Advice I received from people who don’t work out with me:
– I’d ride a few miles consistently before attempting that.
– You will need a new seat, gloves, shorts, liner, etc.
– Cycling is different than what you do in your workouts. I think you should give yourself ample training time and tackle this in the Spring
Advice I received from those who work out with me every week or take my classes:
– I’ll go with you!
– You’ll be fine – pack snacks.
– I can loan you my padded shorts and gloves.
– Can I come?
– P90X and strength training have prepared you for this.
– Let’s do it!
So we did.
With the help of my friend Bernie and her husband, who picked us (us – being me and my super duper friend Becca who came in from Cincy to be my riding buddy) up and drove us to the trail, I successfully took a Sunday afternoon to ride 50 miles.
Bernie and her husband, who cycle often, chose the spot. This would be their longest ride to date as well.
Becca, also a cyclist, was my spirit animal. She drove in. Brought snacks. Brought me a liner for my padded shorts. Gloves. “Magic beans” (sport Jelly Bellies). She adjusted my helmet (which, I realized after our 50-mile adventure wasn’t even mine, but George’s) and gave me coaching on using my gears. She set a pace. She allowed me to set a pace. There was encouragement from my “team”. They loved me and knew I could do it.
Between Bernie and Becca, there was no backing out and no lack of belief that I could tackle this goal.
I was only 4 miles in when I began to question my decision. It didn’t help that the first 8 miles were a gradual incline. Thankfully, my riding buddies didn’t tell me this. I just pedaled in naiveté assuming that my legs were simply adjusting to a new exercise.
At mile 10, Becca gave me a few “magic beans” (wisely rationing them every 10 miles). From 10-20 the ride was glorious. Again, my fellow riders kept from me the truth that we were now at a gradual decline and that eventually, we would have to turn around . . .
At mile 20, I realized there was no turning back and that this was going to happen.
At mile 25 there was an old train car “Retired in 1969” – how appropriate.
Miles 25-35 were hell. A slight incline all the way. This one I felt. But I was glad I didn’t know ahead of time. I would have completely psyched myself out.
Miles 35-45 were lonely and hot. ALL MENTAL.
And then, we were done.
I, with the help of friends, had decided to ride 50 miles and had completed the challenge.
No, I will not be repeating the goal for 60.
But for all of those whose first response was “You’ve got this”, rather than caution . . . You know me. You get me. You see the physical and mental work I’ve done over the last 9 years and your first response was to cheer me on, give me pat on butt and tell me to get pedaling.
And I love you for it.