100 Mile Century Ride

WE DID IT!
SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
100 Miles / 11.5 Hours / 8 Hours of Biking

 

Wow! What a feeling to accomplish a century ride. Ironically this was never anything on my radar. I generally never set myself up for anything too hard. COVID hit in March, my weekly planned rides with the Chicks was put to a screeching halt. Lock down happened hard and fast and I went from seeing 50 people a week to a world of three. Donna, my neighbor, who I continued to social distance walk daily, Molly who I rode with weekly and my husband was responsible for playing with the rest of the time. It was a whole new, different world. As I am sure it was for everyone. All of us never experiencing a pandemic.

 

Molly and I found ourselves looking for a riding goal. The big ride was always the catalyst to get in shape and ride 75-85 miles in one weekend at the end of the season. Who knew if that would even happen this year and it did ultimately get cancelled, so did the Jamboree and the Ragbri. So we decided to have our our challenge. The idea of 100 in one day seemed crazy but some reason in this crazy environment we needed something crazy to overcome. I wanted something amazing to come out of COVID. Something good, something we would always remember and so I it was named "The COIVD-100". This would be the positive to the COVID-15 everyone was packing on. So there it was, it became our season goal. We would  train to attempt 100 in the Fall. The plan was to find a cool fall day, with light cloud cover and no wind and give it a try.

 

I started my research and googled everything about training for an endurance ride. First thing I had to figure out was how to stop my quads from killing me after a measly 10 miles. How, in the heck, was I going to ride 100 if I'm  in pain after 10. After some research I discovered what everyone else seemed to know. You need to give your body something to feed on. Apparently a cup of coffee doesn't cut it. I started implemented carb-loading the day before and eating porridge (aka oatmeal ) 90 minutes before a ride. Well, what do you know, it worked. My leg pain was a thing of the past. This was encouraging. Now I just needed to build up speed and endurance. I started doing 30 mile rides on Wednesdays with Lesia. She was all about meeting at 5:30am and knocking it out. The big ride was generally 35 miles and it took ALL day to do. Here we were riding these 30's in 2.5 hours. It was very empowering. 

Now it was time to try some longer rides. Over the next few months we worked in two 50's with a few other girls and gave road riding a try out by Portage de Souix. I fell in love with the road. You can go anywhere. If we were doing 100 it needed to be on flat pavement and not the fiction of the Katy's gravel.

 

We nearly had a deal breaker in July when Molly had a biking accident and the snake won. She fractured her pelvis putting her in recovering for 6 weeks. I was uncertain we would be able to ride the 100 this season. She had a long recovery and needed time to get her endurance back. It was such a shame she had never been riding stronger than when this happened. It was a huge wake-up call for me and our group. She hit her head so hard she saw stars but thankfully had a helmet on. I was probably the one most quilty of never wearing a helmet. I never liked messing up a good hair day. Well, all that changed. I implemented new riding rules. Everyone must wear a helmet or one will be provided. No more than two ride next to each other and always a bike length apart.  So good can come from bad.

 

Funny how things happen. So in the meantime, my son Christopher says to me one day, why don't I have a bad-ass bike considering all the riding a do. Well, because my Trek is great and I love it. He then adds that Dad has his passion of owning and restoring 2 classic MOPAR's and a newly built garage to showcase them. He thinks I deserve an awesome bike to fuel my passion as well. I quickly dismissed him and put it out of my mind.  Until a few day later when I walked in the bike shop and was bedazzled by a long row of shiny, new, light-weight bikes. Darn you Christopher, for getting in my head. The urge for a new, cool bike starts consuming me, especially when I discovered all the girls I ride with have lighter bikes than me. That did it. I wanted a new bike to do this 100. Just because you want it, doesn't mean you can get it, especially in this COVID season. The bike shops were completely depleted of product, racks were bare. I couldn't even find a bike in my size to try.  My only option was to order one sight unseen. In the mean time, I am rattling on about these awesome carbon bikes to Molly and Lesia. Now I was getting in their heads. One week later all three of us were at Granada ordering the same all carbon Specialized bike. We never saw it, sat on it or tried it but we couldn't wait to get them. My size was due to arrive in January.  Molly and Lesia had to wait until March. We would not be riding our carbon bikes for this 100. But as fate would have it, I got a call 3 weeks later and to my elation my bike was in. Now let the accessorizing begin. All new stuff for my all new bike. I even took the leap and decided to go clipped in. Which was a funny story in itself figuring that out. But I will save that one for another time. 

