2023 - 100 Mile Century Ride
WE DID IT!
OCTOBER 18, 2023
100 Miles / 11.7 mile avg.
"HARDEST 100 EVER"
This is my 4th 100 and will go down in history as the hardest. All the girls earned a merit badge on this one.
"WAY to GO" to the diehard 7 who stuck it out!!
Where to begin? It's all in my head as I wake at 3am the morning after. Oh good I actually got 4 hours of sleep compared to the 3 I had the night before the ride. Why do you think I love this so much what an adrenaline surge. It's best to just get up and start typing, documenting while it's still surging through my body. I know already this is gonna be long-winded. When I recap right away, I am flooded with so much to share. I wait a week and my senior brain has already forgotten.
My mother drilled this into my head as child.
"NEVER say NEVER EVER"
That will be the motto for this ride because I did and it bit me in the butt!
I still hear the words coming out of my mouth over and over the last 4 years....
"I WILL NEVER PLAN A 100 in WIND
I WILL NEVER include the KATY on a 100 ride."
Watch what you say. Both came to be on this ride. One to our distress and one to our salvation. You know I have a hard time locking in this ride. The moon and stars have to line up to pick that perfect day. I had 8 new girls who trained, planned and hoped to do it this year. My goal to accommodate is sometime by ultimate undoing. When Wednesday was the magical day that all 12 girls could make it, I set it in stone. I checked the weather hourly for days and it just kept getting better and warmer. We were set. Then on Sunday I decided to look closely at the wind. Oh no! 24 mile winds and 40 mile gust. The doubt and fear of setting these girls up for failure overcame me. But as it was I had been preaching to my husband about anxiety and how he needed to let it go and trust God. As I questioned my decision this was politely pointed out to me by him. Practice what you preach, right. So I stood firm. I was going to let go and let God. We had 3 days and the wind could change and if I prayed he would take care of it. I didn't even tell the girl for a while what they would be facing that day. Everyone was so pumped and happy we found this day and everyone could all be there. Well God did not change the winds not even one mile. But you know what he did do. He gave all those girls the will, determination, empowerment to overcome and reach this goal. Prayers are often answered not in the way they are prayed. It was not my most enjoyable100, it will not go down as the best ever ride of my life, but it was such a growing lesson in trust and faith. Trust in God and faith in these women who would not give up or give in. These girls did not do a 100 on Oct 18th they did way above and beyond. Earning every mile and peddle stroke. All the training and riding in wind, cold, rain had them armored for this. I don't think I have ever been so impressed and amazed. Not one girl even considered quitting and calling it.
Infamous chick squirrel moment
If you probably have not already notice, by my recaps, we tend to squirrel. This is when things are changed at a moment notice. Many rides end up not what was intended and the girls just fly by the seat of their pants with me. The 100 is different it is a locked down route that has been fine tuned over 3 years. But all that went into the wind. Literally and figuratively. When we were out in the farm fields of Portage Des Sioux battling every stroke into 40 mile gust I had a serious riding talk with Christy. She is my voice of reason and we both knew the last 40 going only west and south into the wind was going to be BAD. If we could have just kept riding north with the wind at our backs for the next 40 miles and get picked up and brought back life would be sweet. But we were at the river and there is no more north to go. We agreed and reluctantly for me the Katy was our best option. Anyone who rides knows if caught on a windy day you head to the Katy for tree protection and a flat ride. This was our only choice if these ladies were to finish. It would be hard going 20 out directly into the wind, but guess what, it would be a push back with the wind helping us when we are most depleted. When you have 80 under your belt and those muscles are screaming a little relief is definitely welcome. So there it was, a new plan on the fly. After lunch we hit the Katy. 40 miles of gravel. How can this be? How am I riding nearly half a century on my arch nemesis. But guess what it was our sanctuary on this day and I am grateful to have it. We are the Katy Trail Biker Chicks, for pete's sake, and it saved our 100!!! Oh Tami was loving it. The girl who spent 5 days on it was grinning to have me do this 40.
NOW SOME GRITTY DETAILS.... Oh this is getting long. Are you still with me? Am I losing you? I lost my sons and husband back at the bold print "Never say Never Ever!"
Let start at the very beginning with a funny one on my way to the trailhead, in the dark, mind you, at 6am. I'm distracted worried I had the wrong legging on that pinch into my gut and will be totally uncomfortable for 11 hours. Oh no, is it too late to turn back and change. Does someone have a scissors so I cut the waistband. While worrying about this I am trying to send out a text with a link to my favorite pump you up song - "Perfect Day" to the girls riding. None of this is going well and a truck pulls up along side me at a light pointing frantically to the back of my jeep. Oh no!!! Is my bike falling off? Panic comes over me. I fumble to find the window lever and hear what he is intensely saying. Apparently my tail lights were out. Oh is that all? Thank goodness. Just don't be my bike. Can't loss my backup old Trek. ( And if you want to know why I'm riding a 100 on my old bike you need to reach out personally. This is a story that I will not be sharing to my 300 closest friends on my distribution. It is a, my mouth to your ears, story. I got you really curious now. Let's see how many call me. LOL)
I am having too much fun here. When is the sun coming up? It's been 3 hours and it's still dark outside. Oh man I got 18 text from yesterday. They will need to wait. I have to get this done. That was a squirrel moment there.
