Part 3- The Last 10 Miles
The last place I left off was…oh yeah, my bike went kablooey and I had to ride the last 10 miles of the route without any gears. Fun times! I got back on my bike and luckily the majority of the ride was flat or downhill, or with only a slight incline. No more crazy hills to attempt (and without any gears). The chain sounded awful and I was afraid to stop for fear of my bike just imploding. I wanted to cross that finish line with Michael at my side, ON MY BIKE. I came this far, I certainly wasn’t going to walk across that finish line.
And besides…I had signed up for Reach the Beach for the challenge…Right? Right! What could be more challenging than completing it without gears?
I sucked down another GU, not sure how those last 10 miles would be. We rode through more forest, next to a river and it was FREEZING. I was starting to shiver. We rode out of the forested area and into more rolling hills and countryside.We were in the sunshine at that point so it was teeny bit warmer but not by much.
I was really struggling on my bike. I just kept pedaling.
Then I saw it.
Though the trees, in the distance, was the very tip of Haystack Rock. I knew we had to be close!
That picture was not the sight I saw, what I saw was much further away and through the trees. I put my ALL into those last 10 miles. I pedaled and pedaled. Michael was awesome and kept telling me I could do it and that we were almost there. We turned off the old highway and onto 101. I knew we were even closer when I saw a sign that said Pelican Pub Next Left! Next Left! We were almost there!
But we weren’t. It was just more trickery! Up ahead, I could see police lights in the middle of Highway 101. They were stopping all traffic to allow the riders to turn left off Hwy 101 and onto the road that would take us to the beach. They closed off the left lane to all traffic and allowed the riders to have that entire lane. I passed a lot of people–even with just one gear. Michael stayed by my side and we got closer and closer to town. There were big yellow signs that said “Finish in 3 Miles!” and “2 Miles Left!” I could do this!
We came to an intersection where we had to stop and wait to be directed. I took this moment to take a photo of Michael. The guy next to us was joking and chatting us up. He had started at the First Start and did the 100 miles. He tried to Photobomb my photo (which was funny) but my camera was too slow to catch it.
The last 10 miles of Reach the Beach were the hardest ten miles I’ve ever done.
The lady directed us to turn left and said we were almost there. We rode on. And then I started to see SAND! I saw BEACH! We really WERE almost there! It was complete chaos. People leaving were riding the opposite directions, cars were moving at snail’s pace to find parking, people were even sitting on top of vans and trucks to watch!
Then I looked up and saw a big white banner with the red letters on it. FINISH!! Oh my god! We were almost there!
And then we CROSSED the FINISH LINE TOGETHER!!!!!
When we crossed the finish line, they took pictures and someone handed us medals! I had no idea we’d get medals! Michael gave me a big kiss (awww) and said he was proud of me. I was proud of him! He did 80 Miles!!!
Here are photos of our Heart Rate Monitors:
So technically I did the 55 miles in 5 hours (It took me a few minutes after the finish line to remember to turn off the HRM). But I really think I did it in 4 hours of riding. I didn’t pause or stop the HRM at any rest stops, or during the 20 minutes my bike was broken. I think I had good time. Michael said our heart rate average was so low because of the wind. Which is weird because I feel like I had been working pretty hard!
We were shaky, freezing and it was chaotic at the finish line. But we parked our bikes in the bike lot and got in line for food.
It was buffet style and the line moved pretty quickly considering there were over 3,000 riders! I got a little bit of the pasta, a chicken fajita with rice, 2 breadsticks, salad, and a huge chocolate chip brownie. The line for the beer was too long and it was too freezing. We found a spot inside a tent to eat our food. Unfortunately, I was freezing and shivering so badly I couldn’t really enjoy any of the finish-line festivities. Michael was concerned I was getting hypothermia so we got out of there pretty fast. I’m okay with that because we still had a 2 hour drive home.
I got home, took a hot bath and had a snack of raising bran cereal, then collapsed into bed. I don’t remember falling asleep. I slept like the dead and woke up Sunday morning feeling like a million bucks!
Reach The Beach Stats:
Time: 5 hours
Calories Burned: 2,538
Distance: 55 Miles
Number of Broken Chains: 1
Number of Tears: A few
Number of Times I walked: ZERO
Would I do it again? For sure! It was such an amazing, fun experience. Even with the drama of the bike chain. I loved the camaraderie. I loved how nice everyone was. It was like I was with “my people”… people who like the outdoors, people who like fitness and challenging themselves. I saw a lot of the same people on the ride. People that I passed many many times, then they passed me. We drafted off a couple on a tandem bike many times, passed them numerous times, then they passed us. It was the experience of a lifetime and something I definitely want to experience again.