Monday, September 10, 2012

#50 Ride in a 50 mile Bike Race

One of the greatest things about having this bucket list idea is that I get to go out and experience new things that I have never tried before. I get to push myself to new limits as I try to reach goals that I set for myself and then tell you all about it. This past week I marked off another thing on my list as I competed in the annual bike race called "Pedal to the Medal." It is a race to benefit the athletes in the local special olympics. My dad is recently very big into bike racing. He and his road bike have reached goals and destinations that I only dare travel by car. A few weeks ago he asked me if I wanted to participate in the Pedal to the Medal race. Though I only have a mountain bike and don't have any prior racing experience on wheels I told him I'd join him. He gave me fair warning that this race was shorter than the usual races he participates in but to make up for the shorter distance there was going to be a massive hill climb. I figured no sweat, I can do anything. I learned that it would be a bit harder than I previously imagined.
 My dad picked me up early in the morning on the Saturday of the race. We got to the starting line just in time and started at the front of the pack. As the race started off I did okay and only got passed by a few people. Eventually though I found myself alone and pushin to get to the hill climb. I would say I was crusin at about 10 mph and feeling great. However, as soon as I hit the hill climb I came to find out what endurance really means. The climb didn't start off too bad and was pretty gradual but as soon as I got out of the valley and into the mountainside it became utterly ridiculous. I honestly have never pushed myself to that kind of physical exhaustion before. It was a good thing that I kept myself hydrated and downin 100 calorie packs because there seriously was no end to that stinkin climb. It was a beast. Eventually I found my way to the half way mark of the race. My dad got into the pit stop just a few seconds behind me. While we rehydrated and got ready for our descent I was talking with an older woman racing. She told me that last year she felt so stupid because she had done this race on a mountain bike. She went on and on about how dumb she was for doing that. I quickly chimed in that I indeed had done the race on a mountain bike. I felt sheepish as she told me I must be dumb too. I had a good laugh about it as I passed her later though.

Coming down the hill was pretty intense. I was not able to pedal as I ran out of gears but it felt so good to be going down and not up. I think at this point was the hardest part of the race. After I soured down the pass I got back to the 12 mile stretch before the hill. Previously, this was a piece of cake but boy did that change. I had the hardest time getting back to the finish line. I passed numerous people reliving what they had for breakfast and I felt their pain big time. As I got to the end I thought of the many metaphors I would use this race for in future sacrament talks and soap box speeches for my kids. It was definitely rewarding to get to the finish line and seeing Danielle and Mallory there with my dad giving me the thumbs up as I finished. They were so nice to come and support and wait for the probable 4 hours it took me to get my butt up the hill and back. We enjoyed cheeseburgers together after the race and my dad even won the most spirited uniform award. He was pretty stoked about it as his jersey he was sporting made the Steeler Nation proud.

I was so happy to get this checked off my list. I think in the future I am going to train a bit more before I take on such a daunting task and probably will be taking on the 100 mile mark soon enough. Thanks to everyone who made this possible and for everyone in my life that keeps me pushing up the tough hills of life.

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