|Terri and I just arriving!|
For barely training at all this year, I finished in about the same time I did last year. And I trained pretty hard last year considering the debacle that was my first year riding. I was thrilled to say the least. My quads disagreed immediately following the ride. However I must say that this is the least sore/recovery time I've needed in all my rides. I'm two days post ride and feeling quite fine. It's amazing how many times I wanted to just quit and I can see now what a mental struggle competing against the voice in your head is; your body is fine to keep going but you have to be able to silence that little voice inside your head encouraging you to quit.
|Terri, Jeff, and myself aka|
the crazy people who do this year after year
The hardest stretch for me was after I hit the 30 mile mark. I made it feeling great from Philly to Hammonton, and stopped at the second rest stop to refill my supplies and get some fuel in me. From there you get on Moss Mill Road and ride it for what seems like an eternity. For me it was hardest getting from there to the 4th and final rest stop before entering Atlantic City. As I said, I didn't keep up with my riding buddies but had my headphones in so I never minded riding alone. But then your quads start burning. And your 'seat' hurts. I'm not talking uncomfortable, I'm talking am-I-sure-I'm-not-permanently-damaging-something? hurt. And that voice in your head pipes up, 'You know you can stop and get in a support van and they'll take you the rest of the way'; 'You don't need to do this'; 'Why are you even doing this?'; 'This hurts, my seat hurts, your quads are cramping. Just stop now'; 'Why am I here?'
Luckily, I had many factors that helped me push through. For one, my fellow riders. It's almost like people would pass me and could see the thought bubble above me processing the idea to call it quits. People would pass me and ask 'how you doing'? or 'hang in there you're doing great'. Or I'd overhear other's conversations and they'd make me laugh. One in particular was a gentleman telling his friends how he was coaxing his hamstrings to just 'make it through this!' Just little words of encouragement like that gave me the pep I needed to push those thoughts out quitting out of my head.
At one point before the 4th rest stop I was about to throw in the towel, and then I saw the 1 mile to the rest stop sign (sidebar, kudos to Tour de Shore for having those mile markers this year). It was all I needed. How could I face everyone waiting at the end for me by coming out of a VAN? I'd be disappointed in myself, and although I know my friends and family would support me no matter what, I'd be embarrassed to say I had to stop.
When I got to the 4th rest stop and they kept encouraging us that it was only 13 miles until Atlantic City. I was pumped. How could I quit now I'd made it this far? I changed my playlist to get my motivation going, and rode those 13 miles into AC. You know what's fun when you're exhausted and drained? The wind blowing off the ocean AGAINST you. Oh yes, it was a glorious, against the wind 13 miles. But my main accomplishment this year is the bridge leading into AC.
You are spent. Your quads are cramping. You are mentally and physically fatigued. And your last major quest is having to pedal up a bridge to get into the city to your final destination. It's literally torture. I had hopped off my bike and walked up this final mountain the past 2 years because my legs wouldn't support me to pedal up it. This year, I RODE OVER IT. I had all intentions of hopping off my bike again and walking it. But no. This year there were other riders with me. This year I wasn't alone on the bridge. This year I made it up and over even though my quads screamed at me to stop. I was elated. I pedaled as fast as I could to get to the finish to see my family and friends waiting for me.
|Literally after stepping off my bike.|
Which is why I look like I might die
I'm planning to start training for my half marathon starting this weekend. I'm going to remember just how nasty that little voice can be, but if you just push through you can squash it and accomplish feats you never thought you could.
|There is nothing flattering about bike shorts people!|