workout fuel

A Peach of a Century, Finale

If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

After the first rest stop, the route wound through the town of Scio, over some bridges, across the Santiam River and into farm land. It was miles and miles of corn fields and recently tilled land. There were very few trees in this part of the route and because it was down in the valley there was just WIND. Wind, head wind, side wind, unfortunately no wind at our back making it any easier to ride!

This was the most difficult part of the metric century for me. I was feeling slow, lethargic, my lower back was starting to ache, I was getting a bit saddle sore, my neck felt fatigued. It was just hard. We were working so much harder than we had to because of that damn wind. I stopped a lot during the next 15 miles. I just had to. If I didn’t, I think I would have felt the mental fizzle and lost all of that excitement and fire that was motivating me to the finish line.

We were riding in the middle of nowhere, ironically not too far my aunt’s farm. I recognized a lot of the landmarks and road signs because of summers spent down on her farm when I was a kid. We rode over a covered bridge, which was really pretty.

Mentally I used the tactic of denial to get through this stretch. I refused to let myself dwell on the discomfort or pains I was feeling. None of it was so bad that I was miserable but it was definitely difficult and uncomfortable. Michael and I stopped under a tree in the shade to reload on water and apricots and just rest for a few minutes. I asked him how close we were to the last rest stop. “Have we at least gone 30 miles so far?” Yes we had. But not by much more. Okay. I can do this.

The last ten miles or so to the rest stop were hard but I made it. I was ready to eat lunch, too. The last rest stop was at the Pioneer Park in Stayton, at mile 43.5. That meant we had about 20 miles to go to the finish.

The food was set up in another covered bridge in the park, right next to the creek. They had the same food that was at the first rest stop, but also the sandwiches for lunch, too. You had to pre-order them and I’m glad we did. I needed something more substantial than trail mix, bagels and cream cheese.

I ate most of my ham sandwich, which wasn’t exceptional in any way but who cares at that point? I’d burned around 1900 calories by mile 43 and was ready to EAT. It came with Sun Chips and I ate 3/4 of the bag, and a Snickerdoodle cookie which I devoured all of. We let lunch sit a little bit (but not long enough for my liking) and then got back on the bikes. The thirty minute lunch break was a good rest. I felt like I got a second wind after lunch and the last 20 miles were MUCH easier for me.

DON’T GET CONFUSED! Make sure you take the right route! That could be awful! Like I said, I was feeling much better after lunch (despite a too-full tummy) and made better time. My body felt better, too.

There was still a heavy wind but it wasn’t as miserable as the other part before lunch. The back roads were pretty quiet and it was such a scenic route that I just enjoyed myself. I thought about how happy I was that Michael and I were able to do the event, and how happy I was that my body was relatively good.

See! I’m smiling! More cornfields. More farms. GENTLE rolling hills…at least for awhile. Then we saw came around a bend and saw this:

I think my exact words were: “Are you kidding me? COME ON!”  I mean really, who puts the hardest hills at the last 10 miles of the event?! That’s just mean. I saw the hill coming so I had plenty of time to dread it, anticipate it, and get nervous butterflies in my stomach. I huffed and I puffed and I made it up that hill without feeling awful! I was really proud of myself. Michael and I took a little break at the top.

Thankfully, the next part was a downhill coast. I’ve never been more happy for a downhill descent. We were so so close to the end. The next part of the route was on a really busy road. The bike lane was pretty wide but the cars were going really fast. It made a little bit nervous. Luckily there weren’t any crashes or anything (that I am aware of) during this event but when we first started out I did see a car almost clip one of the cyclists and that was scary.

We arrived at the starting point happy and accomplished! Michael reached out and held my hand for a second while we rode into the college parking lot. I had a big smile on my face and I felt SO HAPPY that I ended my summer on a high note. We did it!!! 5.5 hours of actual riding time! (I didn’t stop my watch during our lunch break.) It was a little slower than I had predicted we’d be but that damn wind slowed us down.

Stats:

Time: 5.5 hours
Miles: 64.2
Calories Burned: 2768

How was I feeling? Awesome! I felt even better once we changed out of our spandex! My body felt really great after I got off the bike. I was expecting to be stiff or sore but I wasn’t. After we changed and locked up our bikes, we grabbed our pie reward. You could choose Marionberry or Peach. It’s been years since I had Marionberry pie so that’s what I got. Michael got the peach. (I won’t lie, I was tempted to go back for a slice of the peach, but I resisted).

That pie was to-die-for.

Doesn’t that look good? After relaxing for a bit, we drove home. I was sweaty, sticky, sleepy and ready to be home. I took one of the best showers of my life, second only to the post-Hood to Coast shower–slathered on some Biofreeze and put on my compression tights while I relaxed. I felt awesome.

