This isn’t the post I planned on writing. It’s not an epic recap of two back-to-back 50 mile bike rides. It’s not even a tale of two 40 mile bike rides. In fact, it’s not a story of two bike rides at all.

It’s about one 18 mile ride on a Saturday morning. The end.

There’s a lot of people out there that could eat an 18 mile ride for breakfast. I’m not one of them, so I’m still proud of my accomplishment, I just wish it could’ve been more.

But let me back up and start at the beginning.

cycling event

I’m a casual type A {if there is such a thing}. The night before a race or event involves knocking out The List: the to-dos, the prep, the ducks in a row. Equipment ready to go, bags packed, food prepped, maps printed, race numbers pinned, and plans made.

Friday night I put the babe to bed and came downstairs to start The List. I stopped being nervous about our upcoming ride and started getting excited. I detoured out to the garage before making dinner to give the bike tires one last pump of air and check on the husband’s bike-rack building progress.

He was holding the bike latch package in his hand, utility knife poised to cut through the zip ties, knife pointing towards him. Just as I started to utter the words, “Well that’s a good way to hurt yourself”, IT happened.

getting stitchesemergency room visit

I saw the blade jam into his wrist, right where that vital artery hides. I looked up at him and said, “Hospital?”. When he barely hesitated before saying yes, I knew it was time to go- and fast.

bike hitch and knife accident

I darted up the stairs, scooped the babe out of bed, and we were off.

3 hours and 6 giant stitches later we came home. It was way past my bedtime and The List was not getting tackled.

The husband was lucky- he missed all the important arteries and tendons, but he wouldn’t be able to ride in the morning as he was unable to squeeze the brakes on his bike.

trek madone road bike

Saturday morning rolled around far too soon and I scrambled to get everything together. I dragged the wounded husband out of bed to help me rack my bike and collect my pump supplies while I fed the baby. {Those are 2 things I’ve never had to include in race-day prep.Winking smile}

I hopped in the car with a mug of coffee and allergy-friendly granola bar and started the 45 minute trek to the park. I sat at the stoplight waiting to get on the highway and thought about turning around and going home. I was going to be late, I was by myself {my other team members didn’t meet the fundraising minimum}, I was tired, hungry, and didn’t want to leave my family. Most of all, I had serious doubts about my ability to complete even the shortest ride of the event.

tour to tanglewood park bike ms

I pulled into the park, jumped on my bike, and rode through the grass to the start line where I barely paused before we took off. My number was half hanging off my bike and I didn’t pack any fuel. Not the prepared approach I normally take.

bike ms

The course started in the park before heading out to the local streets. The park is full of long, gradual hills and speed bumps that aren’t so fun on a road bike. It was a bit of brutal awakening and didn’t do too much to boost my confidence. My feet were already numb {they never get numb} and my hip ached where I tweaked it getting stuck in my pedals during a training ride.

As we turned out of the park onto the roads, I recognized the first part of the course from the triathlon I did in the same park. I hoped I wouldn’t be repeating that sequence of events. {Chain falling off, getting stuck, waiting for help…}

The roads were fairly quite and traffic wasn’t much of an issue. I had a couple riders in sight so I could follow their lead when it came to maneuvering around cars and waiting for traffic. At one point we got stuck behind a Bobcat –the equipment, not the animal {although we do have those in NC}- which slowed us down for awhile, but it was nice to just relax and pedal calmly for a few minutes.

Soon after we escaped the farm equipment we approached the rest stop. That was the moment I knew I could do it. Not only that, I knew I could do the longer ride the next day.The rest stop was the turn around point. The halfway mark. It took me by surprise when it came so soon in the ride.

image

I grabbed some sports drink and a handful of snacks, took a potty break, and stretched out my hips. As soon as I did that I felt better. The kinks were worked out, I was loose and warmed up, and I was ready to bust out the last 9 miles.

I spent most of the second half of the ride by myself on the rural roads. Instead of being lonely and scared, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I knew I was safe and soaked up the rising sunshine and country scenery. The weather was absolutely perfect and I felt great.

The last couple miles brought a few hills. I had no idea how much of the ride I had left and my confidence started wavering. I wasn’t sure I could do it.

But then I thought about my dad, who has MS and is in better shape than most people I know.

I thought about my mom, who rode 75 miles last weekend and finished her first triathlon last month.

I thought about my in laws, who were happily and lovingly taking care of my son so I could participate in this adventure.

I thought about the last time I rode my bike in this park, when my feet hurt so badly I could barely coast down the hills and I needed help racking my bike because my hands didn’t work.

And then I saw the entrance into the park. I’d done it. I dominated the long slow hill. I let out a cheer for the people pushing their bikes up the side and I let out a little silent cheer for myself for managing to stay on my bike.

I couldn’t help but smile as I crossed the finish line. It may have been the shortest ride of the event, but it was still a ride I pushed through and finished.

cycling finisher's medal

I can’t say much about the event itself. Although it prides itself on being accessible to all levels, it was clearly geared towards the longer rides of the day and the focus was on the individual fundraising teams, as opposed to riders as a whole. I planned to hang out and partake in the post-ride festivities, but there was nothing going on when I finished {even after I took a timeout to pump in the car}.

I headed home a little disappointed, but pumped for the next day’s ride.

bike cue sheet

And then at 4am I woke up to a baby and thunderstorms. I crossed my fingers and hoped it would subside in the next couple hours, but no luck. Lightening + bike spokes don’t mix. Bike ride day 2 = no go.

So instead of doing a victory dance and relishing in our amazing “endurance event” accomplishment, the husband and are I wallowing a bit in what could’ve been. We’ve decided to do another ride at the end of October when his arm has healed to make up for it- we don’t want to let those that sponsored us down!

bike ms cycling jerseys

Not the way I pictured this going, but at least I have my first post-baby event under my belt. Winking smile