Since purchasing a very sweet Cervelo and taking up cycling, Keith has been a machine. Ride after ride he shows great improvement and really seems to be enjoying his time out on the road. We've had lots of laughs before, during & after rides and getting to share a hobby has been really fun. We share a few other hobbies of course (drinking good Italian wine, riding the Harley, cooking, watching Modern Family) but this is one that started as a passion of mine that he's taken to and not the other way around. It's pretty cool! One thing that has always been a little tough for me is that because Keith was married for 20+ years before getting divorced and finding ME, he's already experienced a lot of neat things with someone else first. Don't get me wrong, I've experienced my share of things too as I was married before but not for near as long. Sometimes we'll do something really special and then I realize it's a "been there, done that" type of thing for him. No, he doesn't look at it like that and he assures me that just b/c he's done something before doesn't diminish the importance with me but it's still tough. Anyway, I digress ever so slightly. All this is to say that this is something that we're getting to experience together as a first and I love it. It's so fitting that our firsts are more related to the sportier side of life as that's always been something that's been important to me. I don't know if this makes sense to those of you in cyber world. I think it's one of those things that you just don't understand unless you're in a similar situation. The important point here is that I finally got my FIRST after 6+ yrs of dating!!!! :)
Keith messaged me mid-week last week requesting a 50 mile ride for the weekend. I had put 45-50 on the schedule and was leaning towards 45 so I could have a brick workout but figured why not? I mean, I am without a coach for just a few more weeks so now is the time to live on the edge! I plotted a route leaving from the Wal-Mart on Walden Rd. and 105. Ugh. This was the site of a dismal ride for me last year. I ended up getting separated from the group, got lost and my 50 mile ride turned into closer to 80. It was terrible and I was morally defeated. At the time, I felt like I had been completely abandoned and was pissed off at myself. Well, this 50 miler would be different.
The route would take us back to familiar territory....parts of the IMTX course and most of the Oil Man course. I was excited about this ride for so many reasons. (1) Keith would be riding 50 miles for the first time and I couldn't wait to see the look on his face when we finished. (2) I hadn't been on the IMTX course since IMTX and I was hopeful getting out there would remind me of that awesome day. (3) Keith is officialy signed up for Oil Man as part of a relay and this would be his first glimpse of what he's gotten himself in to.
The ride started out uneventful enough and if by uneventful you mean with a hill on 105, then yes. :) Before we knew it, we were on 149 and turning on Osborn Rd. At this point, I knew something was "off" with me. Keith ended up having to pull after the first few rollers and I wasn't feeling 100%. Once on Osborn Rd., it was clear to me that I might have a bigger issue. After a few minutes of wondering what was going on, I remembered I spent my Saturday in the sun at the beach and had 2 bottles of water and one pina colada all day. FAIL! What a dummy. No worries though. I packed plenty of fluids so I would just drink more and refill in Richards. I emptied all the fluids in my Aqua Cell before hitting 25 miles at the rest stop. Nick of time! We replenished our fluids and got back on the road. From 1486, we turned on 2819 where we were greeted by the most pleasant headwind. Thanks for nothing Mother Nature. I decided we would turn around a little before the Oil Man turn around b/c we didn't need the extra mileage. Once back on 1486, Keith cracked me up when he said, "Oh, I remember this hill". Well clearly he didn't remember well b/c then he would have said "hills". Holy hill Batman. I don't know if I was sleeping during this part of the IMTX ride but I don't remember 1486 having so many rollers. Maybe the time off since Ironman has made me soft. Either way, it was comical. We took turns pulling (Keith doing more than I thought he would) and decided to make a quick stop in Dacus. By this point, the temps were soaring and all my fluids were warm. Yes, I had just refilled in Richards and got extra ice but it made little difference. Keith bought more water and Advil in Dacus. In no time at all, we were on Johnson Rd. heading towards the car. We were at 40ish miles and I kept telling myself that last 10 miles would be a piece of cake. I tell you, I don't remember 1097 being that long. Granted, I haven't been on that road in awhile as it wasn't part of the Ironman course so I didn't visit it much. We finally hit 149 again! A quick glance at the Garmin confirmed we would indeed be going long (which I knew). My energy started to return to "normal" and I knew I had done a good job with my hydration and nutrition even though I started out kind of iffy. There was one big hill left before Walden Rd. and I pulled us over it and then Keith shot by me. Sure, let the chick do all the work! :) We pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot and couldn't be more happy to be done.
The ride was a complete success. We did not get lost, we stuck to our plan, we rode smart and we averaged 17.1mph....something I did not expect us to do in those conditions. We celebrated with a fountain Dr. Pepper from the gas station across from Wal-Mart and headed home. Go Keith!!!!!
It was so fun seeing the huge smile on Keith's face and hearing him say, "I can't believe I just rode 55 miles"! I so remember this feeling and I couldn't have been more thrilled to be there with him when he hit that milestone! We chatted about our upcoming races and training rides. As I've mentioned before, Keith will be participating in Try Andy's Tri & Oil Man Half Ironman as part of a relay team. His other goal is to ride 100 miles and we are well on our way there!
I've had lots of fun rides since I took up this crazy sport but I have to say that Sunday was the most fun I've had in awhile. I worried we might get lonely just the two of us out there but not at all. We are actually turning out to be great training partners. Keith is a strong cyclist and I think in no time is going to be spending his weekends pulling me over hills and I can't wait b/c it's really going to push me out of my comfort zone.
This weekend we'll ride for 3 hrs and dial back the effort a bit. A recovery ride if you will. I will be testing out my new wheels as my bike is now sporting race wheels!!!!! I am SOOOOO excited!!