Sunday, June 7, 2009

Little Red Riding Hood Century

Friday afternoon, my aunt, Heather, picked me up and we added my bike to the 3 that were already on bike rack. She had two friends with her, Amber and Cory. We headed up to Logan, which was about an hour and a half away. It was a fun ride up getting to know everyone.

We went straight to the park where the start and finish of the Little Red Ridding Hood ride would be, and where we picked up our packets and had dinner. It was a luau because of their hawaiian theme, but I hadn't paid for it when I signed up. I thought I could just buy a ticket once I got there, but they were all sold out. The ladies I was with, very generously, each gave me some of their dinner. However, the dinner was scant, to say the least, and when we finished everything down to the little sliver of cake, we wanted something else. We drove into town and had a real dinner at Cafe Rio. My sister in China will be so jealous when she hears that! Three more weeks, and you can have some too, Katie! (too bad China has blocked blogger so she won't be reading this anyway. . .)

Next we stopped at walmart for a few forgotten items, then headed to Amber's grandma's house. Her mom was also there because her grandpa was not doing well. Her grandma reminded me so much of my own grandma, I couldn't believe it. She's maybe 82 or 83, and she's skinny and cute and energetic and so much fun! She also runs marathons, and wins them for her age group. It made me wish my grandma lived closer so we could just stop by for the night to hang out. We had a great time chatting, eating pie and watching the Audrey Hepburn version of Sabrina. It was fun to see how much it is exactly like the new one, but also how different.

When we woke up at 6:00 Saturday morning, it was raining. After much debate, I decided to wear my tri shorts instead of my pants because I remembered how soaking wet my pants got at St. George Marathon and on that one ride I did in the rain. Soaking wet pants don't really help you stay warm, so I opted for the quick-dry tri shorts. I wore arm covers, a light jacket and my florescent green rain jacket. I also put gloves and an extra pair of socks in my jacket pocket. It had stopped raining by the time we actually left for the park, though, so we were hopeful.

Heather and I were doing the 100-mile distance so we started at 7:30, and Amber and Cory were doing the 67-mile distance so they didn't start until 8:30. Here we all are, ready to go.

We didn't actually start at the starting line because we were heading over, and we saw that they had already started so we just turned and joined them a few yards from where they started. This didn't really matter since it's such a casual ride, not a race, and it's not like we had timing chips or anything.

The most uncomfortable part of the whole ride, for me, was probably the first 20 miles. My legs were hurting and my food was hurting for some reason. But, once we got warmed up, I felt fine. We got to the first big aid station at mile 20 after about an hour, and boy is it an aid station! They had a whole line of porta-potties, and tables just overflowing with peanut butter sandwiches, oreos, crackers, pretzels, granola bars and even fruit snacks! Too bad I'm not used to even eating on my rides so I just took an oreo and waited for Heather to get her drink. She had a water bottle cage that goes on the back of the seat, like mine, but we couldn't get it on so she ended up not having any water bottles for the whole ride! I don' t know how she did it. I shared with her whenever she would take it, but most of the time she was like, "I'm fine."

I had taken my sun glasses off and hooked them in my jacket when I went to the bathroom at this aid station, and I forgot to put them on until we started riding again. When I realized this, I thought, "Oh my sun glasses, and grabbed them a little harder than necessary." My sunglasses, already having a loose screw, just couldn't take this and fell apart. I dropped them on the ground at the same time, and I didn't want to look for the little screw and try to fix them so I just picket them up and dropped them in the dumpster that was right there. "Oh well," I though, "I needed new sunglasses anyway." We started riding again, and Heather couldn't believe I just threw them away so I started having doubts about my decision. Oh well, the ride must go on!

There were aid stations every 10 miles, but only every other one was as fancy as the first one, some just had water.

At mile 60, though, it was the lunch stop. They had everything that the fancy aid stations had, but they also had subway sandwiches, cookies and chips. Ok, something else I'm not used to on my rides, but it was nice. Here's one of the food tables.

There were ladies all over, sitting in the grass, enjoying the break. You can also see the blue sky is starting to show through!

