Wednesday, August 14

Recap: Bike MS 2013

Per usual life gets in the way and the recap I should have written about 3 weeks ago is just coming out today. You probably know the drill though, life > blogging. Anyways let's get this recap started.

The day before Bike MS I spent the day at work while Erik spent the day on a long training ride (120 miles). He had left at 10 PM Thursday night and got back to his house early Friday morning. It was his last real training ride before his Hardcore 24 mountain bike race, but more on that another time. Erik had the day off and met me at my house after I got out of work. After installing my birthday present and loading our bikes we were off. Well, after a quick stop for some much needed caffeine at Tim Hortons we were off.

We had about a 1 1/2 -2 hour drive and when we finally made it to Penn Yan we were starving. Trying to find someplace to eat in a small town at 8 oclock at night is no easy task, especially if you're a vegetarian. Of course Erik, who will eat anything and everything, is always to please and we ended up at some bar eating greasy food. As someone who eats pretty cleanly 90% of the time eating a plate full of greasy food probably wasn't the best idea. Luckily my parents had arrived earlier in the day and were able to grab our room keys for us and when we finally got to campus we found my parents hanging out drinking Yuengling in the common area with some other volunteers. After catching up with them over a beer (beer is a carb - carbloading?) we headed to bed. I can't say sleeping on dorm beds is my preferred method to getting a restful sleep but you take what you can get I suppose.

After a night of probably not enough sleep it was 6 am and we were up getting ready for the day. We made our way outside where we were greeted with overcast conditions and a bit of rain. After downing some more carbs, this time in bagel form, we finished grabbing our gear and we lined up for the start. At 7:30 we were off. The orginal route for the century this year was actually around 94ish miles...about 6 short that the full 100. I had warned Erik that we would be riding a solid 100 at least and would bypass the finish and continue on until we were actually finished. 

As you can see from the graphic below we went above and beyond our 100 and ended the day with 107.5 thanks to one very wrong turn. Around mile 14 we picked up a rider, Larry, who was out by himself for the day. Larry decided that he was going to try and ride with us for the day and we were happy to have company along the way. Of course, shortly after having Larry join we took the wrong loop (we were supposed to go down it, just not until mile 55 or so...) and hit a nice downhill section and had the wind at our backs so we were flying. About 6 miles in we realized we were going the wrong way and so we were forced to back track back up the hill and into the wind. You can see our mistake outlined in the orange box below.

I was certain the extra 12 miles or so would lead to Larry hating us and probably going his own way, but he was happy to continue on with us surprisingly. Larry who was about 60 years old kept joking that we were making him ride faster than planned, but in a good way of course. 

The extra 12 miles meant a lot of the riders had passed us so we did a lot of passing for the next 15 miles or so as we made our way back to the front of the pact. This is a charity ride so you have a lot of people at different levels on bikes and I usually try to encourage people up hills or encourage them when they look like they are having a rough time. For the most part people were friendly but one guy was not a fan of a chick passing him and gave me the nastiest stare as he tried to speed up and pass me. I of course found this pretty funny and was easily able to push up my effort a bit and roll by him quickly.

We only stopped at rest areas this year and kept our stops pretty short. Basically it was a chance to stretch quickly, refill bottles, and shove some food in your mouth. Unlike last year were I only consumed gels I only ate about 2 this year and spent the rest of the time snacking on real food, like bananas with peanut butter and fig newtons. While the weather remained overcast most of the day it was pretty windy and humid. I drank about 5 full bottles of Nuun/Gatorade/water and was still dehydrated when I was done. 

Around mile 78 or so we hit our last rest stop and the weather was turning quickly. The wind picked up significantly and the skies turned dark. We helped the rest area pack up some of there things so they wouldn't blow away and then took off. As soon as we hit the route again it just started down pouring with a nasty headwind. I tucked in behind Larry and just focused on keeping my bike on the road. It was probably about 70ish degrees out at this point and getting smacked in the face with freezing cold rain sucked.

After a awesome downhill section back into Penn Yan we were back in town and had a quick ride back to the college. About 1 mile out I went to bump up my gears so I could sprint to the end and the cable that basically lets you shift (i.e. the shifter cable) broke. My chain dropped to the smallest ring, which on a triple, is SMALL and I was forced to spin like a madwomen to the finish. 

Even though it's not a race, I was happy to be the first woman back. My mom snapped this picture of us at the finish. I was quite surprised how good I look after riding that long...I could have probably used a brush though.
We were able to get cleaned up back in the room and then meet my parents once their volunteering shift ended and head to the dining hall for dinner. Last year we had a great catered meal out on the lawn, but this year it was in the dining hall and dinner was iffy. Of course, my appitate after a long ride usually dissapears so maybe I'm not the best judge of food for the evening. We slipped out early during the speeches and said our goodbyes. My parents were heading home and Erik and I were heading to a nearby state park for a little camping. 

Overall it was a great way to spend my 25th birthday. The night ended with a bottle of wine, baguette, cheese, fruit and chocolate. In the end, who can really complain with that?

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