Monday, May 19, 2014

Tour de Lyme - recap

This wasn't billed as a race, and when I contacted the organizer asking about the 57 mile ride in the Tour de Lyme, only really concerned if there was there a time limit, he replied with we designed the route to be a 3 - 4 hour ride, this is not a race, no time limit.  Huh... I am not quite clueless on my bike pace, and figured 4 hours would be short, perhaps 4:30?  I can run 20 miles in 4 hours this would be like running 20 miles right?  Don't even ask me how I came up with this logic.   

What the heck, in for a penny in for a pound and why would I bother to drive 40 miles to ride a 26 mile route (remember the rule I set up for 5Ks after last year, if it takes longer to drive there, re-think that plan) when I could just do that at home.    Well I did want the organized biking event experience so there is that.

Parking was chaotic and confusing, but I managed to get it figured out, I swear it looked like the sign said I had to go straight, alas no....  Package pick up was easy.  Got a red band on my wrist as I was doing the red route, a t-shirt (2 actually), a cycling cap, and a water bottle (2 actually).  Dave groaned, we don't need any more water bottles...  well, erm I didn't know it was in the bag(s) till I got home, so stuff it.

There were 4 road rides 57, 26 challenging, 26 easier, 8 mile family ride and 2 mountain bike rides (1 hour and 3 hour), 575 riders.  This was the second year for the race, last year rained so they have NO benchmark for what could happen with the absolutely perfect weather on May 18th.  

The ride benefits the Lyme (Connecticut) Land Trust, what a great way to showcase the land in the land trust!

Before signing up I looked at the route on Strava and really didn't notice the elevation, details...  My focus was on the miles, nearly a metric century and the longest ride I've had is 33 miles, last summer when Dave and I went to Buttonwood Farms for ice cream (1,477 in elevation).  I did just get done training for and running a 50K so I figured my endurance isn't in question.  Well my leg endurance, my butt endurance, well yeah, in a bike saddle for 41/2 to 5 hours, what on earth is that going to feel like?

Looking at Strava afterwards 57 miles and 3, 555 feet of elevation gain.  Holy quivering quads.  They are burning just thinking about some of those "will this ever end" long climbs and the" really, straight up at that angle, is that even possible" hills.   What did I learn about hills? 
  1. When petting adorable dog half way up a hill don't try and jump back on the bike and go straight.  You have to weave back and forth across the road to get moving back up the hill again.
  2. Just keep pedaling.
  3. When sitting hurts, stand and it doesn't hurt so bad.
  4. Just keep pedaling.
  5. When standing hurts, sit again and it doesn't hurt so bad.
  6. Just keep pedaling.
  7. Shift forward and pedal more.
  8. Just keep pedaling.
  9. Shift backward and pedal more.
  10. Just keep pedaling.
  11. Enjoy the downhill, although it is a bad idea to scream "Wheeeee" like the pig in that Geico commercial, people get concerned that you are hurt (or maybe insane?)
My butt managed, I think it just takes time to get it toughened up.  Getting off the bike at the 'rest areas' was a good idea. The first one was at mile 23.  Walking was an interesting experience, I felt drunk. 

I talked with a few people:

One woman who could only ride 30 miles before she had to pick up her daughter, her husband was also riding and would go ahead and then come back and check on her.  He did say to me, "You and my wife are the only two women in pink.  So if I ride by and call you sweetheart don't get offended."  I said no problem.  Turned out his wife and I are of similar ability and rode together for nearly 15 miles.  When he would come back and check, I'd say "Checking on sweeheart?"  They were cute.  Mary and I rode together and chatted back and forth for a while.  Ever observant me took mental notes on how she navigated the hills, very constant and steady pace and when she would stand to pedal and then sit down. 

Then there was another gal that I managed to pass (not flying by just keeping it consistent as I learned from Mary) on the uphills, and she screamed by me on the down hills.  I don't mean literally screaming at me, she FLEW.  I am terrified of crashing!!!  I'd pass her on the up hill and she would say "See ya on the down side, you need to learn to fly."  HA!!  I'd probably end up a tangled bloody mess at the bottom of the hill.  She was funny, we would always see each other at the rest area.

After passing back and forth, exchanging pleasantries, for 20 miles,  this guy says "We ride similarly."  I said "Yeah, seems like it."  Back and forth about the beauty of the course and the day. Then he said it "I don't think I can finish"  I looked over at him (consider my own burning quads, sore butt, and contemplation of cutting corners) and abruptly said "We are not having THAT conversation, new topic."  I can't even believe I said that (OK I can).  Must be I attract people who need a little pick me up?  I should be helpful and flattered not frustrated? Maybe started with, "Just keep pedaling." and then launched at him?   He was taken aback and quiet for a moment or two then stuttered and said "My wife decided to be a triathlete a few years back and she didn't even know how to swim."  I said, "Perfect, I'm a bit unsure on the swimming part, this is hopeful, go on."  And he did, I think there is something different with an athletic couple, far more pride in each others accomplishments because each of you know what it took to get there.  This man beamed with pride telling me how she learned to swim and not be afraid of the water, she has completed "a handful of sprint tris" and is training for her third 1/2 Ironman (New Bedford).  He does worry that she takes on too much, "You women, you just don't know when to stop."  I had to laugh at that. 

After the ride, still smiling...

The route:

The route was gorgeous, so many places I wanted to stop and take a run in the woods or snap a picture. Had I done that I'd be out there till dark!  The sounds of the rushing streams and the peaceful lakes complimented the ride. Truly this route show cased the best the Lyme CT area has to offer!

It was well marked with some sort of sticker arrows on the hard top and signs at the turns.

There were a couple of lollipopish loops in the course.  It was tempting to take the short cut, it isn't a race right? I would know so there is that, in for a penny in for a pound, right? Burning quads and ouchy butt aside, this was a great experiment for me to really figure out what works and doesn't work for me on long rides and how to push through the mental part of the distance and put into play the helpful suggestions Dave has gifted me and what I was observing from the other riders.  - HTML still doesn't load....
And I turned off the space watch for a mile and a half - doh!! 

Beth, pleased with her first organized bike 'ride' and doesn't think she violated too many of 'the rules'.


  1. Oh fantastic! You did great and how wonderful to meet some new people. I am so excited about the bike, finally. Think it may be a strong point for me. We will see...

    1. We will bike and swim - the Y's have reciprocal agreements. Now to sync schedules and you (and Jeff) to further twist my arm for Crabman...

  2. That's an awesome ride, Beth! So you've got the bike portion of a 1/2 Ironman locked down for sure, if you get any ideas about that kind of craziness...I'm running with Jeff this morning, so I'll be sure to mention your interest in the Crabman ;)

    1. Jeff knows, he has been doing his best to pressure me... this will require arm twisting, I'm a 85% sure I'll try it... just have to find that coupon code for a free race entry (or volunteer at another one!). I have no desire for swimming 1 1/4 miles... as Jeff reminds me the Crabman is 400 yards... or something short like that...

  3. i like the weeeeee comment - which i would agree - your insane
    nice ride