Here's Aunt Heather:

And here I am:

We took our jackets off and rolled them up into nice neat little bundles to tie around our waists, then we started off again. The weather ended up being pretty much perfect, and we never did get rained on! Even though this was the 60-mile mark, it was really only half-way because the rest of the way was much harder with a relentless headwind (the only un-perfect part of the weather) to push against most of the way.

Heather and I refused to draft the whole race. We would let people get behind us, of course, but we passed anyone we got too close to. I didn't want to draft, because I didn't trust that these girls wouldn't just put their breaks on or do something crazy in front of me, but I also wanted to do it the way I'm going to be doing it in the Ironman. Drafting is usually not allowed in triathlons, at least not any that I've ever done, although, they do allow it in the Olympics.  

I felt good and strong most of the time, and Heather was a good match for me to ride with. She goes fast enough that it pushes me a little, but not too fast that I loose her. Sometimes she would get ahead a little, and sometimes I would (usually on the downhills), but for most of the ride we were side-by-side and it was really fun. It went by so fast to have her there. She was also a comfort because I knew if something happened, she would be there. It was also just nice to have someone to talk to.

I forgot to bring allergy medicine, which I realized half-way through when my throat started to feel like it was closing. Heather joked about having to save my life, but it never got very bad, and eventually felt almost better. I was really lucky that my eyes didn't bother me during the ride much, even when we rode through a rain of pollen that I thought for sure would get to me. I was really surprised how good my eyes felt. Luckily it was cloudy most of the time too so I wasn't squinting too much.

I never stopped my timer, and Heather always did whenever we stopped so we got to see the total time and the total riding time when we finished. The total time was about 7:23, but when you cut out all the stops, it was just over 6 hours! I was really happy with that! Oh, and we didn't just go 100, it was 103! So, I just need to add 9 miles to that and I've got my Ironman distance!

The best news of all was that I felt great at the end! I couldn't wait to just get to Heather's car, get my shoes and start running! Of course, I was so excited to start running that I forgot to use the bathroom first, so I ended up run/walking until I got back to the porta-potties. Then I ran around the block until my 20 minutes were up. I could have kept running too, I felt great! I just wanted to get back to my friends and the good food they had there! There were more subway sandwiches and oreos and all the stuff from the aid stations, but there was also creamies and chocolate fountains! Yum! They also had these "big bad wolves" laying on the tables covered in brown sugar that looked like sand. It was pretty cute.

We got lays at the finish line to go along with their Hawaiian theme. They're pink to go with their cause fighting breast cancer. All the cancer survivors also got different colored lays at the beginning to wear.

Here are Heather, Corey, and Amber in their cute matching outfits from last year. I felt a little left out and a little skimpy next to them, but it's all good.

We all ate until we were content then headed back to get our stuff.

The sad news of the day was that, while we were riding, Amber got a phone call from her mom telling her that her grandpa passed away. We all felt so terrible when we found this out, and wanted to do something for her grandma so we stopped at Hallmark on the way back to get her a few things. Her grandma seemed to be doing amazingly well, when we got back, talking about what had happened and when the funeral would be and stuff, but it was still very emotional, and I was kind of glad to leave them in peace. Her grandma was wonderful and kind too us, and I'll always be glad I met her. Who knows, maybe I'll see her again next year.

We hurried back so I would be able to see Pete a little bit on his birthday, but I didn't get home until around 6, and he was already at our friend's house with the kids having dinner. I was feeling pretty terrible by the time I got home, my nose running and my eyes itching and stinging, so I took some allergy pills and a shower before having Pete come pick me up. The dinner was wonderful, and we had a good time, but after a couple hours, the meds were really kicking in and I was about to fall asleep on their sofa so we went home and went to bed. Not a very fun birthday for Pete, but he was very understanding. He said it turned out exactly like he knew it would, and he was glad I had a good time at my ride. What a wonderful husband I have!


  1. You're going to be do great at Coeur d'Alene. You have a great attitude, and that will take you through the dark moments of a 140.6 mile day.

  2. MMM.... I love Cafe Rio!! The last time we went was one week before I had Aria and I started having contractions. I thought for sure I was going to have her that night! :) Great work on your race and sorry that we didn't get to see you.