The trouble was, it was right after my mother died. She died on February 24, the funeral was February 26, and I flew back to San Diego March 1. I wasn't sure if I should do the ride, training or not. But the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced I should. First, my mother would have wanted me to do it. She told me before she died that she didn't want me to stop any of my activities, races, etc because of her. Also, I needed the stress release. After a very stressful month (my daughter broke her ankle in two places, my husband had a heart attack, and my mother died all in a one month period of time) I needed to get my stress out, and do something that was just for me.
As it turns out, it was a great decision.
I arrived at the starting point, a local high school, early to pick up my number (since I was flying the day before I was not able to attend the pre-packet pick. It was drizzling. I met up with my friend Andrea, and basically hung out huddled under an awning trying to keep dry until it was time to get going. A quick run into the school to use their bathroom, and then it was time to go. I had promised my husband that if I felt unsafe I wouldn't start the ride...or even finish it. I knew that if conditions were too unsafe I could either call the SAG wagon to get me, or even just call my husband. When the ride started, it had started to rain a bit harder. Not pour, but a definite sprinkle. I decided to HTFU and at least start. I got in the line of riders (mostly women, as it was a women's ride, but there a few men along riding as "Rico Suaves", helping when help was needed). I crossed the red carpet they had set up and I was off and riding!
|starting on the red carpet. in the rain.|
|Selfie, in the rain, at rest stop #1|
The next stop, which was not an official rest stop but a stop for a "spa goodie" was at La Costa Resort and Spa. Right when I turned into the resort, I got a flat tire. Ugh! I do know how to change them, but luckily of of the male "Rico Suave" riders changed it for me---by that point it was drizzling again and I was happy to let him. Our "gift" was a coupon to use for future spa services, which I doubt I'll ever use.
After leaving La Costa, we had to go through some rollers until we hit rest stop #2. Here, we stopped and ate. I went off my ride plan---the food looked so good and I was starving! It was catered, and while a lot of it was not vegetarian, I did get some good food to eat. Here they had fresh, dry maps, which I pocketed. Andrea and I then left and hit the biggest hill, San Elijo, of the ride. It was long, straight uphill, and steep. I got in granny and spun up---it was hard, but I did it! All the hill training I've been doing has been paying off.
Around this time, Andrea began to have trouble. She was very tired and slowing down. I wouldn't have minded waiting for her---in fact, I did--but I was running out of time, as I was hosting a shiva at my house that evening to honor and mourn my mother. I had to get home. So after much hesitation I ended up leaving her (she soon called the SAG wagon and got a ride back to the finish). I rode alone for quite a while until I hit the third and final rest stop, #3. Again, I loaded up on food (yum!) and tried to get out of there as soon as possible.
The rest of the ride I was alone. I rode Del Dios Highway, which was gorgeous. The rain was gone, and the views were spectacular. But then I got lost. I remembered at the third rest stop I saw on the map I was supposed to turn on Via de la Valle. So when I saw a turn for Via de la Valle, I stopped to look at my map--which was missing. Great. Here I was alone with no map. Luckily I knew where I was, so I just turned on the street and rode. Eventually I saw cyclists going the OTHER way--I guess I should have kept going for a while. The end result was that I rode 67, not the full 69 miles. Oh well.
Toward the end was one last big climb, up El Camino Real. This hill ALWAYS gives me trouble; in fact, it's my most hated hill to do in San Diego. Halfway up my legs just gave out, so I got off and walked about 1/4 mile up. I was a bit disappointed in myself, but at that point I'd had enough. Soon I turned back on Del Mar Heights Road, and ended up back at the high school. I crossed the red carpet to lots of cheers, found Andrea, and got my medal.
|a medal hard-earned|