I was enjoying the ride and scenery and having much fun on my bicycle — and not even thinking about my ankle — and then it ended.
Crossing the finish line of a marathon or even a 5K is equal parts exhilaration and relief. Today, when I crossed the finish line, I was thinking, “Hey, I was just getting into this,” and “Did I get a workout?,” and “Maybe I should have signed up for the 50-miler.”
OK, it wasn’t like I was disappointed. I had a very nice ride, and enjoyed the more casual nature of bicycle rides (versus road races). You start when you want, within a time range, and you ride hard but don’t stress out about your time — you take pee breaks when you have to, and you also stop and take pictures if you feel like it. There was even a rest area to fritter away time at the midway point on Snoqualmie’s Railroad Avenue. It had bagels, bananas, and drinks; too bad it didn’t have a Port-o-Potty (there weren’t many on the route).
I also appreciated being on roads that were not super busy, riding on mostly flat stretches (only one super-challenging hill, which I conquered!), and seeing pristine views of the countryside that is in Seattle’s backyard. There were about 400 riders altogether in this 23rd annual race, doing either the 25-, 50- or 100-mile routes; I did not seem to know any of my fellow riders, but most seemed friendly and courteous. So were the race organizers — especially the man who painstakingly went through the course map with me and also pinned my bib on the back of my shirt.
Families with children on bikes, riders pulling infants in trailers, and couples on bicycles built for two did this race, alongside fit men and women who looked like they were training for next year’s Tour de France. I enjoyed watching two fit-looking women stop to mug for pictures for each other. Also nice: the free 5-Hour Energy bottles on a table at the starting line, as well as free fruity smoothies handed out at the finish line.
I finished the 25.05 miles in 2 hours, 27 minutes, including time lost for getting off-track on the course (at least twice, I started down wrong roads). That was a faster time than four of my 29 half-marathons. When I was done, I still needed to burn off more energy. So I ride the first leg of the course again — I probably rode 8-10 additional miles before deciding to quit for the day.
The 50-mile leg might have been too ambitious for my first ride; I will tackle that distance in my next ride (post-surgery).
Bottom line: I had fun and want to do more of these rides. Maybe a longer ride will give me the endurance fix I need. I do look forward to doing more rides when I get off crutches this fall.
Till next time.