A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Would Ride 500 Miles

Okay, maybe not 500 miles.  But how about 126? 

Yes, between Sunday morning and Tuesday evening I rode a bike 126 miles.  I did 61 miles on Sunday and 65 miles on Tuesday.

Have I gone crazy?  Nope, I just like seeing what I can do.

Sunday was the first ever Illinois Venus de Miles bike ride.  I had SO MUCH FUN!

Several other Chicago Running Bloggers decided to become Chicago Biking Bloggers for the day. Specifically (from left to right) Lauren, me, Kelly, MacKenna, and Amanda.  Thanks to Kelly for the photo.

I hung with Kelly and MacKenna for most of the ride and while both my Garmin and my bike computer tell me I averaged about 14.5 MPH, I think that must be because of slowing down for stop lights and rest stops.  Because every time I looked at my bike computer I was doing better than 16 MPH and even managed 20 MPH for some decent stretches. 

Unless I was going up a hill.  Dang, hills are hard.  But flying on the downhills?  My favorite part.  Especially when I hit 30 MPH.  At one point I shouted, “I’m going faster than the speed limit!”  The speed limit was 25, by the way.

The rest stops were well stocked with all sort of yummy food.  And there were a lot of rest stops.  Every 10-15 miles or so.  Perfect.  I’m still figuring out what and when to eat when I’m riding my bike.  Eating little bits of things every so often seemed to do the trick and I felt strong the entire ride.

The course was gorgeous.  Full of trees and back roads and mansions.

I could have done with fewer traffic lights but the scenery mostly made up for it.  There was only one spot where we missed a turn and ended up on a really busy street, but there were enough of us that I didn’t feel too unsafe.

I admit, I was a little hesitant to sign up for this ride because of my experience with how crowded the L.A.T.E. Ride was.  Another “leisure” ride?  No, thanks.  But this wasn’t that way at all.  We had plenty of space and I was able to go as fast or as slow as I wanted. 

When I turned the final corner I was actually a bit sad to be finished.  But, a wonderful post-ride party awaited.  A taco bar?  Free cocktails, wine and beer?  Gourmet ice cream sandwiches?

Yes, please!  And, just like the course, it wasn’t too crowded.  Well, actually, there was a line for the free facials and mani-pedis but that was it.  I highly recommend this event and can’t wait for next year!

So, that was the first 61 miles.  Tuesday I borrowed a mountain bike from a member of my running club and joined Kim for her birthday gift to herself: riding the entire Lake County Des Plaines River Trail.  31ish miles from the Wisconsin border to the border of Lake County and Cook County.  All crushed limestone.  And hilly. 

We rode the first 31 miles (plus a bit more) and then stopped for lunch at Red Robin.  The second 31 miles was a lot tougher.  My right knee was sore and my lady bits were REALLY tired of being on a bike seat.  Still we persevered and finished the entire ride. 


However, I think I need to take a break from the bike for a bit to let certain parts of my anatomy recover.  Good thing I won an entry to the Chicago Half Marathon!  That will give me something to do!