Yeah, we did the ride (Saturday 23 August). I honestly don’t know how I survived, but I had to do it. We got to the starting line about 11:10 (I’m guessing), and 11:15 was the cut-off time when no one else was allowed to start a circuit. We may have been the last to start, but we weren’t alone on the trail. We did manage to pick up tickets only at the Negro Bar checkpoint; all the others had shut down by the time we went by. Oh well −− for us the whole point was just to get there and do the ride and have lunch, and we did that.
Friday night was horrible though. I absolutely could not shut my brain off, and I felt wide awake even though my body was exhausted (I’ve been behind on my sleep for the last couple of days). I tried telling myself that it was okay, we didn’t have to do the ride, it was no big deal, just let it go. There have been many times in my life when I’ve told myself these sorts of things in similar circumstances, and it’s actually calmed me down and allowed me to sleep; then in the morning I can either let it go or not. But that didn’t work this time because the thought of letting it go made me feel even worse! I’d put so much into doing this ride that the thought of skipping it made me feel like a complete loser. So either way I was in trouble. And the thought of telling the Big Guy I couldn’t make it drove my blood pressure through the roof.
And then there was my team, which I had joined purely by accident. I’d never met any of my teammates, but I felt that they were expecting me to be there, and I didn’t want to let them down.
In the morning, when I finally told the Big Guy I didn’t think I could make it to the ride, I was so upset that he took it really well and tried to make me feel better. He told me to lie down and rest, if not sleep, and not to worry about the ride. He went out to do some grocery shopping, and I did lie down and relax for a few minutes, although I don’t think I actually slept because, again, my brain wouldn’t shut off.
By 10:15 I was wishing I had the strength to go but seriously doubting that I did. My legs My whole body felt like a piece of overcooked spaghetti. I don’t do well on lack of sleep. Then again, I reminded myself that I had trouble sleeping before the 2006 ride, plus I had a few other aches and pains at that time, and I still managed to get out of here and ride one circuit, all alone. So I finally just forcibly shut off the negative part of my brain and started getting ready to go.
I was worried about my knee, but I wore the brace, and it seems to have survived just fine. Around about the middle of our ride we hit one bad bump on the new bridge that I wasn’t ready for, and it gave me an instantaneous headache. But all in all, I’m very glad that we stuck it out, although I wish things had gone a bit more like I imagined. I supposed that’s too much to ask for −− that I have a good night’s sleep and get up happy, energized, and all ready to go for a fun bike ride with no trauma and minimal stress. Ha ha ha. At least the Big Guy and I helped each other out instead of arguing and fussing.
By the time we finished our circuit, checked our tandem in at the “Bike Corral,” turned in our raffle tickets, then got our food and sat down to eat, I was so utterly exhausted that I didn’t even feel very hungry, just hot and tired. I did manage to spot a few members of “my” team standing under a tree, and while the Big Guy was waiting in the lunch line I went over and said hello. There were three of them, and they were very happy to see me. We chatted for a few minutes; they’re a very informal, friendly group just trying to have fun and get exercise, and I wouldn’t mind riding with them in the future.
The loudspeakers at the event were much too loud — I know, that’s the way it goes at these events. Sometimes I can deal with it and sometimes I can’t. The Big Guy and I decided to move from the table under the tent (which was hot because we had no breeze). I followed him over near the Bike Corral and we found a spot in the shade on the ground −− and then I dropped my plate full of food which I’d only taken a couple bites from. I was so drained I didn’t even really care that much, I just wanted to go home. So the Big Guy finished his meal and then we gathered everything up, retrieved the bike from the corral, and rode back to the truck, which was parked in a small (free) lot near the main road.
All in all, I’m satisfied with the way the day turned out, given the circumstances I had to deal with. The actual ride was very enjoyable, even though I spent most of it sucking down Hammer Shots and jelly beans to keep my energy up. I got to listen to some good music in my right ear, and that definitely kept me going. We made good time, and we were plenty cool as long as we kept moving. We started late, but we did a full circuit and we weren’t the last ones to finish (although the others probably went around more times than we did).
We didn’t win anything in the drawings, but that’s okay. I feel like I won because I showed up and I rode my heart out; I felt good riding in my white jersey with the Q-Vino logo — I represented for my team. I had a good day with the Big Guy, and he’s proud of me for hanging in there and being a good stoker despite my lack of sleep. For me, that’s going to have to be good enough.
NOTE: All of the photos in today’s post are from the 2006 RFAR and were borrowed from http://www.rfar.org/index.html