I know you want to hear about the ride. Ok here ya go. Started with 20 miles over to the Bridgeton Level. It got a little dicey circling the Mills. I ended up taking the loop the wrong direction and it had me freaked out. I couldn't tell where I was. It is so different in reverse. It was rush hour morning traffic and I had the girls on a uncomfortable roads. When we got back to the bridge I acknowledged this oversight. I knew Christy would be calling me out and before she had a chance I told her next year I would find a new ride option. There was too much traffic and road debris. Which I think was the cause of our first and only flat tire. Shorty after that section Rhonda had a flat and a really flat tire on the back of all things. She didn't want to hold us up. She ended up phoning a friend to be picked up. Why are no guys doing this with us? We could have used you here. I knew how much she wanted this and even waited for our date with her mind to be able to participate. We headed off to Portage and our first real break after 32 miles. Got a call from Rhonda and she got that bike fixed and sweet talked her brother into driving her up to Mary where she rejoined us and was able to be a finisher. Wow...determination. We were all elated. Started with 13 down to 12 back up to 13.
Now the next heat breaking story.
Shari has just started riding with us and really wanted to do the 100. She was having bowel issues and a lot of pain. Desperately need a bathroom, where a tree and tissue was not going to be an adequate option. We were 15 miles from anything that resemble a bathroom. She was in tremendous pain and managed to ride for an hour and half to the bathroom. Things were bad and she ultimately had to call it at lunch and go home to check in with the doctor. Felt so bad for her but guess what there is always next year and it won't have wind. Now back down to 12. The final 12 that finished.
Lunch break was INSANE!
We were running behind schedule the wind had our avg down to 11.7 compared to the 12.5 last year. Lunch was a whirl wind between the bathroom break, food to consume, trip to our cars, peeling of clothes, welcoming of new riders, water bottles to fill and pictures to take. We started taking our success pics at lunch when the lighting is best. By the time we finish at dark we can't get good shots and I am all about the documentation. So at this point you are locked into finishing. I am not photoshopping you out. Patty volunteered to be our photography and she did a great job capturing our jumping.
I'm so proud of you look how much you've read and I promise it's almost over. I still need to pack for my anniversary get away and stop thinking, doing and now writing about this 100 and focus on my real #1. I know you all thought is was you.
The FINAL 40
Ok it's time...Katy here we come. This is where the ride become your own. The fun is over there is serious work to be done to finish. At this point the thighs are probably talking and for some, such as Jamie, yelling. This girl has not ridden in 2 years except one 12 mile ride and came out to do this. Impressive and guess what it took her 30-40 minutes longer but she finish. She did admit training is definitely recommended. Rhonda was in the same boat with some real knee pain but she pushed through determined. They both rode in late and finished. I will say this was a real advantage to the Katy. You just go out and come back. Take your pace we don't need to wait at every turn. It takes the pressure off. Because this is your ride and your time and you are doing something that is very overwhelming. 8 hours on a bike seat over an 11 hour day. Nothing like it. It was not easy.
When we first headed out my head was spinning. We had 38.5 miles left. What is half of that? Where on the trail do we stop and turn back. This is all stuff I usually figure out in advance at my 3 screen computer desk. I am riding and trying to calculate in my brain which by the way is just not working by now. I have my phone in one hand trying to map the distance to Defiance and subtract how far we are. I even had to use my calculator at one point. Is there a law about no texting and riding? There should be. LOL These are things better not shared with my husband. No worries he will never get this far reading. Ultimately Good News was our Good News spot we get to turn around. Even better news Mark was able to welcome us in and had a beer I could take a well earned swig. My left leg was giving me the twing of going full blown out cramp. I was nervou,s you know the Sam's story when it cramped up after a ride and I hobbled into the store. I would not make it back 20 miles with one leg. Thankfully Christy had a liquid IV and I think it saved my ride.
SUCCESS TO ALL
We all rode back together, sang a little of the song I wrote for the first big ride 12 years ago. Ultimately everyone ended up at their own pace riding in over a 40 minute period. We all changed and were salivating for the first sip of beer. Such sweet success. We had the whole deck for the after party. It was wonderful. We had some who did not ride and show up in support. Could not have asked for a nicer night. Hey where did that wind go? Sure the minute we were finish so was the wind.
IT IS DONE
The sun is up. It's been 5 hours and time to move on and just live in my memories. Thanks for always being up for sharing this amazing journey and crazy stuff with me! You girls ROCK!
...until next year. We will ride it again!!!
Most girls to ride the 100 with 12
Most new girls to make it with 7 finishing
Exact same date as the 2nd 100