This was my test weekend - what kind of endurance do my legs have? What kind of willpower do my eyes and stomach have?
Saturday we rolled out at the normal time with the 17mph group on a 40ish mile bike ride. We maintained speed (ok, there was a little break away action after our only climb) and finished a beautiful, just warm enough, sunny spring ride. It started out cold and I was worried - but we warmed up in no time. I felt great - full of energy. I was ready to indulge in party food, and looked forward to the next day's ride.
How did we spend that evening? Happy Birthday sweetie! We celebrated with many wonderful friends, good beer (hooray! home brew) and lots of food that I was honestly embarrassed to buy at the grocery store. I don't remember the last time Frito's Corn Chips made it in my basket - I was waiting for a scolding by the cashier. I even broke down and bought ice cream even tho it had high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients. Gasp! If I was serving fewer than 20 people I'd have gone with Ben & Jerry's, but as it was the Burgundy Cherry with Chocolate Chips seemed the perfect filling for the Shortbread Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches. Props to Serious Eats for a fantastically easy shortbread! It was yellow-bag to the rescue for basic chocolate chip cookies (heavy on the vanilla) and Breyers Vanilla for the stuffing. They turned out great - and we were nearly sick for the enjoyment.
The next day was the Monster Cookie Metric Century. Don't worry - I didn't plan on eating any monster cookies after all that party food. I mean, why bother when I can cling wrap two of my own cookies and carry them! Certainly beats bulk buy cookies. I met up with friends from the club, and we eventually rolled out. We had a tail wind for the first half, which made it very smooth. Nearly effortless, according to my heart rate monitor - so I knew we were in for a fun return trip. Just as I was ready to tell the group that a rest stop would be appropriate, I was informed that we were nearly at the half way point! Wow that went by quickly - and thank goodness for real porcelain flush toilets! Far better than the blue box option.
After lunch we hooked up with more friends, and started back. It was chilly heading up hill into the wind with cold legs and a full stomach. Fortunately there was enough sun that we warmed up quickly and were on our way. Even in to the wind, everyone was a little quicker and more motivated to get back. Soon enough a tandem train blew past, and our only tandem mentioned how much they'd like to jump on. So, I waved us in, and fought like mad to hang on. Our group was shattered - I quickly lost sight of the majority, with only one visible in my mirror. I hung with the tandems for a respectable distance, but they were really pushing the pace and we were too far back to get significant benefit. Soon enough the road got ugly, and the single riders trying to hang on around me were getting sketchy so I let go. My legs were warm and I didn't want to just sit up, so I latched on to a group of 3 friendly and very strong women and we got a pace line going for about half the return distance. Proving you have the legs to take your turn and pull strangers (so you aren't just sucking wheel) is significant motivation. Watching one boy sheepishly hang on the tail was worth a chuckle. We kept it going 18.5-19 barely marking the small changes in elevation. Suddenly we were at the last rest stop, and I pulled in to wait for our original group.
Tandem and I were there a few minutes before the rest started to roll in ~ everyone ate cookies (mm - thank you back pocket, my final cookie was still whole!) We departed and tried to keep the group together, but that quickly fell apart. By now, varying degrees of Tired were setting in, along with some frisky we're almost done legs. Guilty. I went off the front for a while, pushing 20mph solo, duo, solo, and then my legs gave up. The tandem passed, but the rest of the group was behind. Eventually I regrouped with a friend, and we shared the work getting back in to Salem. In the final twists & turns we caught our tandem & found the finish together.
My legs were spent - but I was pleased that we weren't but 20 mins behind my sweetie who went out with the race team. My two day ride was a success - over 100 cumulative miles and it felt great. I wasn't expecting to do this well, and I'm pleased to have this benchmark for my training. Two months until the LiveStrong century - and I know I'll be ready.