Today, I went for a long ride with a new friend, Gretchen, who I met through my running group, Moms Run This Town. We met bright and early at 6:00 a.m. along one of my usual bike routes, but the plan was for her to take me off my normal path along one of her Ironman training routes. We planned to go around 60 miles and I anticipated it being very scenic, as it’s a rural area with lots of wineries and farms.
Pretty early on in the ride, I knew it was going to be a rough day. Almost immediately after leaving my usual route, we started up a steep hill and I yelled up to her “I suck at hills” and she yelled back “this is the whole route!” and proceeded to pedal away from me as though I was standing still. It was not pretty. I was already sweating and huffing and puffing and we were just getting started for the day.
The hills just kept coming. There was no respite. My legs were burning and I couldn’t even stand anymore while I was trying to push up the hills. There were definitely some moments where I thought I should quit and call my husband to come pick me up or, even, quit triathlon all together. At one point, Gretchen was stopped waiting for me at the top of a hill and I was so exhausted that when I finally reached her, I started talking and forgot to unclip my shoe from my pedal. I completely fell over – still attached to my bike – mid-sentence. It was a tough first two hours.
Then, Gretchen mentioned something about stopping at a 7-Eleven at around the half way point of the route. This sounded AMAZING to me, not only to get some water, but also just to give my legs a short break. I have never been so happy to see a 7-Eleven in my entire life as when I pulled into that parking lot!! Gretchen got a pineapple Slurpee to put in her aerobottle (this made me like her even more!) and I got some ice cold water, which was just what I needed!
The cold water and break for my legs were perfect! I had a bit more pep in my step to finish out the ride, and the second half was (thankfully) not as painful. There were some great downhill sections where I could just get in my aerobars and fly.
All-in-all, it was a lot of fun, even though it was hard. I am definitely planning on going back and doing that route again soon, since I obviously need to work on riding hills. I’m also glad to have found a new riding buddy!