On July 27th, 2013 I was honored to participate in the 9th Annual Connecticut Challenge Bike Ride. There are rides of numerous distances ranging from 25 to 100 (well actually 106 which was brought wasn’t brought to my attention until mile 70 oops).
It was a beautiful day in Fairfield County. My last century ride, The Gran Fondo in May was not quite so stunning. It was pouring with rain and I spent 8 hours absolutely frigid, unable to warm up. Scared from these recollections, I actually dressed in an under armor base layer under my brand new Sherpa women’s jersey!! How sad! That came off pretty quickly…
I arrived at the Hunt Club in Westport a little late after dropping off some water at the Westport Road Runners, an event sponsored by Sherpa with weekly running races of increasing distances. Such a great event. I am such a fan of progressive runs; I like to include a 5k, 10k and a 10-mile in a half-marathon training program.
I made a dash to the bathrooms, fiddled with my brand new Panache bib shorts, which provided excellent comfort throughout the day. I waved at a few friendly faces as I grabbed by registration packet and did my usual jump up and down to the bike pump to get my tires ready to roll.
As I lined up in the 100-mile group I was frantically trying to do my dynamic stretches and get my Garmin 910 to turn on. I have been using the 910 since March and it has been an integral part of my ironman training. However, this morning it was completely frozen! It was also bought to my attention that one of my water bottles was broken. I have been using chia seeds in my bike fluid for the past couple of months. Always the anti-procrastinator I did this a little too early and clearly one of the seeds had gotten stuck in the mouthpiece. Ouch.
As I mumbled and groaned to myself I was stopped in my tracks, there was a processional for cancer survivors. Talk about putting things into perspective. I am here so concerned about my watch monitoring my heart rate, I am lucky to have the opportunity and capability to go out and ride my bike. I think it was at that moment when I saw people I knew well, that I had worked with that I really got choked up. The CT Challenge is such a fabulous organization that improves the quality of life for survivors and their loved ones. It was at that moment that the next 100 miles became about gratitude for what I have and admiration at the fight those survivors have won.
It was a beautiful ride through Fairfield county, some similar roads, others new. I spent some time riding with some fellow Sherpa’s and some time alone too. There were periodic signs of encouragement along the way. I joked with a fellow rider that I should be running the race…maybe a new goal on the horizons? Put’s a whole new meaning to the Connecticut Challenge!