 

Everything is falling into place. In my mind I have already accomplished this 100. Training is going well, the bike is rockin. We just need Molly to be up for it. By mid Sept we decided maybe we should try a 75 before the 100. This came up very last minute and a day with 4 mile winds was picked for the next week. We decide to invite two other girls for a nice even four. Christy had been pushing herself to ride 40's and break her own personal records. She was up for challenge. I called Kim 2 days before and she too wanted to give it a try as well. 

Monday, Sept 21st we all met in St Charles at 7:30am. I was excited and scared. My stomach in knots. I spent all weekend preparing. Making sure I had plenty of energy snacks, figuring out my mapping on a new GPS app, getting my big comfy padded seat installed and mentally preparing. Molly, on the other hand, was hosting company all weekend, gave a wedding shower at her home on Sunday and thoughally exhausted herself. She woke up that morning throwing some things on her bike and not at all feeling up for this ride. 

It was happening. We took off at 8am after all the pre-ride pictures and headed out hwy 94 to the endless, flat, paved, farm roads north of St Charles. The goal was to keep our tires only on flat pavement for this endeavour. Hwy 94 was a little dicing. The last time we rode a 50 this way it was a holiday and traffic was spare. Not the case on a Monday morning at commuting time. The first 5 miles was pretty scary on the shoulder with a lot of traffic so when we finally got out to the farm roads we all agreed NEVER to do that again.  The hard part was behind us. We rode out toward West Alton and did not take our first break until Portage de Souix at 30 miles. We always visit Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine when in Portage. It's so amazing and we need our Lady in our corner for this ride. We have knocked out nearly 1/3 down of the ride and everyone is feeling fantastic. Only 15 more until lunch at Massa's this will be no problem. We had a little wind resistance but nothing like the time we rode 50 out here. The temp was perfect and no one even drank their first water bottle on the first 45 miles. Made it to lunch about noon and enjoyed some time off the bike seat. I was not even dripping wet like usual when I ride.  This is when Molly leaned over and said "hey, if we feel ok after 75 maybe we should just go for 100." That was all I needed to hear. My mind was made up I wanted to do the 100 TODAY! The day was perfect. I felt great. My butt did not hurt. It was a Carpe Diem moment. 

We found out at lunch that my planned route to 370 lake had a road closure. Time to shoot from the hip and we ended up riding out 10 miles near the Golden Ferry and then heading back through New Town to St Charles. This was the easiest part of the day. I think the wind was floating us along. Which was perfect timing considering our bellies were full and leg muscles had completely cooled off. I think everyone drank their 1st water bottle the first 5 miles suffering from intense thirst from that salty pasta lunch. What goes out easy -  comes back hard. Anyone who rides knows when it's too easy you will pay on the way back. We definitely had some head winds coming back but nothing like the 50 from a few weeks earlier.

YESS!! We did it!! Rolled into St Charles with 75 under our belt. It was a huge accomplishment for all of us. I was especially impressed with Christy who just started riding seriously a few years ago and had worked her way up to doing 42 just in the last month. This was twice her usual and with minimal time to mentally prepare. Kim did fantastic getting this thrown at her last minute. I was impressed with everyone. A BIG SHOUT OUT to Kim Stark and Christy Tyree for riding their first 75!!!!

 

Well, you gotta celebrate this milestone even if there is 25 more miles to conquer. So we took a well deserved break at Schlafly for the traditional celebratory beer. This was probably the hardest part for me. To actually pass up a beer and a craft beer at that. But past experience told me to get the coke, you need the sugar, you got 25 more to go. Surprisingly the only thing that hurt was my right foot. It was numb most of the ride and had started to burn. I sat down at the table and took off my shoe for some relief. A few minutes later Molly asked if I minded if she took her shoes off and I laughed lifting my leg having already done that. Now Molly needs fuel when she rides so in her usual fashion she smacked down a big old cheese burger and fries. How can she do that and get on a bike.

