Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hot Wheeling: Venus de Miles Ride Recap

Another fun Venus de Miles Illinois event is in the books!

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!
We lined up for the ride under the VDM banner. My sister was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her 2 friends, and they rode up to the start just in time. The national anthem was sung and we were off! It was hot and humid, and it felt good to get rolling. This year's course was rerouted, due to some area road construction. We were assured that there was ample signage, as well as police and volunteers directing riders at busy intersections.

And we're off!
So excited that the photographer got this shot of my sister and me.
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I'm not sure what happened, but shortly into the ride, my sister realized that we were off course. We were in the middle of the pack of riders and just followed the women in front of us. I pulled out my map but had no clue where we were. It was a bit of a kerfluffle. Prior to the ride, my sister studied the course map. Between that and her knowledge of the area, she got us back on track. No thanks to the ambassador riding with us. Yes, that would be 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!
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Janine refueling with Nuun hydration!
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Merci, Janine, Me, and Lisa
We headed back onto the road and finished up the ride. Just like last year, the post ride party was amazing. There was a catered brunch with Mexican style foods, which were delicious. There were also cocktails and Goose Island beer, as well as a variety of non-alcoholic beverages. Several of the scholars were walking around and we talked with one who is going to Colby College in Maine to study computer science. Like the scholars we met last year, she was articulate and poised, and also very grateful for the support of the ride. We also checked out the vendors, including Moxie cycling, who provided the ambassador jersey I received. They were offering 25% off jerseys and I bought another one as they were super cute!

The Greenhouse Scholars mingle with participants at the after party. It's really nice to talk with them about their future plans and dreams!
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The Illinois Greenhouse Scholars
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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 linking up with Deb Runs for Wednesday Word. Today's word is kerfluffle. Thank goodness I was able to work this race recap into that word.











I'm also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday! Annmarie, Nicole, Michelle, and Jen are our hosts.


48 comments :

  1. Looks like a great event and for a great cause!! LOVE that jersey!!!!

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  2. I'm glad that most running races are pretty well marked (outside of trail and ultras, maybe, but what do I really know about that?); I can see how much easier it would be to get lost in a bike race.

    Seriously, I'd be doomed!

    How nice that you got to do it with your sister.

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    1. I got off the course last year too! Clearly this is a thing for me. Glad my sister was with me--for many reasons!

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  3. Great shots of you with your sister and fellow ambassador! I am glad you recovered from your little kerfuffle and got back on course. Sounds a little scary to me you had to navigate a busy highway but a treat to ride with your sister I am sure :)
    Love the jersey you wore!

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    1. Cycling clothing is a whole new thing for me! Ruh roh...

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  4. That's too bad about veering off course, good thing your sister figured it out. That post race food sounds great.

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    1. This has to be the best post race party I've ever attended! And I've been to many of them.

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  5. So we're those riders actually off course or was the route just poorly marked? What a great way to spend time with your sister!

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    1. The course was marked but for some reason I hear almost everyone missed this turn. Sadly, there was a cop on the corner stopping cars but he didn't correct the errant riders.

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  6. I also love doing these types of rides they are so much fun and you meet such great people. Love all the wonderful photos. You all went off course too?! I guess it does happen more than I thought.

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    1. It happened to me last year--I didn't expect it to happen again!

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  7. Great jersey! I've done the L.A.T.E. Chicago which was fun and that was 25 miles but also very casual. When I was done, I had breakfast with friends and got home at 6am. And that was the last time I got home at that time. :-)

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    1. I don't think I could ride all night, as fun as that race sounds!

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  8. Great photos! Glad you got back on track after veering off course. I also love that Nuun was there :)

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    1. Nuun and Luna! Free samples all around.

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  9. Blame the going off course on a mirage. It certainly was the hot! Great work!

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  10. This is the second recap of a bike race I've read this week where the rider got off course. Are bike races not as well marked?

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    1. I'm not sure. I've been thinking about it, and it may be that on a bike, we are just moving so much faster than on feet.

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  11. I would definitely be the one to get off course during a bike race...mostly because I've never done one but also because I am bad at paying attention :P

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    1. I'm pretty good at paying attention but it's easy to get distracted on the bike! There's so much to pay attention to!

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  12. Thank heavens you were riding and not running in that brutal heat/humidity! Looks like a fun event minus the getting off course part. How great to ride with your sis!

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    1. I said that very thing to my new runner friend while we were riding! It was a sweatfest.

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  13. I really hope we don't get lost during my ride next weekend because I won't know the area at all! Glad you had fun!

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    1. I'm just glad my sister was there to keep us on course!

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  14. Did you feel better once you got home?

    It sounds like an excellent cause and an amazing race! I've never done a bike race, it scares me that I will fall way behind or that something would happen to my bike.

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    1. I felt kind of off for most of the day. That hasn't happened to me for a while.

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  15. Sounds like a great cause. And fun that you got to do it with your sister.Does she run too?

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    1. She does run too! But she doesn't do races. We run together on our sister trips.

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  16. Unfortunately a well-informed police officer started sending people down the road that he was asked to block. Not sure how that happened but unfortunately even the best made plans can sometimes go awry. Sorry you and the other ladies got off course, and thankful for your sister! Great feedback and learnings for next year!

    It's been great getting to know you this year! Thanks for being such an awesome and enthusiastic ambassador!

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    1. Oh, it was just a blip and something to laugh about! I just love this ride and I hope you'll have me back next year. I've learned a lot about being a race ambassador and I hope to get more riders next year.

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  17. I hope you felt better once you got home and were able to relax a bit. How fun that you got to ride with your sister.

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    1. She's up for a repeat next year! Hopefully we can get more friends to ride.

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  18. What a fun event! Good thing your sister was able to get you on track. I'm terrible with navigation....I would have been one of those ladies stubbornly riding off the wrong way, haha!

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    1. I'm actually good with navigation--I was a former home health nurse, but since I wasn't familiar with the route, I had no clue where we were going! It's a good thing I had my sister along!

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  19. First off- how cool that you got to run with your sis! And what a great cause!

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    1. I think bike riding is our sweet spot!

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  20. Sounds like a fun event! I'm glad you figured out you were off course and got back on before it turned into an even bigger kerfuffle!

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Thankful that I was able to fit this post into your WW!

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  21. Sounds like a great race! So glad you were able to get turned back in the right direction!!

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  22. How fun and what a great cause to support.

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    1. Absolutely! Looking forward to next year!

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  23. What a fun race, even though you guys got turned around! It's also awesome to support such a great cause.

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    1. I agree. I wish you lived closer so you could ride with us!

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  24. Ahhhh, I've never participated in this race but constantly hear rave reviews!!! I hope you were able to recover fully after you got home!!!

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    1. Maybe you could ride with us next year!

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