 90% faster when I’ve got music going because that somehow gives me about as much energy as food does. So far, the best song on the playlist is “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” by OneDirection because boybands just have that kind of power. However, Duran Duran’s “Rio” is definitely the getting taken off because that sax solo at the end is murder when it’s assaulting your ears as you’re trucking up a sizeable hill. 

There were a few strange looks when we arrived at a sag stop accompanied by Vivaldi, but it works for me so I’m going to keep on providing myself with a cycling soundtrack.

Sunday, Dad and I met up with our good friend Julie from the Thursday night CIBA rides out of our candle shop, and biked a 54 mile loop from Franklin Central High School to the Franklin (City) McDonalds and back. I was a little nervous about my legs cramping up after the significant ride the day before. For the first ten miles, I was not feeling it. I felt slow and uncomfortable, and I was dreading the next 40 miles of sweatiness and soreness and grumpiness.

At my tired, slow pace, I found myself riding with an older couple. I was actually just about to pass them when the woman smiled and introduced herself. I adjusted my pace and responded, and joked about being the back of the pack. She mentioned how she and her husband didn’t ride as much as they used to, mainly because in 2008 they had stopped cycling seriously to train for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’m fascinated by all things travel and epic (hence the bike ride) and so I spent the next half an hour listening to her amazing travels all over the world. She and her husband had not only summitted Kilimanjaro, they had climbed an ancient Incan trail to Macchu Picchu, they had embarked upon an African Safari, they had visited Poland and all of Europe, they had experienced “five star hotels” in Tanzania and Kenya, they had fended off lecherous men in Egypt, and were headed off to Costa Rica in two weeks. Listening to her incredible stories, and the kinds of discomforts and frustrations that one encounters outside of the comfortable first world of America, I was inspired. Riding my bike and knowing that I can stop every ten miles to pamper myself with air conditioning and clean sheets and fast food suddenly doesn’t seem like that much of a sacrifice anymore. For the rest of the ride, nothing really bothered me or made me terribly uncomfortable. I ended up zoning out to Mumford and Sons and leaving my Dad and Julie behind, and didn’t notice until I’d reached railroad tracks and stopped to get my bearings. I’m not usually the pack leader, but something about that couple’s experiences has really motivated me to get out of my comfort zone. I’d never felt as good on a ride as I felt for the last half of that ride.

Monday was Memorial Day, and so Dad and I went out again on the same ride. This time we rode in a larger group with some of CIBA’s stronger riders. I found myself in a perfect spot, right behind a fellow who was pulling his two Schnauzer puppies in a little covered wagon. I was highly amused watching them fall over each other and jostle for postion, then give up and fall asleep in the way that all dogs eventually do. I also got a fabulous draft and found myself comfortably going at a speed that is usually more of a struggle. Again, I had concerns that my riding in over the past few days would contribute to leg cramps and soreness, but I felt loose and comfortable. When we reached McDonalds’ that morning, a few regulars were amused at our sweaty return, and I feasted upon a definitely healthy cheeseburger mostly likely manufactured out of car tires. We did cut that ride a little shorter than the day before, ending with a grand total of about 43 miles, because by that time I was a little uncomfortable and I wanted to get back so I could study for finals.

This weekend proved a couple of interesting things – first, that I can physically ride long distances for consecutive days. (We covered just over 160 miles over three days - a little more than six marathons - Woohoo!)  Second, that most pain and discomfort can be ignored if I think big picture. And dream about climbing Macchu Picchu myself one day.

Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to do as much biking as I would like to in this coming week due to the unvanquished beast that is final exams, but I’m looking forward to fitting at least one more CIBA ride in to finish our 500 CIBA miles in May goal – and getting a free jersey for it of course.

Also, because of the huge success of my bike speakers, I’m looking for new ideas for good songs to put on the playlist. If you have any music suggestions, please comment! I’m going to be on my bike for seven hundred miles and the background music is most likely what’s going to keep me on that bike.