Sunday, July 12, 2015

Western Hills Ride - Recap

Ok, yes, it's not totally normal to recap a ride. However... It's my blog and I can do what I want to...

A week out from the Mt. Washington Century, and I've been sweating it, 100 miles and 4,875 elevation gain.   I've looked over other rides I've done and for half + the distance I've been gaining good elevation.  Still, I'm one to continually self doubt, so that's what I did. 

Perusing through the Narraganset Bay Wheelmen rides I was looking for something between 85 - 90 for a long ride for this weekend, away from the shore, but close to home.  I landed on #43 - Western Hills.  Described as follows:  

Scenic Notes: A rolling, hilly tour of Southwestern RI through the villages of Slocum, Exeter, West Greenwich, Green, Foster, Clayville, and Coventry. The long loop makes a swing through CT before skirting the Scituate Reservoir. Note: There are few food stops on this rural ride, so carry food and water.

Ok sure, sounds like fun.

I downloaded the GPX, glanced at the elevation profile and thought, oh, that's a lot of hills, your either going up one or down one, the description says rolling.  And I promptly forgot about it.  Never did look to the lower RH corner to see the elevation gain of 5,169, probably a good thing?  I did note that this was rural and there weren't a lot of places to stop for water.  

Made plans to meet up with Sara at mile 30.  I average 14/15 MPH so I said 10 a.m.  Not even 10 miles in, it became clear 10 was not going to happen and I figured 10:15.  I texted Sara with the new time, 10:15ish.  She was there on time, 20 minutes later, mizz thing here shows up...  shit...  It was relentless hills for the first 30 miles.  Sara looked a bit dubious and a little ticked, who wouldn't be.  I should have texted again.  I hate being late, and I was HATING this ride.

Focusing on dampening my inner Julie Urbanski hiking the PCT and the AT and concentrating on the Julie who hiked the CDT, and focused on the journey not the destination and singing some stupid pop song over and over in my head.  

I saw the store, mile 34, when you make the right on to Gibson Hill road (was there NOT a road on this whole route with the word HILL in it???)  I knew I was going to need water. Yet, I didn't stop. Really, was it going to be that bad?  Yes, yes it was.  Nothing for another 30 miles.  IF you do this ride, stop and get water, seriously.

I sucked it up, as Sara and I had just started, and skipped the store, yes I was 30 miles into this and she was 15 (17 I think is the actual number but that whole math thing may be important later so I'll stick with 15) and technically I should be through on bottle of water.  So noted.

The hills were just as relentless and actually taller than the first 30 miles.  I'm arm chair quarterbacking this reflecting on the elevation chart I so nonchalantly tossed aside.  Mile 50 I had to take a break.  I sucked down the last of my water, stupid... and ate a bar.  Sara was dropping at mile 60 and she assured me there would be stuff there, we would be back in civilization.  We gave directions to a lost motorcyclist and ventured on our way.  Neither of us are very chatty and have a hard time hearing and biking so conversation was limited to when we could ride double, not often and when we stopped.  Running is far more a buddy activity with jibber jabber.  

The yellow starts and ends where Sara joined me.  Clearly the first 30 were not that bad, And take a peek back at that first elevation, that doesn't look so bad.  This?  This really was what it felt like.
Mile 60 hit and Sara ventured off only a few miles from home.  Later I found out not even a mile from home she fell over on her bike and bent her handle bar.  YIKES!!   I went on in search of hydration.  I found a place.  Damn if it didn't look familiar.   Eventually I recognized it as the place Jennifer and I run past when we run the bike path.  Cool.  They had all sorts of hydration $6 and two bottles of water a bottle of sweet tea (I don't usually drink this, too sweet) and some lemon Zero power water thingy, the lemon attracted me, I could give a crap less about calories at this point, but should have checked for what chemicals were in the stuff.  Barely getting out of the store I slugged down half a bottle of water.  Then that sweet tea and never tasted the sugar.   Half the lemon stuff was depleted and I poured the other half into my electrolyte bottle and filled the regular water bottle and what was left dumped in the electrolyte bottle.  I was no where close to any sort of true dehydration, however this is one of those things that scares me.  Biking is so much cooler than running.  The sweat gets wisked away by the wind and cools me down...

I texted Jennifer while hydrating and she talked me off the ledge.  I talk her off the ledge she talks me off the ledge, this is how it works.  She assured me there was no way in hell she was getting on her bike and biking for a mile to accompany me.  Smart woman.  For the last 25 miles of the ride, I sucked it up and pedaled.  This seems to be how most of my distance activities end.  Suck it up and right foot left foot.  I did take the time to enjoy the scenery and the unfreakingspectacular weather we were having.    It was a good journey.  I am glad it is over.  I was so very happy to see Vinnie there waiting for me all boiling hot in the sun!!

So there you have it...  

Beth, learning that yeah, stuff sucks, and the journey is always worth it, and she really really hates the bike shorts she thought she loved so she bought two more pair of them....  damn it. 


  1. BLS, you never cease to amaze me. Having a great year!!!

  2. BLS, you never cease to amaze me. Having a great year!!!