This past weekend Ross and I ventured up to Harrisonburg, VA for a weekend of bicycles. The event was Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, a 100+ mile bike ride in the mountains. Proceeds from the weekend’s events went towards prostate cancer awareness and the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and the event was put on by big time pro mountain biker Jeremiah Bishop.
Friday night’s festivities included dinner, drinks, and relaxing at a benefit gala on a roof top patio in downtown Harrisonburg. We had delicious fruit, salad, bread, pasta, and cheesecake along with ice cold beer…. It was an all-out carb-overload in preparation for Saturday’s big event. It was a very sophisticated and formal occasion… as you can see.
Oh wait…. Did I say formal? These are bike people… there is no such thing as formal!
|Is that Ross or Harry Potter?|
This was my first 30+ mile bike ride, my first group ride, my first ride without Ross, and my first road ride in the mountains all piled into one terrifying event. My ride was a 33 mile course that would wind through the rolling hills of the valley- hence the name, Valley View Ride. Ross’ big event was a 100+ mile Gran Fondo that took him up 10-mile gravel mountain climbs, curvy roads, and treacherous terrain.
I started out my ride feeling a little confident and a lot nervous, but I was determined to be hardcore and complete the ride without Ross holding my hand. As we all pedaled out of the parking lot I kept trying to look cool and repeating over and over again in my head “you can do it, you can do it.”
As we started out of town and hit the first hill my thoughts changed to “just finish, just finish.”
By the time I was 10 miles in and my knee was hurting and the hills just WOULD. NOT. STOP. my thoughts turned to “just don’t die, just don’t die.”
After a while I made friends with a nice mid-30’s dude named TJ and we rode together for the rest of the route. We both decided that if we had someone to complain to, it would make the ride better.
About 30 miles in, TJ and I realized we hadn’t seen other riders in miles… no one in front of us and no one behind us. That’s when we decided we were in last place. Surprisingly, coming to that conclusion between the two of us, made us feel a lot better about the whole situation. Heck, if we were in last place, at least we would be last together. We vowed to cheer for each other as we crossed the finish line, even if no one else did.
Long story short, I didn’t die although I felt like I was going to. When we crossed the finish line, lots of people cheered, we were handed water bottles, cold towels, and a fancy medal. We thought it was just a nice courtesy, despite being in last place. Then we looked around and realized no one was really there. Which meant, we were SO slow that everyone had finished and left. What losers we were!
A bit later we realized that alas, we were NOT last, but rather we finished in 11th place (out of 50). We thought we were so far BEHIND that we didn’t see anyone, when really, we were so far AHEAD! YAY! I ended up finishing 1st in my age group out of all men and women. Woot Woot!
|I didn't get to stand on the podium during the award ceremony, but I decided|
I wanted a picture up there anyway.
Ross came in 6th overall (he is SO hardcore!) and finished second in his age group for the King of the Mountain competition (a race to see who can ride to the top of the mountains the fastest… in the middle of the 100+ mile ride).
|Ross actually did get to stand on the podium. Isn't he special?!|