|Michelle, me, Karen|
|Karen and Michelle looking cute as always!|
|Good stuff, I must admit!|
|Lining up at the start|
|Some of the Greenhouse Scholars|
Somehow I ended up at the very front, which was fine with me, because I don't like getting stuck in a group--biking or running. The route eventually took us on a bike path, which was flat and straight, and I took off. For a while there were women behind me, but most of the time, I was riding alone. About 9 miles later, we headed onto a very busy street. There were police at the intersections to stop traffic, which was really nice, and cones blocking the right lane for us. In spite of that, this was, for me, the toughest part of the course. The road was a slow, long incline, at least one mile long, and the road was in pretty bad shape, with lots of holes and uneven pavement. We were riding into the wind, and I struggled to maintain my cadence as I climbed this hill. A couple of women caught up to me, and I waited for them to pass me. But they never did. When we finally got to the top of the hill and off that crappy street, I told them to go ahead, but they laughed and said they were happy right where they were. Later, they admitted to drafting off me. I kind of figured that was what was happening back there. That's why I wanted them to pass me....so I could draft off them....
At mile 17 there was a rest stop. Since I brought my Nuun with me, I didn't want to stop, and the volunteer who was flagging everyone into the rest stop told me to go south. After a couple of miles, I realized where I was and that I was going the wrong way. I stopped and pulled out the course map. Sure enough, he sent me in the wrong direction. I turned around and headed back north again, eventually joining the other riders. Good thing this wasn't a race!
There were a few more hills and the temperature continued to rise, along with the humidity. I was sweating like crazy and drinking my Nuun. I was hungry too, but I didn't want to stop to eat. I just wanted to finish. The route went right past my sister's house, and I planned to stop there. I finally headed down her street, and there she was! It was great to see her, and she told me that the finish was just a few blocks away. We made plans to meet up there, and I headed back towards the college.
|Yay! My sister Lisa and me|
While we were sitting, two of the Greenhouse Scholars came up to us, thanking us for participating. They told us where they were going to college, and as it turns out, both of them were nursing students. I told them I was a nurse practitioner, and we had a great conversation about that. I was so moved by these young adults, both so articulate and genuinely pleasant. I couldn't help but think what a wonderful cause we rode for, and what a great experience the day was.
My sister walked me back to the car, and I loaded the bike in. As I was driving her back to her house, we heard a whooshing sound in the back of the car. My bike tire went flat, just like that. So weird. When I got home I tried to fill it back up, but it wouldn't. I'm not sure what happened, but I'm grateful I didn't get a flat on the road!
Overall, Venus de Miles was an amazing experience. My only complaint obviously, is the volunteer who sent me the wrong way. The course was well marked and having police at the intersections was very reassuring. Riding through the beautiful northern suburbs of Chicago was a plus. The after party was wonderful, with food catered by Whole Foods. I highly recommend this ride, and plan on doing it again next year. What a wonderful cause!
And in case you were wondering, here are my final numbers from my Garmin:
I know it wasn't a race, but would you not have wanted to know how you did?
Have you ever done a bike ride for charity? Would you do a bike ride that wasn't a race?
I'm linking this one up with Jessica at The Silvah Lining--she hosts a Race Recap linkup every Tuesday. Every 3rd Tuesday, Lara from Uptite Mamas and I get to co-host it with her! Please head over and linkup a race recap you've written, new or old. And check out some of the other posts!