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Ride report - seeing success in the face of failure - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Ride report - seeing success in the face of failure [Aug. 6th, 2012|09:19 am]
Zoethe
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As many of you know, this weekend I participated in Pedal to the Point, the Multiple Sclerosis 150-mile bike ride.

Except it turns out that the race organizers mapped out a 165-mile ride for us to enjoy. Which didn't make any of us very happy. But, hey, you're out there with almost 3,000 people, you do what you have to.

Also, it was supposed to be 92 degrees and sunny. Not my favorite riding weather. In preparation for the ride daughter Erin and I started drinking Powerade and hydrating like crazy.

Then on Friday afternoon, Ferrett and I had to get into our bee hives to add a new set of frames. The bees are usually very docile and I don't even have to wear gloves. But the bees were agitated because a skunk had been after the hive, so they came after me and stung me twice on the right hand, one on the index finger and one on the base of the thumb.

Plus, there is still the badly bruised tailbone giving me trouble. This was an inauspicious beginning, to say the least.

But I was game anyway. So Erin and I were at the start by 5:30am. Start time was supposed to be 7, and we were anxious to get some miles behind us before it got warm. Unfortunately, the "guest of honor" was late and had to make a long speech. The whole crowd was highly irritated at the delay, all of us knowing that the cool weather was crawling away from us.

Finally at 7:25 the event started. We pulled out as quickly as possible and headed down the long hill that we groaned at the notion of coming back up on the second day (this year the race start had been moved to a location that was much hillier for who knows what reason). The first part of the ride wasn't bad, and we reached the lunch break, 35 miles in, at 10:00. We ate quickly, but by the time we were done with lunch the cloud cover was burning off and it got really, really hot. With the heat, and the wind blowing into our faces, it got really uncomfortable really soon. By the time we got to the second to last break, SAG (Support and Gear) trucks were loaded down with bikes from people who were dropping out and two ambulances had passed by.

We were about 20 miles away from the finish line, and decided that this would be a good time for a long break in the shade. And man, were we going through the Gatorade!

We got back on the road and just about melted. But finally we turned north and had the wind behind us. We got in at just before 4pm with 80 miles done. With breaks, the riding time was just under 6 hours. We staggered off to the hotel, got showers, and went down to the pool to meet up with the rest of the team.

That's when we found out that it had been 103 degrees that afternoon. One. Hundred. Three.

I'm really glad we didn't know during the day, because it would have psyched us out.

This morning we got a decent start, but then rain came in. We got drenched, and at the second stop, which was at a little market store. We waited it out for about an hour and ate snacks. By the time the rain was slowing, though, the volunteers were pulling down the rest stop and we realized that we were really far behind. We got on the bikes and headed out and good clip. We caught up with and passed a lot of riders, and made the next 20 miles in about 90 minutes, pulling into the lunch location at 11:40.

But the ride was starting to tear up my back. I was in a lot of pain and couldn't get comfortable in the saddle. My tailbone was pretty much on fire. And then when I peeled my riding gloves off my hand was completely swollen, and my arm was swollen about halfway up the the elbow.

44 miles in, and I realized that I simply could not go on, not without risking really injuring myself. Erin, who is very much a cheerleader type, took a look at my hand and insisted that I stop. So I called Ferrett, who was at the finish line, and told him that I needed to be picked up.

Then I put my head down and cried a little. Erin went on, because she still had it in her, and I waited, watching more SAG trucks picking up bikes, watching an entire schoolbus of riders loading up for the ride back to the starting line. I watched the volunteers pull down the lunch stop. When Ferrett arrived, I cried a few more tears, then we headed back.

I almost refused to take the medal. But the race veterans pointed out to me that people who only ride one day get a medal. In fact, people who only ride the 35 miles to the lunch stop get a medal. They also pointed out that only a third of the people who ride the first day also ride a second day. They reassured me that I had nothing to be ashamed of.

So. I biked 125 miles over two days. I biked through staggering heat and humidity. I biked wet and cold.

And I was smart enough to stop before I hurt myself. The one thing Ferrett and I discussed before this was how important it was that I not let my obsessive nature overtake my common sense and end up injuring myself and losing the progress I've made. Calling it quits was actually harder than pushing through would have been.

I am not entirely happy with what happened. But I am satisfied.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: gythiawulfie
2012-08-06 01:37 pm (UTC)

*applause*

I know you really wanted to finish, but what you did is amazing. Next year you will be even more prepared and in even better shape. 103 Deg? Wow.... they should have had a few more stops planned. I would suggest that to the organizers that there be a few more water points.

I hope that hand heals fast. Bee stings are nasty things.

125 mi? Honey that is NOTHING to sneeze at. That is fantastic.

Hopefully next year I'll have some funds to toss your way in terms of sponsorship. My car had better ideas this year.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 04:53 pm (UTC)

Re: *applause*

Thanks much. It's hard to fall short of a goal and still keep perspective.
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[User Picture]From: daphne24
2012-08-06 02:05 pm (UTC)
I hope you are more than satisfied with yourself. I think you should be proud - as someone on Facebook pointed out yesterday, you did something that a lot of us will never even attempt. You gave it your best and quit when your body told you it was time - it would have done no good to continue and, in fact, would have been harmful. You did the right thing :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks, dear. My legs are definitely reminding me that I did the right thing!
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[User Picture]From: cinema_babe
2012-08-06 02:13 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised they didn't hold the bike ride in the fall when the weather is still nice but not as hot.

I think what you did was amazing but I also get how had it must have been for you to listen to your body and stop.

Sometimes being older and wiser gets in the way of "I CAN DO THIS, RAWR".
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 04:58 pm (UTC)
In years past it has been held later in the season. No one seems to be able to answer the simple question of why the change to the beginning of August.

