Sooo…first century ride of the year happened this past Sunday. Earliest in the season that I’ve ever done, and my fourth so far! Usually I’ve got a few more miles in the legs before I hop in the saddle for a full 100, but the CRW (Charles River Wheelmen) centuries are too good of a deal to pass up. Fully stocked aid stations (they even had those new fig bars that have been popping up everywhere – YUM), freshly painted arrows on the roads for the routes so we didn’t have to consult the maps at all, and all this for just $25 (usually century rides are over $100). Booyah!
The Kiwi and a Dutch cyclist friend of ours were absolute legends and let me tag along with them for the whole ride. They pulled me the whole way, and this was with a formidable headwind for most of the time! For those non-cyclists reading this, getting pulled behind another cyclist means that you’re putting in up to 30% less effort than they are (especially with a headwind). It’s the only way that I can even attempt to hang on to these guys, so I’ve gotten pretty good at drafting (riding just a few inches behind the wheel in front of me).
I figured it might be fun to do a little recap of what went on in my head during the 5 hours and 20 minutes in the saddle. Just an FYI – I know it’s been a good ride where I’ve dug deep and gone to my absolute limit when I’ve had a good cry session (while on the bike), and when everything that comes out of my mouth towards the end involves some kind of profanity. I’m not usually prone to profanity, but it feels so good to let it all out when you’re at your absolute end mentally and physically. Wish I’d gotten some pics to go with it, but it’s a bit hard to pull out your phone and start snapping when you’re giving it your all to hang on. Plus, when you’re trying to hang with the guys you can’t exactly be “that girl” that’s trying to get some Instagram/blog pics while riding. Maybe when I can hang a bit more easily 🙂 For now use your imagination!
This is a breeze. What was I worried about? Legs are feeling fresh (even after 40 miles yesterday), and I could do this all dayyyyy looooong. What a pretty day! Only 90 miles to go!
Sweet, just 5 miles to the first aid station. How are these ladies still hanging on behind us? I thought we were going at a pretty decent clip. They’ll probably drop off soon. They look older, too!
Ok, so the guys didn’t want to stop at the first aid station. Fair enough – it’s just going to get windier as the day goes on, and we don’t really need a break so soon. But I was looking forward to a little stretch and a snack. Ok, I’ll just have a GU on the bike now. Just 25 miles to the next aid station…
WTF? These women are still right behind me? Tenacious little buggers. I feel like I’m pushing it to keep up with the guys and these women are still hanging on. Am I not as fast as I thought I was? Legs are starting to feel a bit tired. And we’re only 30 miles in? Man, it’s going to be a looonnnng day.
Shit, that wind is ferocious. Legs, come on! Need to catch up to the guys again – how do they go so fast up hills??? Arghhh. Oh, there comes the Kiwi to pull me back up. Sorry, Kiwi. Thanks for the pull! 9 miles to the next aid station. I’m hungry. Wonder what food they’ll have?
Mmm…figgy bars in my belly. And chips. And peanut butter on a bagel. Wish they’d had something besides red Gatorade. Damn, that’s sweet. Should’ve cut it with some water. Oh, well. Halfway done! I feel goooood!
Shut up legs. You have so much more in you. Why do you feel like floppy globs of jelly right now? Ok, think of some good songs. “Hey sugar, sugar. You are my candy girl, and I’ll be watching you…”. Where the hell did that come from? Ha, probably because this Gatorade is so disgustingly sweet. Yuck. Well, gotta keep chugging it – hopefully it’ll go straight to the legs and give them a sugar rush.
Wow – those guys just flew right by us and we’re going well over 20mph! Crap, gotta keep up now. Ok, you got this. Dig deep. Looks like we’re going to try to hang with them, and if you get dropped you’re in trouble with this wind. F***, they’re cranking it. That wheel in front of me is getting further away. Nooooo – get back on it. Ok, you got it. Nope, there it goes again. Wait for meeeeeeee.
2 miles to the next aid station. Why is it so far away? I need a break NOW. How does the Kiwi make this look so easy? Does he ever actually hurt during a ride? WTF am I thinking that I can even try to keep up with these guys? Nooooo – don’t pass those guys, Kiwi – that means we have to go faster and I’m so f***ing tired right now. Ok, there he goes. Better keep up otherwise you’re screwed. Shit that hurts.
Ok, you got this. 20 miles is nothing. Why does every little hill feel like a mountain right now? Are the guys even tired? They look way too peppy for having ridden 80 miles. Maybe I just need to think happy thoughts. Inspiring thoughts? Eye of the tiger thoughts? Nope, nothing’s working. This sucks. Why do I do this to myself?
Pull yourself together. You’re embarrassing yourself. Why do you turn into such a sniveling, snotty mess when you reach your limit? Stop crying, idiot. Certainly not helping your biking right now – hyperventilating isn’t going to get you through those last 10 miles.
F*** this f***ing hill. Ok, downhill – take advantage of any flat or downhill you can. Holy F***nuts, there’s another hill. I thought the guy at the last aid station said it was downhill the rest of the way? Ha, probably is, my legs are just f***ed right now and everything looks like a mountain.
WTF? I thought this was supposed to be a century ride. I can stop now, right? Maybe the guys can just drive back and pick me up on the side of the road. I signed up for 100 and I did it. I’m DONE. Where the f*** is the f***ing finish line?
YEEEESSSSSS. I did it! I’m an official badass. Very wobbly, snotty, and sweaty, but fastest century ride EVER.
Huge thanks to the Kiwi and the Dutch for pulling me the entire blustery 102 miles. Couldn’t have done it without you. I promise I’ll get out in front soon and help with the pulling!
So that’s done! It’s currently looking like we’ll be doing a century a month for this summer, so I’ll get loads more practice. I can fantasize that they’ll get easier, but I’m not so sure about that. 100 miles is a long way!
Lots of shorter (20-30 mile) morning rides are in the plans for this summer. The short and sharp ones that leave me panting on the cool wooden floor afterwards are what get my legs ready for the longer rides, and I have the perfect breakfast for afterwards. Full of muscle-restoring protein, good fats, belly-friendly fermented food, and fiber, it’s the perfect complement to a good training regime.
Dandelion greens are the bomb, though you’ll probably want to avoid eating those on your lawn unless you live in the middle of nowhere and know that the neighborhood dogs haven’t had their morning pee on them, and no nasty pesticides have been sprayed on them, either. Living in the city, I prefer to trot over to Whole Paycheck and buy them there. They’re less expensive than the oh-so-popular kale, though, so there’s a bonus! Dandelion greens haven’t reached “it” status so snag them while they’re still cheap 🙂 They’re a nutritional powerhouse, with four times as much calcium as broccoli, double the iron of spinach, and massive amounts of Vitamins K and E. In French, they’re actually called pissenlit, which translates to “wet the bed”. Odd, right? Not so odd when you realize that dandelions act as a diuretic, which helps prevent microbial growth in the urinary system, and helps the kidneys get rid of excess waste and salt.
Add those powerful greens to some eggs, feta, and dish it up with some homemade sauerkraut (post to come on that!) and perfectly sweet mango, and you’ve got the Breakfast of Champions. Sooooo much better for you than a bowl of cereal -I promise! And fast, too, you’ll have this whipped up in less than 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Scrambled Eggs with Dandelion Greens and Feta
2 large handfuls dandelion greens, washed and dried (it seems like a lot but cooks down to barely anything!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 heaping Tbsp. crème fraîche (optional)
salt and pepper
dash Aleppo pepper (or cayenne)
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
Even though the past few days have been a bit gloomy here in the Northeast…