Okay, I will try to make this brief, but I doubt it will end up that way. If you are interested, please read on (Day II will be in a separate post). If not, skip to the photos.
As you all know, I rode the MS 150 Santa Barbara Tour this past weekend. I had ridden the MS 150 Bay to Bay Last year and loved the challenge of the ride and the overall experience. It was very well organized and a new experience for me (two-day, overnight ride). I was hoping for magic to strike twice. Mind you, I rode last year and this year mainly for the purpose to raise funds for the MS Society. I feel very strongly about this charity as MS could strike any of us or our loved ones (definitely between the ages of 25-45, no matter how healthy!), so any funds that will advance research for treatment and eventually a cure for this devastating disease is imperative. But I also, to be honest, ride for the miles, the challenge, the rush Ė all the reasons I ride at any given time. I love it!
Day I Ė I arrived at Thousand Oaks expecting to take on the 100 miles solo. I always pack extra fuel, just in case, so I had a PayDay and many gels coupled with two bottles of Cytomax. I should have brought more as the rest stops along the entire route were dreadful. (They offered cut up bananas and mini cliff bars -both of which give me a very upset stomach on long rides - and water. No Gatorade or anything!) At registration I discovered that three of my team members wanted to ride the century with me. They are really sweet guys, but it was the first century for two of them, and the third is a party-guy who I knew probably hadnít trained properly for the event. Oh, well, sigh, whatís a girl to do? So, the three of us headed out together. From the start line, I pushed the pace just to see how strong they could keep it going, getting us up to 20-22 mph on the flats. I shouldnít have done that, but I was eager to get through the beginning climbs. I was told the route only had 1,700 feet of climbing (not true), so I foolishly hammered us up the few hills we had in the beginning. Yes, Iím a slow climber, but if need be, I can up it a notch for a short period. We blew through the first 25 miles pretty quickly, hills and all. It was beautiful weather from the get-go, and pretty soon into the route I met a hottie who was on his first century. He was a strong rider, so I followed him a bit (nice view) which kept the pace at a pretty nice clip.
Then my boys started to fatigue a little, so we brought it back a bit and mostly road back country roads (no spectacular views to report and I was just getting used to my new camera Ė so, sorry no action shots until Day II). We came across a woman who was probably in her 70s. She said she hadnít been on a bike in 10 years, and yet, here she was, trying to ride 75! Ugh. I gave her a gel and the number for SAG and left her (she was still breathing). As we headed farther up the coast, one of my riderís knees began to kill him (party-guy and I could have guessed), so our pace had to slow. I was grinding my teeth, but I remembered that I had another 100 on Sunday, so I was able to think Zen thoughts. But after having to stop at least five times to wait for him, I began my attempt to get him to SAG back. Why ruin his knee? Ė And more importantly, why ruin my ride? To top it off, one of the other guys, who didnít know any better and who wasnít fueling properly (again, in his defense, all he had were bananas and mini cliff bars to munch on at the stops!) started seriously crashing. I could see it in his face, so I immediately gave him over half of my PayDay (what as left). Now, I was running on gel alone. Note to self Ė pack more fuel in case of these situations!
Finally, lunch! Which, to my complete horror, was oil drenched pasta, lettuce (I think it was supposed to be a Caesar salad) and brick-hard white bread. I was pissed. Slap some cold cuts on whole wheat for Peteís sake! I ate a tiny portion as I didnít want the pasta sitting in my stomach for the last 40 miles. My teammates downed two bowls each. I knew it would be a slow ride to the finish and I didnít have the heart to tell them that there was more climbing (in fact, I lied to them and said it was flat for the last 40 miles - does this make me evil?). Of course, I had no idea that we would be climbing in 85 degree heat up Casitas Pass (sp?? Ė I donít have the route slip on me at present). Normally, I wouldnít describe that hill as brutal, but considering how long weíd been out, how it had heated up, and the lack of optimal fueling, the last two climbs sucked (second one at mile 80). I was hurting, barely keeping it at 7mph in my third ring (I hit my granny a couple of times, but I really wanted to power up that puppy and not spin too much). I had to keep stopping on the hill to gather my boys which didn't help matters, but they were a little miffed with me at that point (I guess they didn't like the lie I had given). Knee guy was hurting bad (although he didnít want to admit it) and the other two were fading although giving it their best efforts (I really shouldnít have hammered us in the beginning. Iím a bad, bad girl). Fortunately, we all made it to the top and over the pass down into Santa Barbara County. Weíd been out 7.5 hours at this point. I wanted to be done and on my second beer, but we had a good 18 miles to go.
Then we ran into ďidiot guy.Ē This man had no business being out there. Nice guy, all for the cause (I applaud him), but again, hadnít ridden in six months, didnít eat breakfast (which I didnít discover until Day II when I ran into him at the hotel) and basically was severely bonking. He was weaving all over the road and could have easily been killed by an oncoming vehicle. My friend and I demanded that he pull over and dismount. He then informed me that he was asthmatic through tears and that he was dizzy and seeing spots. So, we called SAG and stayed with him for about 20 minutes to get him taken care of. Any one of us riders could bonk, and Iíve had an asthma attack that could have killed me on a ride before, so Iím completely sympathetic. But please donít take your out-of-shape a*s out on a ride and put yourself and others in peril. Know your limits, people! (Sorry, ranting).
We hammered after that to get across the finish line (roughly 4:05 p.m.) and were greeted (yet again) with the most pathetic post-meal from La Salsa. Literally, we were allowed two corn tortillas with a sprinkling of chicken, salsa, lettuce, cheese and some tortilla chips. How expensive is rice and beans, is what I want to know! Some kind folks ordered Dominos and I scored a piece of veggie pizza. My teammatesí spouses were sweethearts and had decorated our tent and brought beer and cupcakes (God love Ďem), so we just chilled out, drank a couple of beers and then back to the hotel and to bed.
100 down, 100 more to goÖ Iíll post Day II in a separate thread. Yeah, yeah, I know, I said brief. I lied.
The boys and me, ready to ride...
Party-guy and me giving and receiving a little love...
Up and around the lake (prettiest views for the day!)
Yes, we did, too, climb on up it...
Home stretch, by the ocean...