This past Saturday was RAIN, the Ride Across Indiana. 160 miles, as they say, "One Way, One Day, All the way." First off, I’d like to thank all of you for your warm support and encouragement – I’m not going to lie: It was freaking hard. I decided I was ready to die at mile 120. Well, maybe not actually die, but I did become a diva at mile 120. And again at 140. But knowing I have all these great people behind me sure helped.
My mom, dad, and I got up at the ungodly hour of 4 in the morning and drove to the College of St. Mary of the Woods in West Terre Haute with our regular Thursday night ride buddies. We set out in fabulous Bethanywhere gear, and found ourselves in this giant pelaton of riders. I was a little terrified when I realized just how many bikes that thirteen hundred registered cyclists means. We rode along for awhile, met some people, appreciated all the clapping spectators. Some spectators weren’t so happy – one particularly classy toothless woman leaned out of her pickup truck and called us cyclists a few unfriendly words because we were using her very own personal highway, but we valiant RAIN riders paid her no heed.
The ride was well supported and full of mostly great riders, but it sure was long. At one point we found ourselves trapped behind a group of riders with questionable ideas about which side of the road to ride on, and this was one of the most frustrating points of the ride. We engaged in a series of sprints in an attempt to escape the crowd, and enjoyed some success, but untimely stoplights forced us back into their midst. It was during this time that the rain came. Indeed it’s very ironic, rain on the RAIN ride. Anyway, we finally pulled aside and waited for the miscreants to pass, then continued on to lunch and the 95 mile mark. My good mother brought my little sister and our family friend Michael to meet us at this stop to thoughtfully present us with a container of ice and tell us we were pretty.
After this, we pressed on. By mile 120, I was really tired. And grumpy. I went into unpleasant mode at about this point, but dad remained patient and encouraging and we plowed on. We did stop and make good use of every single rest stop provided on the ride, but I found motivation to finish in dreaming of a chocolate milkshake and a shower. Finally, when we spotted the signs declaring, “Five miles left,” and then, “One mile left,” I discovered the energy that I had really needed the entire ride but had finally uncovered. I discovered that my legs – seconds ago demanding rest, fuel, and possibly complete removal – were capable of 23 miles an hour uphill. This nonsense lasted the final two miles and petered out abruptly when I crossed the finish line. Just under twelve hours elapsed time, just under ten of those on the bike, and 16.3 miles per hour as our moving average. I was completely gone after that; the photographer had to ask me to stand with my bike for a picture by the finish line roughly 178923 times until it got through.
It was a very triumphant moment, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do RAIN. I’m not sure I have the guts to do it again next year, but 160 miles is also terrifyingly vivid at the moment so I will just ask myself again next week. One thing I will say is that my confidence in my ability is much higher, and for that I'm grateful. This week and next I have Band Camp all week, and I've had some numbness in my hands, probably from gloves a bit too tight and hand position - of course if you are on the bike for ten hours in one day, you do sort of run out of places to move your hands... Anyway, I'll be working hard to finalize logistics, and as always love so much to hear from all of you with ideas, or just a little encouragement.
Thanks again for all your wonderful support,