Friday, May 13, 2016

Quitting is Sometimes an Option

Last weekend marked year three for me to ride the Shiner GASP, and well, it was much different than years before, but still the same good time! I've written about the details of the ride before, so I won't go too much in to that, but rather cover what a series of unfortunate events this year's ride ended up being!

My husband (we got married the weekend before!) left our house at 6am to head down to Shiner. New this year was the 50 mile ride was a loop course starting and ending from the brewery. This made logistics easier since he didn't want to ride the full course, he could go there, and we automatically had a ride home. 

My friend Cody and I loaded up the truck and got to the 100 mile ride start line at about 6:30am. Since he came in from Louisiana, we had not yet gotten our packets, and the line to get them was a little outrageous. So much so that the ride started and people were still in line to get their bibs! It ended up not being a big deal for us, as we were able to just merge in with the tail-end of the group after tossing our stuff back in the truck. It's not a race, so starting a couple minutes behind is fine. 

Our first 10 miles or so were business as usual. Then I noticed my quads were getting awfully tired for such a short time in the saddle. It turns out that when I had adjusted the seat (way) up for my friend to ride my bike the week prior, we had managed to strip the cheap bolts that came with the seat post collar. I was sinking, slowly, and then all at once. It's a little difficult to un-clip from your pedal with your knees in your chest, by the way, but thankfully I didn't wreck.

We tried once, twice, three times to tighten the bolts, to no avail. Every 3-5 miles I'd bottom out and have to stop to jerk my saddle back up. 

Thankfully, at the halfway point, I had a stroke of genius and asked the medical table for some tape. I wrapped strips of duct tape around my seat post, making it too thick to slide down in to the frame.

This was an almost perfect plan. I realized an issue quickly though, when I got on and almost couldn't clip in becuase my feet wouldn't reach. Apparently when I set the saddle height, I did it on an incline, it was way too tall! I thought I could deal with it, but after ten more miles, I had to stop, remove the tape in a small patch of shade on the side of the road and try again. Instant relief.

Painter's tape also made a cheap and awesome watch mount for my handlebars when it got too hot to wear it anymore!
 To add to this saddle drama was the fact that our speed was slowing dramatically. Normally for the Shiner GASP, you can expect heat and wind, but typically not until you reach Flatonia and the last 25 miles of the ride. This year, it began at mile 20 and never, ever, not even for a little bit, let up. We did our first 20 miles at 18.5 miles per hour. As the hours ticked on and on, we slowed to a 14.5mph average.

By the time we hit mile 75, I turned to Cody and asked him if it'd be OK for me to call Bryce to come get us, and I don't think I've ever seen a bigger look of relief on anyone's face. Both of us are stubborn. Both of us finish what we start, and neither wants to get teased by the other for being a baby about it. We were both just D.O.N.E and ready for a beer!
Sitting in the shade waiting on our rescue wagon.
 Bryce was surprised to get my "Save meeeeee" text, as he also knows I am stubborn and don't like to quit. He even asked, "are you sure you want to stop?"

Yes. My butt hurt. My legs hurt. My saddle was beginning to sink again because the heat and humidity was making the tape lose stickiness. We had things to do in Austin that evening. We were hungry. And we wanted a Shiner. Had we kept on at the pace we were at, it would have been 2.5 more hours, when we'd already been going for 7 hours (including pit stops).

Sometimes, when it's not a race, and it's not fun anymore, it's time to stop so you can start having fun again. 
Happy faces when we learned help was on the way!
 Cody is new to cycling, and I didn't want his fist long-distance ride to be a bad experience. He had already done 80 miles- longer than he'd ever ridden before. Worked for us. We didn't feel too bad as we sat in the shade and used the towel we were throwing in to wipe the salt from our faces, we saw no less than 6 people pile in the SAG wagon, 4 more go by in the back of a truck, and another woman on the phone with her husband asking to come get her. It was just one of those days!
Sorry to quit, but glad to be in the AC! (Also sorry we stunk so bad and thankful our rescuer allowed us to ride inside!)
 Bryce dropped us with our bags at the brewery and we went to the shower trucks to rinse off, grab some brats, and finally get in line for a beer (or two...) Once I had all the salt off me, I felt a million times better. This year, like last year, there had been no sunscreen at the aid stations, which I think is a pretty egregious oversight in aid station planning. Thankfully, I learned my lesson last year and brought my own, so I only got a minor sunburn on my back in the areas I 1. couldn't reach and 2. didn't feel right asking anyone else to put rub on, thanks to how disgustingly sweaty I was. Better than my lobster look from last year, though!

Beer in hand and the trip home by car- best part of the day!
 As I was riding this event for Moxie Cycling, I should have taken more pictures, but was so distracted with all of the day's fails that I didn't. Literally right after I peeled my jersey off in the shower I remembered I needed a good photo. But, there was no way on earth or in heaven I'd be able to get it back on without walking outdoors topless to get Bryce to help, so I settled with taking a photo of my jersey with my other prized possession, my beers.
Of all the things that went wrong, this jersey was a RIGHT choice! My tan line is already back, though!
 After catching our breath and stretching out, we loaded up and headed back to Austin, stopping at Buc-ee's first for some 'nanner puddin' and clean bathrooms, first!

Although the ride didn't go as planned and we didn't finish, it was still a good day. I'm proud of myself in that I no longer stick to something just on the principal fact that I started it. It's OK to change course and do what's best for yourself. If you're on a bike and truly not having fun, that's not doing you any good. Bike rides are the best, and when they're not, they need to be over.

When we do the ride next year, I think we'll sign up just for the 50 mile route and enjoy a shorter, more relaxed day. I've done the 100 miles completely twice, plus this year. I know I can do it, I've done it, and I'd like to make the whole ride alongside my husband for once next time. (The first year he didn't have a bike, and the next it was my 100 mile IMTX training ride, so I had to go faster than him. This year he didn't want to do 100, and turns out, he was the smarter of the two of us for that choice!)

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