I decided to go all out this year and signed up for the 6 Pillars Century in Cambridge, MD. Not only was it my first Century but the first time I did a long ride without my husband. The excitement built inside me as the date approached; it was accompanied by giddiness and the fear that I was ill prepared for this undertaking. The delightful winter and early spring provided few good days for riding which I supplemented with some spinning classes to help me get into shape. I was concerned it was not enough.
Terri and I decided to carpool to our trip the night before to ensure a good night's rest. Once in town, we picked up our numbers and t shirts. After a bit of shopping, we met up with other Spokesters, family and friends where I enjoyed a big salad with chicken breast. I was sure to build up my fuel reserves with a decadent caramel swirl desert, which was shared (compliments of James)!
The ride day turned out to be almost perfect for biking with temperatures in the mid 60s and the sun shining bright. Unfortunately, the wind came along for the ride. My excitement, determination and just a tiny bit of apprehension were growing as I checked in for the event. I was amazed that with all the bicyclists present, the start line was very organized and check in process, seamless.
Soon we were on our way, pedaling through the countryside of the scenic Eastern Shore. While most of my ride was spent with Gail, Mike, Deana and Ricky, I saw each of the Spokesters at some point during the day. Their words of encouragement helped me beat the challenging winds and finish the ride; I was done at mile 89 but the organizers forgot to put the finish line there. I finally crossed it after visiting 6 rest stops, pedaling 103 miles and making one wrong turn. In the end, I spent 9 hours on the course, logging 7.05 hours in the saddle.
Yes, my legs were spent. Yes, the wind made it more difficult to ride some sections of the route. But most importantly, Yes, I would do it all over again because the scenery was nice but the company of my fellow Spokesters was GREAT! I was tired, but I had completed the ride.
I have to admit, it felt good to hop in the passenger seat and let Mike Leaf do the driving home. The feelings of excitement, giddiness and fear had now been replaced by a feeling of completeness and happiness.
This trip was a perfect example of what the Chesapeake Spokes are all about. Gailís husband, Bob, provided awesome SAG support for us all along the way. I am especially grateful for Gail and Mike for their examples, encouragement and willing to share. Prior to joining Chesapeake Spokes (this is my 2nd full season), I did not know any of these people. nor did I know there were so many Out of Bounds rides. I am abundantly grateful for the Club and I am excited for the BEST season ever!