Harvest Homecoming Tour (Bike Ride!)

Before I headed to MN to run the 50-miler in September, I thought a lot about what my recovery would look like. My next race was Bourbon Chase, which was not going to really require much more training, and I wasn't super excited about it this year, to be honest. But I was planning a trip to Costa Rica with my mom, where we would be doing quite a bit of biking, and I need to get some bike training in! So I signed up for the Harvest Homecoming Tour 40-mile ride in Lanesville, IN with my mom. I hadn't ridden that far since I was in college and worked at the Oberlin Bike Co-op as head mechanic and bookkeeper.
It was a cool morning, and since I haven't been doing much biking, I wasn't sure how to dress. Glad I wore a jacket! The morning started with a pancake breakfast inside a heated lodge, and then we got our bikes ready - put air in the tires, put our clip-in shoes on, and my mom prepared her bags that she carries. (I am going to need to get some bags!). This was my second ride with clip pedals/shoes and I was very nervous about how it would go. I was worried about forgetting to clip out, or having trouble clipping out, or not timing the clip-out well. I was also worried about the hills. I read that the route was hilly. But I also heard from a seasoned biker that it really was a flat route. I wasn't sure what to expect, but my mom said there were two really big hills and the rest of it would be fine. Last thing I wanted was to walk up a hill instead of bike up it. I supposed that's the biker version of walking during a run -- it happens, it's fine, everybody sometimes has to do it, etc. I was assured that it would be no big deal. 

What a beautiful day it was! The first aid station (is that what it's called on a bike?) was about 12ish miles in and had lots of great food! We stopped for a few minutes and had a snack and I used the bathroom, and then we headed on our way. The outside temperature warmed up about 15-20 miles in and it was just lovely. We stopped to take our jackets off. We were pacing between 12-18 mph average and there were some pretty serious hills (from my limited perspective). I was using some quad muscles that hadn't been activated in quite some time. I felt good. At around 22 miles, we started to wonder when the next aid station would be. A break would be nice, and my mom definitely needed water since she was almost out. We finally reached that aid station at 28 miles, very ready for it. We had a few more snacks and I got some comments on my antique bike (LOL). I was finally comfortable shifting gears and felt a lot better about clipping in and out efficiently. I know I'll probably have a clip pedal related crash at some point, but it wasn't this day. 

We headed back toward the start line, about 12 miles to go. I was struggling now. At about 31 miles, I felt like I was working really hard to keep going, and then couldn't zip up the hills like I had been doing for the first 3/4ths of the ride. What was wrong with me that I was crashing and burning like this! I really felt like I must have been bonking. Then I looked down and realized that I had a flat tire. HAHAHA. That was a first!! I actually had brought a tube, and my mom had the tools and a CO2 cartridge (which neither of us had ever used before.)

I got to work on changing out the tube, which I had done many times before, but not more than a handful of times since I was in college. My skills will need improving in this area for sure, so I can get faster at it. Every biker who passed by asked if we needed help. We were going to need help when it came to putting air in the tire, but we declined all offers until we were ready for that step. Then a nice couple stopped and helped us. It's a good thing, because we didn't have an adapter piece that we needed, in order to use the CO2 cartridge properly. We got the tire full of air and then I put it back on and we started back on our way. At about 34 miles I was starting to feel tired and wanted to be done for the day. The hills were starting to wear on me, and I was hungry. I wouldn't complain out loud though. I was having a great time doing my mom's thing with her, and I really could have actually trained for it but didn't. We got to the end, hung our bikes up, and went to have lunch. Hot dogs and chips and pop. Fun! 

I'm writing this almost a month later and haven't gotten back on my bike, but I'm looking forward to getting on soon! I'll be doing more rides in November and December for sure - but probably inside on a trainer (I don't have one yet) or a spin bike at the gym. 



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