So I am officially a part of the century club, and I was smiling for 85% of the journey including the finish! A little background on the Kelly Brush Foundation and why I picked this ride.
It is an organization that promotes snow ski racing safety and gives grants to provide disabled athletes with equipment to do things like cycle and snow ski (my 2 favorite things)! At this ride the Castleton Ski Team volunteers, which I where I went to college and skied for the team. Coming into the ride I was planning on making friends along the way, because I did not have anyone to ride due to my partner backing out a couple months prior to the ride. This was honestly my biggest worry that mentally it would be hard to complete the ride without a friend. When I arrived I met up with my former ski coach and he informed me the family of a girl I raced with in college were riding. They invited me to hang out with them for the day. This was a MAJOR blessing! They are very positive people, we had a lot in common since they all went to Castleton and skied for the team, they knew the route VERY well, and the Mom drove our own personal SAG wagon. The family dog was also in tow, he put a smile on my face every time we played at each rest stop.
The weather started off perfect and just as forecasted sunny and brisk. I was very well prepared and wore my legging and windbreaker and felt comfortable. In this portion of the ride it was pretty flat, we only gained around 2,000 feet and our pace was very comfortable. The plan was to stop at every water stop which I was happy about and I was doing a decent job of eating and taking in electrolytes. It was not hot so I had to put some effort into making sure I did because my sweat was evaporating really well which was making it so I didn’t notice I needed to replenish. Overall it was beautiful country side and really nice roads! No traffic! And a couple race teamers cheering us on!
At some point in time it started to rain and became windy! O yeah, and we started to climb (3,000+ feet in the 2nd 50 miles)! This was the hardest section of the ride. Not sure if it was just the course or a combo of the rain but my right knee started to hurt. When we got to the rest stop at mile 60ish I took Advil which I very much debated because I know the affect it has on the body during exercise, but I was only half way and didn’t want to deal with the pain for another 40 miles. About 5 miles later I hit the wall, we were riding through beautiful vineyards and I started to get shaky and dizzy. I quickly slowed my cadance and started to eat a clif bar and have a sleeve of chews. After several minutes my body had the fuel it needed and I was back to smiling. At the last water stop I was so consumed with my knee pain and if I should take off my leggings that I only ate a bite or two and that was a mistake. Luckily I recovered to enjoy this really cute little covered bridge and photo opportunity.
At this point I am smiling again despite the rain. I added some peanut M&M’s to my diet at the 75 mile water stop and this gave me a major boost in energy. I was worried that I was going to crash but I continued on with a smile and no crash (energy crash). I had friends meet me at the 90 mile water stop, and they were an awesome “pit crew” as they called themselves. They filled my water bottles and put a blanket around me. By this time the rain had stopped and it was sunny again. One of my fellow riders was having shifting problems so the mechanic looked at the bike and stated he needed a new chain. So After about 30 minutes at the last rest stop we were on our way to finish the last 10 miles. I was informed that there was a long gradual miserable hill and then we were home free. I will say the hill wasn’t as bad as it sounded and we did the last 10 miles quickly, at least it felt that way.
I finished with a smile on my face to the Castleton ski team cheering us on!!! Kelly Brush also greeted us and talked out how the ride went. She did the 25 mile loop on her own hand cycle. Watching the hand cyclist achieve this ride was very humbling and inspiring!
All in all I came into this ride a little burnt out and I finished thinking I probably could have done another 20 miles. It took me a little over 7 hours and averaged a little over 14 miles per hour which were within my goals for the day. Happy people, awesome smooth roads, food, the right gear (thank you Newington Bike) , and I guess good training (Thank you Andrew!) all contributed to the fact that I had fun on this ride!