65 miles, a painful fall, some interesting sunburn/tan lines, a few very painful hills, and we survived the Flying Wheels ride. I think. I also think I mildly bruised my tailbone when I fell, bruised my knee, scuffed my elbow and scuffed a corner of my bike seat. I’m more upset about the bike seat than the elbow… it didn’t really bleed and will heal quickly, whereas bicycle seats unfortunately do not fix themselves! My uncle Dave decided a couple days ago to do the ride as well, and met up with us before heading out from the start line. He was awesome and rode with us, rather than blasting through at the faster pace I’m sure he was capable of. It was a lot of fun to have three of us riding rather than just the two.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day – if I remember correctly, somewhere around 3800 riders were registered for this ride, versus the 6028 that registered for the Chilly Hilly (it was honestly nice to not have the course so packed, and was especially spread out because there were four distance options). This past week has been downright depressing, weather-wise, and so it was amazing to have the weather do a complete turnaround: sunny, highs in the upper 70’s, and hardly a cloud in sight. Nikki and I both got new sunglasses last night at REI – ones shaped more to deflect wind out of your eyes, and with the brown tint and polarization, the contrast in colors and the view of the mountains was amazing. I wish I’d taken a picture through my sunglasses, rather than just snapping a quick picture. Thanks to Peggy for suggesting the browner tinted ones versus my usual theory of “the darker the better”.
On a couple of the downhills, people would spread out into the traffic lane more if cars weren’t coming to give more room to take corners or avoid potholes, hunker down into the drops, and it would feel like you were nearly flying… so much fun! I didn’t beat my all-time high speed that I got on the Chilly Hilly (39.96mph) but I came close at 36.88! Not that fast in a car, but pretty fast on a bicycle with one inch tires, and just a little spandex separating you from the asphalt if you go down!
One thing that just blows my mind about these rides, is the level of trust of your fellow riders. If you have to use the potty, or go grab food or something where you can’t easily take your bike, you simply lean it against a curb or bush or wherever, or lay it down and walk off. There’s no concern that your bike will be gone when you get back.
Things to remember for the STP and other long rides:
-Bring extra sunblock. Use frequently. I started the race with sunblock on, and I burnt anyway.
-Remember my inhaler. I didn’t end up needing it, but that could have gotten scary.
-Those insulated water bottles are garbage. Mine may actually end up getting recycled or something. They don’t squeeze worth beans, which makes getting the water out of them difficult when riding.
-Possibly extra Chamois Butt’r
4:54:51 moving time
6 hours, 28 minutes total time, to include stops
13.32mph average speed (the 3 mile climb we had to walk half or so of really killed us here)
36.88mph maximum speed
And a fair bit of roadkill