Dinner was simple. Michael grilled up some steaks, I steamed the last of our broccoli and made salads.

I also opened up a nice bottle of red wine that we got the last time we went wine tasting. I figured a nice bottle of wine was a good way to celebrate a good day! I had one glass of the red with dinner and it made me want to sleep. I may or may not have been in bed by 7:30 p.m. Sunday night!

This is what I wanted. I wanted to finish the summer with a happy fitness memory. Sure, it wasn’t the full 100 miles like I had hoped to do this year, but that doesn’t mean 64 miles is anything to sneeze at. I am proud of myself. I’m proud of Michael for doing it with me even though he wasn’t really in cycling shape (he’d been golfing and using the kettle bell more than cycling this summer). I was happy he was at my side to do the bike ride and that we both felt pretty good at the end!

QUESTION: Did you have a fitness event this summer? How did it go?

A Peach of a Century, Part 1

The first words out of Michael’s mouth the morning of our metric century ride was: “Why did we sign up for this again?” Getting up at 6am on a Sunday is never something one looks forward to…especially when you tossed and turned the night before. But I hopped (crawled slowly) out of bed and got ready for our end-of-summer-adventure.

We had a breakfast of pancakes (I had a piece of bacon and 2 Italian plums as well) and geared up with our spandex, bikes and some coffee, we drove down to Salem for the Peach of a Century ride. I’ll be honest: one of the biggest challenges was our clothing choices. It was barely 50 degrees Sunday morning and as we drove through the valley, a heavy mist hung over everything. It was a cold morning.

We arrived at the check-in spot at about 8:15 and were faced with a decision. Be cold now but happy later when it’s hot? Or warm now and miserable later when it’s hot? I chose to wear my tights, my cold weather gloves and my arm warmers instead of a jacket. Michael went with a long sleeved jersey. This proved to be a poor choice later.

We got our packets and got ready to go. We started out around 8:30 a.m. and I was feeling excited about our day.

The first eight miles or so were  pretty flat as we rode through the valley. The roads were marked really well and we never had any issues knowing what direction to take. There was spray painted markings on the road saying to go straight, left, or right.

We pulled over at around mile 13 because I was really hot. I took of my arm warmers and switched my gloves to my summer gloves. That helped a lot. It was still a little cool out, especially in the shade, but I felt warm enough with my exercise.

We hit the first decent sized hill and while my legs were feeling a bit lethargic, I made it up the hill pretty easily and felt really good about myself. The 62 mile route was supposed to be fairly “easy”, meaning it didn’t have the crazy elevation that the 100 mile route had, but we still encountered a lot of hard hills. HILLS! Look at that one!

We rode through the rolling hills of the valley, speeding by the farms and barns, the Christmas tree farms and the nurseries. It was a beautiful, scenic area to ride in and there was very low traffic, too.


Then there were more hills. One right after another. And these weren’t sissy little hills, these were challenging. I just looked down, pedaled the best I could and refused to give up. I was not going to walk up any of those hills!

Once I got to the top of both of them, I rested for a few moments and let my heart rate get back to the non-exploding bpm! Luckily, it was downhill on the other side of the hill! Michael was waiting for me at the top.

After the last big hill it was a nice downhill descent. Coasting! YAY! Once we got to the bottom of the hill, we were at the first rest stop at mile 22.5 in Jefferson, Oregon. The spread was fantastic! I was really impressed with the excellent support for the event. It was hosted by the Salem Bicycle Club and they just did an awesome job.

The first rest stop was perfect timing, too, because I was famished! I’d been snacking on dried apricots but that just wasn’t enough. The spread was great! They had roasted red potatoes, lots and lots of muffins, cookies, biscuits, bread for sandwiches, peanut butter, a ton of fruit, bagels and trail mix. I was really impressed with the food at this event. It was the best out of all the events I’ve done so far.

YUM! FEED ME. I had 1/4 of a bagel with cream cheese, a few potatoes with ranch dressing, 1/4 of a banana and a bunch of trail mix. It was perfect. It really hit the spot and got me through the next part of the ride.

 

Check out my new cycling jersey! It was great. The only thing I didn’t like was the pockets. They were a bit small. It was finally too warm for cycling tights so I took those off and ended up wrapping the pant legs around my waist like a jacket because the tights just didn’t fit in my jersey. I felt so much better shedding layers. It had warmed up nicely and felt like a hot summer day. Poor Michael only had his long-sleeved jersey. 🙁

We refilled our water bottles and set out for the second leg of our journey. The hardest part of the ride. To be concluded shortly!

 

QUESTION: What are your favorite “fuel” foods on long rides or runs? What works best for you?