I participated in the 25-mile ride last year and was so happy with my experience that this year I applied to be an ambassador. The Venus de Miles ride benefits the Greenhouse Scholars, which is an organization dedicated to providing "personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students". This is a great organization and I was thrilled to be a part of it again this year! I summed up the mission of the ride in a blog post earlier this summer. Today's post is the recap of this year's event. There is also a ride coming up later this summer in Colorado.
My sister lives less than a mile from the start of the Illinois ride. Since she was riding with me this year I met her at her house.
I rode over to Lake Forest College, where the race is held. The 62-mile riders were heading out for their ride as I arrived. In the bike racking area, there was a representative from Trek checking out bikes if needed. As I walked over to packet pickup I met the coordinator of the event, Lisa, as well as my fellow ambassador for the 25-mile ride, Tammy. We took pictures and got ready to ride. As it turned out, my sister knew Tammy! What a small world!
|Me, with Tammy, my fellow ambassador. What a dynamo!|
|And we're off!|
So excited that the photographer got this shot of my sister and me.
Some of the riders just kept going, in spite of my sister's insistence we should turn around. The ladies who rode off ahead of us? Who knows how long they rode before they realized they were going the wrong way.
Back on course, we pedaled down the road. The early part of the ride was on very pretty, shady streets. We chit-chatted and admired the beautiful homes along the route. One of my sister's friends is also a runner and it was great to trade anecdotes about past races. There were a lot of cyclists out, riding in packs. The miles flew by and we turned onto the bike path, heading south. There was little shade here and it was pretty warm. We passed a lot of slower, sweaty riders.
One part of the course took us onto a very busy 4 lane highway. I was surprised and a little nervous about that. We picked up the pace and after about a mile or so, we were back on a bike path and then on neighborhood roads.
About halfway into the ride, there was a rest stop for the riders. Last year I didn't stop but this year I was glad to have it. The heat and humidity were taking a toll on all of us. I was drinking my Tailwind, but even though I froze both bottles, it was completely thawed and warm after about 5 miles into the ride. The rest stop had cold cloths for us, water, Nuun, Luna bars, and other snacks, as well as portapotties.
|Rest stop amenities!|
|Janine refueling with Nuun hydration!|
|Merci, Janine, Me, and Lisa|
|The Greenhouse Scholars mingle with participants at the after party. It's really nice to talk with them about their future plans and dreams!|
|The Illinois Greenhouse Scholars|
I wasn't feeling great after the ride, even after refueling and rehydrating, so my sister and I left. But before I left, I talked with Tammy, the other ambassador. I was amazed at everything she does to fundraise for Venus de Miles, including organizing a team of riders! I plan on doing this event again next year and will connect with Tammy to hopefully grow a team like hers with riders where I live. I can't say enough about what a great event Venus de Miles is and I love the charity they support. I'm looking forward to participating again!
|Janine, me, Lisa|
I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday! Annmarie, Nicole, Michelle, and Jen are our hosts.