Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fiesta Wildflower Ride

The Fiesta Wildflower ride in Selma was this morning, and it was great! I do so much riding by myself that I'm always looking for group rides on Sundays. It had 25, 40, 65, and 100 mile options and back in January when I signed up, I picked the 65 mile, which is a metric century or 100k. Last week, I decided I would probably just do the 40, and then after a week of stomach flu, I was hoping I could finish the 25! But it was a nice morning, even though I was exhausted after work and staying up late to see Avenue Q (which was really good- I highly recommend it!) The wind picked up as soon as the sun rose, and was a steady 15 mph with gusts up to 30- that's a lot of wind!

We set off at 8, and I was hoping to do the 40, but there was a turn about midway to join the 25ers to end up with 30, so I had that as an escape plan. There were a lot of rolling hills to start, but nothing too bad. With 1000 riders total, there were a lot of cyclists on the road and it was great. I enjoyed the people watching, and chatting, and it wasn't too bad getting too close or bunched up. The main problem was I needed to pee right from the start! I knew there were rest stops every 10 miles, and I was dying to go when we rolled in. The first stop had only 1 port o pottie, and had already run out of all the food except oranges. And there were stout barbed wire fences at the edges of the road, so no place to get some privacy behind a tree. And I was not going to wait until mile 20, so I was in line for about 30 minutes. It was a long time! And by the time I was back on the bike, I was at the end of the pack and kicking myself for not passing the rest stop and finding a convenient tree a mile down the road. I hustled to keep pace with the group ahead, and worried the sag wagon would come behind like it has before and is so awful!

But at the next rest stop, there was the pack again. I got a quick snack and was back on the road shortly, back in the middle of the pack. From then on, I had good groups around me, and no worries about being last. And because it's not a race or a triathlon, there is a much calmer, more relaxed attitude. People stop for 20 minutes at rest stops just to chat and eat. There are no drafting rules, so you can ride side by side if there's no traffic. I really enjoyed it! And the roads were okay, mostly smaller, rural roads, so not in perfect condition, but with such a large group, the cars were a lot more polite in giving plenty of passing room.

I passed the short cut turnoff with no question I felt strong enough to do the full 40. One more rest stop at mile 30 for oranges- they really hit the spot! I talked with two guys on recumbent tricycles- I'd like to try that, but I think they look silly. The last five miles were more in the suburbs and relentless hills. My legs were a little tired, and I was ready to be done, but it was not ready to be done with me. Luckily I chatted with a woman in a Team in Training jersey who is training for her first tri at CapTex- the same race I trained with TNT for last year! And that made the last two miles go by more quickly, and then we were done! It's funny to me that people think I'm the expert, or look up to me for what I've done. But at the same time, I think I am a good example that anyone who wants to try it, should try it.

The end was not nearly as well stocked as the rest stops, and only had personal pan pizzas and water. And no music- not even the radio. I ate my pizza and then was ready to be out of the wind, so I headed home. After a quick shower, I crashed on the couch with the kittens for a good catnap. HA!

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