Fighting back the "RAWR" is still tough. But I am glad I did it.
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[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2012-08-06 02:23 pm (UTC)
Performing well and mastering your sport takes a number of factors. Training is important, and knowing how your body reacts, how the environment affects your body, how to adapt--that's also important and part of why we train. :)

You did EXACTLY what you should have done--stopped before you were one of the ones on a ambulance. There is no shame at all in it and much to cheer. GO YOU FOR BEING FUCKING AWESOME.

I am very, very proud of you.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 05:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks, dear. It's good to hear it, even if I do know it intellectually.
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[User Picture]From: tithenai
2012-08-06 02:35 pm (UTC)
I'm in awe of your achievement, and very glad that you stopped before injury. You are magnificent.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 05:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
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[User Picture]From: everypoembreaks
2012-08-06 03:10 pm (UTC)
Good for you--for going so far, for knowing when to stop, and for your support of a really important cause!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 05:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.
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[User Picture]From: myskat
2012-08-06 03:34 pm (UTC)
You are amazing!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 05:04 pm (UTC)
gosh, thanks!
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[User Picture]From: angela_n_hunt
2012-08-06 03:38 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth? I'm fucking proud of you. Most people will never move off their couch. You finished one whole day of racing. Did you get the second day in the bag? No.

So what?

Next time, you will. This time, you listened to your body and you're not in the hospital, knocked out of training, because you powered through.

There are some things that just getting out the door is the victory.

You have won, babe. Just a different victory.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. It's important to keep that perspective.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 05:07 pm (UTC)

Re: *APPLAUDS*

Hand is less swollen, but still itchy.

Tailbone is still sore, but not appreciably worse.

And thanks!
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2012-08-06 07:23 pm (UTC)
you did VERY well. you didnt say "well i was injured before i left the house", you showed up. you didnt say "well, we didnt get started on time!", you waited with everyone else (huffing sighs at the inconsiderate guest of honor).

you made the first day, despite injuries. you got up on the second day and set out determinined to finish, but since your body was not at full functioning capacity, you were not able to finish.

there's absolutely nothing to fuss about! you biked 125 miles over 2 days! most people will NEVER do that. and you did it injured. you RAWK, lady!!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-06 07:56 pm (UTC)
The way you put it, I sound AWESOME! LOL!

Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2012-08-06 07:59 pm (UTC)
you ARE awsome. smothered with awesomesauce. :D
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2012-08-06 10:53 pm (UTC)
You ARE awesome! For all these reasons, which fallconsmate elucidates far better than I. Well done!!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-07 01:14 am (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: pachamama
2012-08-06 08:41 pm (UTC)
125 miles? Fucking fantastic!!! You should be really proud. And next time, without the injuries and the heat, it will be a positive breeze!

Well done, you.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-07 01:12 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
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[User Picture]From: callistra
2012-08-07 12:18 am (UTC)
OMFG what a story! 15 fucking miles OVER jesus. Well done for stopping, that would have been really really hard, but it was definitely the right thing to do.


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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-07 01:16 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
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[User Picture]From: fitfool
2012-08-07 01:06 am (UTC)
Wow! I haven't been reading so I didn't realize you were doing this trip. 125 miles in 2 days? Even going through with starting the ride when you thought it was 92F and it was actually 103 is admirable! I'd say that's some no-kidding-around-serious grit right there. And kudos for having the wisdom to know when to say enough's enough. I'm so proud of you! Congratulations!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-07 01:08 am (UTC)
Gosh, thank you so much!
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[User Picture]From: labelleizzy
2012-08-07 06:01 am (UTC)
I am really incredibly impressed. I did one bicycling fundraiser 10+ years and 50+ pounds ago, and only managed one day of 25 miles. Didn't train NEARLY as thoroughly as you have, your training process alone has been inspirational to read.

so you kicked the ass of my thirty-year-old 150 pound self. Heh heh. Well done, you! (and I third and fourth everyone else here who are saying good on you for knowing when it was smart to stop.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-07 01:06 pm (UTC)
Okay, I will try to stop beating myself up over this. Thanks!
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From: anonymousalex
2012-08-07 03:52 pm (UTC)
Late to the party (a truck ran into a low wire and killed our internet, waah) but wanted to reinforce what others have said. Congratulations both for what you did (incredible ride under overly adverse circumstances) and what you didn't do (pigheadedly put yourself out of commission).

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-07 05:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I might actually be a responsible adult able to make rational decisions; who'da thunk it?!
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From: anonymousalex
2012-08-07 07:19 pm (UTC)
Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: dandelion_diva
2012-08-07 08:40 pm (UTC)
You did *Good*. And I'm glad you stopped when you needed to.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-07 10:05 pm (UTC)
I am, too. I know I made the right decision. Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: greatskeeve
2012-08-08 04:51 am (UTC)
You biked 125 miles in over 100 degree heat with multiple unrelated injuries?

I've never met you, and probably never will, but right now I am in complete and total awe of you. Just thought you should know.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-11 02:15 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you. I feel humbled.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-11 02:14 am (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: pjhandley
2012-08-12 03:47 am (UTC)
Gini, as someone who can't bike (due to *balance* issues), may I just say how very impressed I am that you covered as many miles as you did?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-08-12 05:57 am (UTC)
Thank you! Another 30 miles tonight.
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[User Picture]From: samcallahan
2012-09-18 04:04 am (UTC)
Somehow, I missed this post, but was wondering how you did, and checked back for it. Congratulations for your accomplishment, and for being smart enough to listen to your body. I'm closing in on 2000 miles for the year myself, and planning an unsupported metric century for myself in one of the next two weekends.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-09-18 02:29 pm (UTC)
Good for you! I hope it goes great.
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