Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sweaty, Grimey, and Exhausted

For awhile now I've been working towards today's ride, a century downstate at a national park. I knew hills would definitely be a part of this ride, but I wasn't expecting the inclines we faced. The first hill was definitely an eye-opener if not a body waker-uppper. The second one made me smile as I passed several people who were riding bikes that were way more expensive than my cheapo sporting goods store end of the season clearance bike. The third one did Hubby in, and I found that from then on I had to stop at the top of each hill and wait for him as he walked his bike up. I have to hand it to him--he tried and he kept going. But at mile 40 he said, "Please just go the 62 miles and stay with me." I was torn. I'd been working towards this century for several months, and all I've been thinking about is finishing the season off with a century ride. One look at him, though, was enough to see he really needed my help to finish the metric century. I couldn't leave him to finish it on his own.

So for the last 22 miles I rode in front to break the 20+ mph winds to give him some relief. I slowed down to a 12 mph pace. I painfully watched as the turn for the century riders came and went as we pedaled on for the 62 miler, knowing this ride would be the last chance for the season to get a 100 miler under my belt. For 22 miles I rode on in misery.

Now, six hours later, I'm okay with my decision. I've showered off the sweat and grime of the ride. I've eaten a juicy hamburger and an ice cream cone. And I'm ready to call it a day, feeling that sweet exhaustion that comes from having worked out really, really hard.

The ride was beautiful. The ride was tough. The ride showed me that I can take hills the size of small mountain. Next year, I'll make the trek to this same event, and then I'll finish what I started today.

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