The day started out bright and early, the group I rode with met down at the Statehouse at 6am. The forecast was for sun/clouds and 57 degree weather. Not so bad, except that there was also a "wind advisory" warning out for the day; 17-20 mph winds with gusts up to 39 mph. Ugh! My worst nightmare on the bike, especially when it is a crosswind or headwind (we had both). We convinced each other that it wouldn't be that bad and decided to at least ride to the first stop and see how things went.
This is the group Pat, Mary, Tim, Maggie, Jennifer, Vince, Jeanne and I. All of us were TOSRV virgins except for Tim. Stop #1 was in Circleville. It was nice to get off the bike, stretch, and get some goodies before heading out again. I think most of us were thinking, first 29 miles, not so bad, we can do this!
We barely started out of Circleville and all of the sudden we got caught in a horrific headwind. I felt like I was giving it all that I could and was only going about 7mph. At this point, I dug deep, kind of zoned out and just tried to pedal and stay on my bike. The wind changed a little and we had kind of a cross/headwind for most of the next leg. It was kind of funny to see everyone riding sideways and hanging onto their bikes. I saw more than my fair share of people almost wiping out as a gust of wind blew at us! I normally don't swear much, but this ride definately tested me and I heard things come out of my mouth that shocked me! About 1/2 way into this leg I realized I was by myself. I had passed everyone in my group and had no one in site. I thought briefly about turning around and trying to find them, but quickly came to the conclusion that I didn't want to do anymore riding than I had to on this tour! Shortly before the 2nd stop Tim caught up with me and said everyone else was way behind. We opted to just pedal ahead and wait at the next stop for everyone. Stop #2 was Chillicothe, it was definately a relief to get off the bike and get more food! Our group slowly started to trickle in and we sprawled out on the lawn and caught up.
Pat, Mary, Maggie, and Vince all decided they were done. Pat had already called her husband to come get her and they made arrangements to come back and get the others. Tim convinced me to keep going and Jeanne and Jennifer were determined to keep on biking until they hit Portsmouth. The other nice thing was that Jeanne's daughter's were following us in a van with any supplies we might need. It was comforting to know they were out there! So, after a bit of a break, we hopped back onto the bikes again.
The third leg was somewhat protected from the wind as we entered the hills and forrests of Ohio. So, the good thing was that we didn't feel the effects of the wind as much, but the bad news was that there were alot of hills in this section. Not to mention a detour (due to a closed bridge) that took us an additional 7 miles out of the way. The last 1/3 of this leg had us riding hills with a headwind. My legs were toast. I barely made it to the 3rd stop and all I could think was "I am calling my mom to come and get me." Tim convinced me to at least get some food, sit down, and take a little break before making a decision. I hobbled up 3 flights of steps (yes steps!), sat down, and started listening to all the other bikers. Everyone, was complaining about the wind, seasoned riders were in disbelief. I overheard a very fit looking cyclist saying that he had done this ride 10 years and it had never taken him this long to finish it. Another guy, who raced for a team out of Cinci was complaining about only going 7mph in the headwind. In a weird way, this really comforted me and convinced me that I needed to keep going to finish this. So despite the fact that I desperately wanted to quit, I got back on the bike!
Tim and I never did see Jeanne and Jennifer at stop #3 (Waverly), but they thought to take a picture here, so I am including it in the race report!
Leg #4 wasn't as bad. There were no more hills and the wind seemed to have changed to a cross/tailwind. Tim and I made some pretty good time and finally made it to Portsmouth!!
Tim's wife, Hannah, was there to great us and I was never so happy to see someone in my life!! We were done! We made it!! The beer I had at Cary Park tasted like the best thing ever! Finally, I was there as a rider and not a spectator! Tim and I had discussed on this ride if a marathon was tougher or this ride, in the wind. I think it was a tie, neither one of us could really pick one or the other!
Jeanne and Jennifer eventually made it to the end as well!
I felt bad that I didn't wait around for them, but I was freezing! Once my mom and aunt came to get me, all I could think about was a hot shower, warm food, glass of wine, and then bed . . .
Stats for the week:
Thursday: 2400 swim, 40 minute strength/stretch
Sat: 113 mile bike, no timing
Sun: 40 minute walk