Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sore And Tired But Definitely Not Disappointed

2012 Gravel Grovel
In September, I signed up to ride the Gravel Grovel, a cyclocross event held in the Hoosier National Forest just south of Bloomington, IN. At the time, I had just bought my mountain bike and was looking for an endurance ride to test myself. When a cycling friend sent me the link for the Gravel Grovel, I didn't even think twice about paying the $45 fee. During the 8 weeks between signing up and actually going to Indiana, I prepared somewhat for what I knew was going to be a very difficult ride, but with work and family, the training was sporadic at best. The two weeks leading up to the day Hubby and I were scheduled to drive over, I toyed with the idea of not going. Every excuse I could dredge up I listed on a piece of paper: cost in gas, hotel, and food; not in shape; Thanksgiving weekend was meant for being lazy; and the weather was too cold. Then I reminded myself that I would be far more disappointed by what I didn't do rather than what I did do.

So Hubby and I set off for Indiana late Friday afternoon. Between home and Champaign, Hubby looked at me and asked, "Do you know where we're going?" I responded with a nope and a shrug of my shoulders. "We're on an adventure," I said. "We'll figure it out as we go." And we did. We stopped at an Indiana rest area where we found a map. A real, in color, paper map. We studied it and figured out a route to our destination then set off. A few hours later, after winding through some dark countryside that scared Hubby (he's such a city boy), we arrived in Bedford where we spent the night.

Getting ready to start off.
Saturday morning brought sunshine, calm winds, and a chilly 27 degrees. I was prepared, though, having just bought a new cold-weather jacket, gloves, and balaclava. With my new duds on my upper half, along with my thermal leggings, wool socks, and booties on my lower half, I lined up with the others to begin the ride, hoping I would stay warm during the next few hours. If there's one thing that makes me miserable when riding, it's being cold. I knew if I was cold, the 62 miles was going to be extremely long and unpleasant. I found out just a few miles into the ride that my new clothes would keep me toasty warm, just how I like it.

The creek finish line!
My main goal for the day was to simply finish. I'd spent some time examining past accounts of the ride and went into it knowing it was going to be really, really tough. My hope was that I could make it through the ride without a flat tire (accomplished!), with an average speed of 12 mph (didn't accomplish :( ), and without going down on gravel (accomplished--though I did go down on the mountain bike trail). In the end, I finished 15 minutes past my hoped-for cut off of 5 hours, but still toasty warm and with a huge smile on my face. Me and The Bette made it through in one piece.



Samantha @ said...

Wow that looks like an adventurous day! And 4,029 ft? Crazy. Good for you!

John Romeo Alpha said...

Wow that looks like you are putting that bike to good use! I was told there would be video. :)

JK said...

Samantha, when I saw the 4029 ft of climbing, I understood why my legs were screaming at me to stop. :) JRA, unfortunately, the gopro stopped an hour and a half into the ride, so I didn't get the really good parts of the ride--me going down in the woods, and the last two hills that were straight up! And yes, the bike (along with its rider) got a good breaking in during this ride!