By now its getting to be 4:30 and we have 3 hours of light so it's time to get moving. It would just be Molly and I to finish what we started and trained for over the past 6 months.  We watered up and decided to take the last 25 on the Katy. 12.5 out past Pitman and back should do it. This last 25 was kicking Molly's butt. I'm sure that big old cheeseburger and fries sitting in her belly was not helping.  We made it to Pitman and Molly tapped out. She wanted to head back and be close to the car worried she wasn't going to make it. I pumped her up with a 5 hour energy drink and we turned back. Now this meant we needed 8 more miles past St Charles. She was loopy and couldn't keep a clear thought. She wanted to just go to the car and let me finish the last 8 by myself. Well, that was NOT HAPPENING. Even if I had to a tie a rope to her bike. First of all, I was not doing this without her. We started it together, we were finishing it together. I also dreaded the idea of coming back next week to try and do this. But more than that my husband would have her head if she left me on the trail at dusk by myself. That is the whole reason I have this group he does not want me riding alone. We just needed to slow it down and let the turtle win this race.

 

Right about 88 miles my phone suddenly died. It caught me so off-guard. I had prepared for this and just bought a battery backup that was going strong since lunch. I use the dickens out of my phone. Full on GPS mapping, full screen on bright and music playing continually. How could this happen? In a blink all my recorded tracking was gone. I was horrified not to mention how can I finish these last 12 miles with NO MUSIC? I can do anything if I have the right song. Not to mention that was my mileage tracker. How am I going to know if we did 100? Molly's phone was at 4%. Luckily she has a odometer on her bike so it was up to her to track the end of this ride. Now she had to stick with me. At one point, out of desperation I started singing the biker chick Do-Wa-Ditti song I wrote from our very first big ride. The sun was setting and we just kept riding. I couldn't ask Molly any questions that required thinking because by now nothing she said made any sense. She was not the only one. As dusk came and the sun set it looked and felt a lot like my early morning rides. A biker passed and I cheerfully said "good morning" catching my mistake and laughing another rider passed and I did it again....and still we ride.

 

It was actually quite perfect that the last 25 of our record 100 would be right at home in our happy place on the Katy. We are the Katy Trail Biker Chicks, of course, and this is where it all started 9 years ago.  I was surprised how good I felt, nothing hurt, I wasn't tired, my big fat cushy seat kept my derriere happy all 8 riding hours. I was definitely on a bikers high! But the real hero here is Molly. She had everything going against her. She came on this ride exhausted from an event hosting weekend. She was still in recovery from her broken pelvis and riding a big-ass truck seat complete with springs to protect her healing injury. I don't even want to know how much weight that squeaky thing added to her bike. She did not have a new state of the art carbon bike or the extra boost of clipping in. I had all the advantages and she carried all the disadvantages and was still rolling in after 11.5 hours on this ride. So a bigger SHOUT OUT to her and her perseverance and determination against all odds. An inspiration to all. If you want something bad enough you can find a way to make it happen. Love ya girl! Thanks for going on this crazy adventure with me and keeping it so fun!!   

 

As the sun faded away and night came in we rolled into the parking lot. It took a few laps watching the odometer turn over to hit our goal -------  99.6 - 99.7 - 99.8 - 99.9 - 100.0!!! Oh MY GOSH! It happened. The best feeling ever!! So cool to have the goal and then see it happen and it wasn't even the plan that day.

 

It could not have worked out better that it was the two of us to finished this. It was our goal from the beginning. We quickly got off our bikes took out Molly's phone with 1% battery left and snapped two pictures. The odometer boasting an incredible 100.3 miles and a selfie of the two of us with the biggest smiles. There was no celebratory beer, there was no hubby waiting at the bar, there was no group celebration like every other ride I have done for nine years. But that's ok. It was my personal goal and I did it and I was happy to just go home. My hubby was waiting with a frozen pizza and my recover chocolate milk. Which never tasted better. He drew me a hot bath and I was HAPPY! The next morning I woke to a text from Molly that said "I got 2 hours of sleep last night, I think that 5 hour energy finally kicked in." I laughed --- a lot! 

Next time 125, GOD WILLING!!!! Who's in??

Big Thanks to my NEW bike!

This helped make it happen!

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THERESA GROSS - Chick Mama

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