The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Rhode Island Century and the Sisterhood of the GOBs

The Rhode Island Century is advertised as "The Flattest Century in the East." That's why the sisters decided to make this our first century. And it was pretty flat. Someone told me the elevation gain is about 2500 feet; I would be surprised if it was that much. But compared to the hills of Westchester County, this was not challenging terrain for us. However, even 100 flat miles is a long way to go on a bike. It wasn't easy; it just could have been alot more difficult. We all made it. It was tough. And I don't know if I would have been able to do it without the sisterhood of the GOBs as my support team.

The plan was to arrive on Saturday afternoon and go out for a short 20 mile ride to check out our bikes and get a little loose. Sisters Ellen and Judy had some major work done on their bikes in the last week and wanted to make sure all the parts were working. But Saturday was a wash-out. So we had a lovely dinner and went to sleep early. We arrived at registration at about 6:30 and got on the road at 7 am. The first 30 miles went down easy, but I have no impressions of where I was. It was pretty foggy. Sister Ellen lost her rear derailleur at mile 7. She had to call for the SAG wagon. They picked her up and brought her to the first rest stop where there was a bike mechanic. The diagnosis was obvious-- the cable had snapped and he replaced it! Off we went in a paceline, and before we knew it, we were at the second rest stop at mile 47. We shed some clothes and I put on my sunglasses. We were starting to see little breaks in the clouds and I was optimistic that the sun was going to shine on us. The next 30 miles were beautiful. We ride along the beaches and channels and back country roads and the sun was dipping in and out of the clouds. When we got to the third rest stop at mile 70, we were all getting tired. We tried to think of it as 70 miles done instead of 30 miles left, but 30 more miles....... Miles 70-85 were the toughest. It was hard to enjoy the scenery, I think all I saw was my odometer, ticking off 1 mile at a time. At about mile 85 I sucked down a Hammer gel, and that definitely helped. My legs were tired but I didn't seem to mind quite as much. I coasted as much as possible; didn't try to push the big ring to move faster. Even the littlest rise in the road felt like a mountain. The last 5 miles were kinda irrelevant. I knew we were all going to make it, and I just kept pedaling to be done with it and get off the bike. When we finally finished, there were hugs and kisses all around and hamburgers! It took us about 9 hours; yes, the sisters are slow but we are still mighty.

At 5:00 I got in my car and began the long trip home. The other sisters stayed over and are returning today. If I had realized how far it was (about 200 miles!), I probably would have done the same. I did get to sleep in my own bed, although I'm sure I would have slept well almost anywhere. Today my legs are tired, and the back of my neck and shoulders are a bit sore. But it sure feels good to have completed my first century and to be able to share that with the sisterhood of the GOBs.

No comments: