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March 27, 2011

That’s German for bike rally.

Yesterday was awesome! I talked before about how I wanted to get more comfortable on my bike because I hadn’t really ridden it out on the road very much. I decided a great way to do this would be to sign up for group bike rides. Riding alone on the road can be scary. There’s always traffic to deal with and then the idea of being stranded alone with a flat tire doesn’t sound too appealing.

The Fahrradreisen ride is a part of the Tomball German Festival. The German Fest is a three day event full of riding, music, crafts, and fun food like turkey legs and funnel cakes. All the benefits of the race went toward the TX Wheels of Justice, a charity that raises money for fallen officer’s families. It’s always wonderful to do something athletic for a great cause!

The ride had 3 course options of 10, 41, and 51 miles. My intention when signing up was to complete the 41 miles, but towards the end of the week I was feeling a little gutsy so I decided to just go for the 51.

My morning started fairly early around 6 with a cup of coffee and some peanut butter toast and half of a banana. I packed my bag full of 2 water bottles, my ID, a clif bar, my garmin, phone, and loaded my bike.

I got to the ride around 7:45 and quickly realized I’d made a huge rookie mistake. I forgot my helmet!! The ride started at 8:00 and there was no way I could make it all the way home and back in time for the start of the ride. I started asking around if any riders had an extra helmet and thankfully some kind cyclists lent me one. (Thank you whoever you are!) They told me I could just return the helmet to the bed of their truck when I was done.

The ride began at 8 and it was really cool to have the police escorts and motorcyclists rally around us. I’d never done a bike event so this was a new thing for me. For the ride I had a goal in my head to stay around 15 mph for the ride, but really I just wanted to get through the 50 miles.

Miles 1-8 flew by until we got to the first rest stop. It was kind of gloomy outside because the clouds hadn’t broken yet, but it was a nice morning. All of the rest stops were stocked really well with bananas, oranges, granola bars, cheetos, Gatorade and water. I had an orange slice and some water and chatted with a group of cyclists who were trying to convince me to do the MS 150 in their group.

I got back on my bike for another 12 miles until the next rest stop. The scenery was starting to get really pretty as we were cycling through some rural neighborhoods. One of the motorcycle cops was riding next to me the whole time chatting with me and he turned his radio on so I could have some tunes. The support for the race was great. There were motorcycle officers at every intersection and along the whole course making sure we cyclists stayed safe. These miles seemed even easier than the first leg. I feel like my body is built for distance because runs and cycles seem to get easier the longer I’m going. At the second rest stop I had a granola bar and some water.

We covered miles 20-30 until the next rest stop. These miles were really fun! It was a long stretch of road straight through the Texas country side. It was a lot of up and down hill on a pretty country road. It started to get hot and humid because the sun had just come out. My legs were feeling the distance a little bit and I was starting to feel really hungry on the ride, so I had a banana and an orange slice. Next time I think I’m going to eat a bigger breakfast.

Miles 30-40 were a little tough because it started to get pretty windy and it felt a lot more uphill than down, but I was going on keeping about the same pace and staying in the middle of the pack. Mile 40 was the last stop where I had another granola bar and some Gatorade. I overheard another cyclist joke about how it was all downhill from here (figuratively- not literally) because we were going to be heading straight into the wind for the rest of the ride.

Not gonna lie- miles 40-50 were pretty tough. We were riding into the wind and I was feeling pretty ready to be done. I had done a really good job of keeping about a 16 MPH pace for the first 40 miles and then my pace dropped down to about 12-13 MPH for this leg.

I was so glad and feeling pretty proud when we made the turn and I saw we were at the finish.  I ate my cliff bar and had some water when I got back to my car. I felt like I ate so much on this ride, but my tummy was grumbling the whole time. I’d burned a good 2,000 calories so some fueling was definitely needed and appreciated by my stomach!

Up to this point I’d never ridden my bike more than 21 miles. I’ve never gone out for an event to complete something I’d just never done before. Usually I train and train and over prepare for a race or an event. It was nice to actually go out and do something that I had never done before and that I hadn’t really trained for. I felt like I got a little tougher yesterday and hit a new milestone.

I finished in 3 hours and 22 minutes at an average pace of 14.6 MPH. Pretty close to my goal pace, and hey I wasn’t last ;-)!  Sadly, when I went to return the helmet the person I borrowed from was already gone. I’m going to leave the helmet in my car and pay it forward for a cylists in need when or if I ever get the opportunity.

I really enjoyed the camaraderie of cyclists in general. People were friendly and chatted with you along the course and at the rest stops. It seemed to be a group where everyone knew each other and everyone had a friend or group they were riding with. I’d love to do more of these events to meet people and be a part of a cycling group.  All in all it was an A+ experience and I enjoyed the challenge.

Have you ever done a bike event? What’s the farthest length you’ve conquered on your bike?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2011 10:18 AM

    I LOVEEEEEEE to BIKE. Oh and just letting you know I nominated you for an award 🙂

  2. Forrestgump49er permalink
    March 28, 2011 10:48 AM

    That was MY helmet! jk…glad you were in reach of your goal pace! Keep up the good work!

  3. shiningfromwithin permalink
    March 28, 2011 4:13 PM

    I would FREAK if I left my helmet home!!! That’s a good idea to pay it forward :). Congrats on your ride, there’s nothing better than accomplishing something that you didn’t plan on doing (51 miles, wowza).
    I love being spontaneous! Way to go 😀

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