Katydid didn't go this year (would that make her Katydidn't?) because she participated in a 5K with her grandson. That probably took her less than an hour, and I was on my bike for 4 hours and 6 minutes. Further proof that educated doesn't necessarily mean smart. Plus, she won in her age division, and I didn't get a bloomin' thing. Further proof... never mind.
I think I posted a picture of the route last year, but I'm posting today's again just because I think it's cool. Do you think they designed this route to look like a lion, or do you think someone rode it, uploaded the route data into a program like mine, and THEN decided it looked like a lion? I'm betting on the second option.
That middle part, where it looks like we went into the lion's intestines, represents the loop part of the ride that made the 62-mile option. The majority of people rode the 62-mile option last year; this year the majority didn't. I was in the smaller percentage of people. Further proof... never mind.
I had the route on my GPS while I was riding, so instead of concentrating on mileage or time, I kept asking myself, "Where in the hell on that $#!*#($ lion AM I?" When I made the turn on the nose and started up the "face" of the lion, I felt a little bit better. But not much, because being familiar with the route and the location, I knew there were still some difficult times ahead.
The total elevation gained over this route was 2256 feet. In comparison, the most recent 50-mile+ rides we have done have had total elevation gained of: 1525 (Mississippi), 1812 (Spring Tune-Up), 1826 (Spring Tune-Up), 1610 (Best Dam Ride Ever), and 944 (St. Patrick's Day Century). So my suffering toward the end of the ride was not imaginary - it was hard work, even compared to other rides of similar length. And it was hot, hot, hot.
There were a couple of things that made me less effusive in my praise of this ride than I was last year. For one thing, the ride was slated to start at 9:00, with registration beginning at 7:30. I got there sometime between 7:30 and 8:00 (probably closer to 8:00), and it seemed like an ETERNITY before the ride started. I rode around in circles (didn't even count those "miles"), meandered to the front of the line in the hope of encouraging other rides to do the same, even said to a few people, "Let's go already!" With the temperatures predicted to approach 90 degrees today, it seemed to me that an earlier start would have been preferable. Or maybe two different starts, with the 62-mile folks leaving earlier. I realize it's difficult to get volunteers out there at the crack of dawn, but personally I would have relished those 45-60 minutes of cooler riding.
The ride officials and a couple of people at the rest stops kept singing the praises of a restaurant that would be providing lunch at the end of the ride. I wasn't that hungry at the end (I never am), but I didn't do a very good job of eating properly on the ride today (more on that in a moment). So I lined up at the food tent when I got back, and the choices were a hamburger or chicken tacos. Um...neither? The guy in charge of the tent sensed my disappointment and said he could make me a grilled chicken sandwich. Then I heard the girl taking orders tell a couple, "That'll be $5 each."
Wait. I thought it was INCLUDED? The couple thought so too, and they said they didn't have any money and turned away. I did the same, a little irritated. I HAD money on my bike (a few yards away), but I was mostly embarrassed that I thought it was included and it wasn't. I turned to go, and the guy said, "I've already made yours, so let us feed you." I was more embarrassed than hungry, though, so I said no thanks and walked away.
I'm not sure where I got the idea that the lunch was part of the bike ride, but it's not uncommon. And obviously I wasn't the only person who thought so. So while it may have been my own misunderstanding, that was a bit of a disappointment.
On a positive note, however, I stopped at Dairy Queen right after leaving the ride location. It was only about a 20-minute drive home, but I was in desperate need of something COLD to drink. (The water in my bottles was like bath water by then.) I intended to get the largest size diet soft drink they sold, but then something on the menu caught my eye: Frozen Hot Chocolate. In a choice of peanut butter, caramel, and something else. I got a medium, and that was the best drink I think I've ever had in my whole life. I realize it likely had a gazillion calories in it (but perhaps less than a milkshake? maybe?), but it was WAY refreshing. And perked me up for the trip home.
I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I did manage a few.
|The ride organizer FINALLY convinced the others riders to move up there with the grumpy middle-aged woman who was waiting impatiently right behind the sheriff's deputy's car.|
|These signs even turn up on organized rides. Sorry for the poor angle, but I didn't plan far enough in advance. Luckily we turned left.|
|The church where I got married (the first time). I thought I took a picture of the church itself, but apparently I had slid the selector to "video." Drat.|
|The house where I lived from 1973 until I got married in 1982. I don't remember what year Mom sold it, but I was heartbroken.|