Monday, May 26, 2014

Cycling Double Header

This past weekend I participated in two local cycling events that were at one time collectively known as the "Cycling Double Header." Saturday I rode in my fifth consecutive Wilderness Road Ride and Sunday I volunteered for the Weight Club sponsored aid station at mile 28 of the Mountains of Misery century ride.

The Wilderness Road Ride

WRR is a supported, untimed ride with options for 29, 58, and 79 mile routes. It goes along part of Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road and on beautiful roads of our New River Valley and along the New River. I did not think there was any way I'd be ready for this considering my first bike ride after my layoff was May 14 and the ride was just 10 days later. But I did a pretty decent group ride of 20 miles on May 21 just before the Ride of Silence and realized I should have no problem doing the shortest distance 29 mile WRR option.

I was happy to see Mark Long, the chief organizer of the WRR for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He's raced at ITU Age Group World Championships, he's an Ironman, and a marathoner and ultramarathoner. Mark exemplifies joy and gratitude for the sport and he generously offers encouragement to others.

The real motivation for the ride? That might just be the 7-layer bars at the aid station. Several of us discussed how important this tradition has become, and how much we look forward to that special treat that we probably do not even come close to burning off!!

soooo happy to be back out with Roo!!!

Mountains of Misery

Early Sunday morning I met up with Kristen and Jordan Chang to load up food and supplies to drive about 45 minutes to set up and staff this Mountains of Misery aid station. We were joined by Sarah Abbott and Deb Christman plus our aid station shared the Craig County Library parking lot with bike mechanics from East Coasters, a ham radio crew, and a few SAG vehicles.

We got set up pretty gosh darn fast: tent raised (thank you Solar Connexion), tables set, coolers filled with Heed and ice water, bananas and oranges cut, the first round of peanut butter + jelly sandwiches made, and cookies, pretzels, and sun chips set out. Jordan brought music, I had flags, and Kristen made a poster.

before the bike mechanics got non-stop busy

ham radio team

Kristen prepping sandwiches during the calm before the storm...
when peanut butter could be spread perfectly edge-to-edge.

Then we saw the first of the 500-some riders come through. Two giant packs zoomed along bypassing our stop, making the left-hand turn faster than I ever would ever have dared. Soon others began to stop in. At that point, I did a few different things. First I borrowed a shovel from the gas station to clear gravel out of the intersection in front of our area. Then I held a few bikes for people.

Then this (below) became my view for 85% of the time that riders were coming in. Bread. Lots of it. The cyclists probably spanned about 90 minutes from the first to the last rider. We made a boatload of PB+Js, often with one of us on PB duty and another on J duty.

For all my efforts, I earned a blister. I sacrifice for my people.

It was a little crazy but SO much fun! We were a very efficient team and the riders were very gracious and thankful. I did enjoy catching a glimpse of the gorgeous bikes and some entertaining jerseys - South Park, tuxedo, plaid... I saw a few Go-Pros and learned a trick about propping your bike up on a pedal at a curb. Somewhere in that big group of riders was my vascular surgeon Jesse Davidson, which I still think is extremely cool!!! He's done the ride for many years.

We had things cleaned up and packed up by 10:15 am and returned to Blacksburg by 11:15. I can see the appeal of that ride and I am really proud of my friends who did it - Justin H, Matt P, Curt N, Mark P, Sarah Z, Eric W, Chris P and others I am apologetically blanking on right now...

Next up on my busy volunteering calendar: Off the Rails Sprint Triathlon in Roanoke, VA next Saturday! In the meantime, I'm working on my return to fitness and speed for a July return to triathlon!