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May Lessons Learned

May was an enormously busy month for J.R. and I. It has been a good month; however I cannot say I am sad to see it go. Hopefully our lives will begin to slow down a bit

The Weekend of Cinco de Mayo, J.R. and I did a ride for PCRF (Pediatric Children's Research Foundation). This is an organization near and dear to J.R. as he was involved with it when he was in the hospital being treated for leukemia. This was my first cycling event which is rather fitting as it was J.R.'s first cycling event last year.

This was a good 35 miles ride with 3 category 5 climbs. This was actually the same ride we did in March, simply backwards. I found it to be much easier this time around. I then realized that I hadn't had my clips the last time. It is absolutely amazing the difference these make.

The next weekend was J.R.'s birthday weekend. Usually, we get all our friends and family together and go to a minor league baseball game. This year J.R. decided he wanted to do something a little different. We invited our friends and family to join us on a bike ride down to the beach and a day at the beach. Not surprisingly, we didn't have many takers on the bike ride. Most of our friends and family decided to meet us down at the beach. We had a nice, if not a bit chilly, day celebrating J.R.'s birthday.

The third weekend of May brought an event I was the most nervous about. J.R. won two entries to the San Diego Century complete with two jerseys, two tickets to Legoland and a two night stay at a hotel in San Diego.

I was fearful of this ride because of the amount of hills involved, one named Three Witches Climb. There were three options for us to choose: 103 miles, 66 miles and 33 miles. I knew I wasn't ready for the 103 with a climb called the Purple Monster, so I settled on the 66 mile ride.

J.R. wasn't feeling well that morning and as I waited for him at the first SAG stop I received a text from him that he was going to do the 33 route instead. I agreed he shouldn't push himself too much and we set off again. 

Shortly after leaving, I was climbing a decent hill. In the middle of this hill I was caught at a red light. This is never a fun prospect but more so when going uphill or downhill. Unfortunately, as usual, I forgot to downshift to an easier gear. Big mistake. As the light turned green I moved to push off with my left pedal and the bike didn't move an inch. I ended up on my right side with a bike on top of me. Not cool, but very funny. I managed to get my foot out of the clip and moved to the sidewalk. I was a little shaken up and uncertain how I was going to get started again. I waited for J.R. to catch up with me. After assuring him I was ok, he recommended I start down the side street in order to get going before I headed back up the hill. The man is a genius. I'm not sure why I didn't think of that, but it worked. I was off again and that was the last I'd see J.R. till I crossed the finish line.

I made it to the second and third SAG stops without incident. I also made it through the Three Witches Climb. I teared up a little as I rode past the sign declaring the end of that climb. It was tough.

A bit before the 3rd and final SAG stop I began to become a bit tired. I consoled myself in the fact that after that final stop there was only one more big climb despite there being over 20 miles left to ride.

If I knew what I know now I am not sure I would have ever left that final SAG stop. Those last 26 miles were tough. There may have only been one big climb, but there were a lot of little ones. When you are already tired this is not a pleasant prospect. It seemed they threw in a hill anywhere they could, especially at the end. 50 miles into the ride I was ready to be done. I had had enough. I consoled myself in the fact that I had less than 20 miles and began a countdown in my head. This became a mental battle for me. I just kept moving on hoping it would be over soon.

Then I turned a corner and saw this. 

Suddenly, all those miles were worth all the effort and I got a boost. I knew I could finish out the remaining 3-4 miles. Only it wasn't another 3-4 miles. They lied. The distance was not 66 miles. It was 68. That is not ok. Two miles usually isn't that big of a deal. However, when you are exhausted and mentally battling with yourself to finish, continually telling yourself X more miles only to find that number come and go? That is completely demoralizing.

I pushed through those extra 2 miles and made it to the finish, exhausted and teary eyed. This ride was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. I was expressing my feelings to a friend and was asked if I learned my lesson, meaning don't be stupid by doing these crazy things any more. I merely replied, I did learn my lesson, I learned I could do it. Onto the next adventure! A mud run! Just gotta keep moving!


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