100 Miles of Fortitude

13 Mar

When you ride 100 miles over rolling terrain there are bound to be ups and downs. At mile 12, in fog so cold you can’t feel your fingers, you wonder why you paid good money for this. At mile 65, with the sun bearing down, you wonder if there’s room in your jersey pockets for your jacket, arm warmers, knee warmers and headband. At mile 24, a peanut butter sandwich is an elixir from the gods. At mile 82, you swear you’ll never eat it again.

At mile 54, there are seven flats amongst 10 riders and you wonder if the group has enough spare tubes for the remaining 36 miles. Yet no one flats for the rest of the day. At mile 60 a rider struggles to hang in the pace line, then gets a second wind and flies up the last 1000 foot climb starting at mile 80. This is how our group of 10 hardy women rolled at the Solvang Century.

A century bicycle ride is like a cross-country trip condensed into a single day. Comedy and tragedy, pain and joy, and long stretches of sheer boredom, all begun and finished between sunrise and sunset. You don’t doubt that you’ll finish, but you know not to look too far ahead ’cause it’s a freaking long way and it won’t be all sunshine and tailwinds.

But when it is, it’s a amazing, beautiful experience. And when it’s over and you and your friends have achieved your goal, you really don’t even care that the clouds have rolled back in. We met the challenge of the Solvang Century and we emerged victorious.

How do you handle the ups and downs of life? What helps you keep calm and carry on?

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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Backroads


6 responses to “100 Miles of Fortitude

  1. cindy

    March 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

    That really made me smile this morning! LOVE

  2. playfulstitching

    March 14, 2012 at 11:53 am

    What helps keep me calm? Yoga. It’s a moving meditation for me. I can easily imagine that these long bike rides induce the same kind of meditative state.

    Congratulations to you and your friends!

  3. Rachel Unger

    March 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    🙂 Loved reading about this – way to go on the first of the year! (I think?) For me, I think biking itself is a wonderful help. Yes, there are hills, but there will be downhills at some point. Biking reminds me that good and bad are both temporary states. Headwinds will be tailwinds at some point.

    Seven flats surprised me. That’s rotten luck. Good on you all for maintaining composure.

    Also,… I’m not really sure about how to put this, but… there’s been increased troll-related traffic on another one of your posts lately. I don’t want to make things worse, but I do want to make sure that you don’t feel on your own on this one. Which you may not, but I wanted to say something.

    • ladyfleur

      March 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Not just my first century this year, my first in almost 3 years. Fortunately, the 7 flats were spread across the group, although Cindy C did get two at the same time. The problem was that we were riding along the shoulders of busy highways that never get swept. Once we got back onto the backroads we stopped getting the flats.

      Thanks for your support on the trolls on the “roadkill” post. I’m not concerned since I have the power to delete any posts that go too far and block problematic users. I should consider it a badge of honor that my blog is doing well enough in the search engine rankings that they found me. The analytics show that people are finding my blog from searching for “pearls before swine today”. Go figure.

  4. Jen Wilcox

    March 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Nice write-up Janet! It was sooo cold at the start! It was awesome meeting everyone! That was the best part about the ride!


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