Next Up – Venus de Miles

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I’m super excited about this weekend.  I recently registered for the Venus de Miles, 61 mile, all ladies ride.  I saw it come thru on an Active Swaggle Deal of the Day.  Normally, I’m not a big “biker”.  I ride to TRI.  Period.  I’d like to think that I have improved my biking during the time that I have not been able to run been rehabbing my injury but I’m still not a “biker”.  I’m a runner and triathlete.  I swim to TRI.  I bike to TRI.  I hope that I continue to improve my riding after I finish the Great Illini 70.3 on September 1st but let’s not jump too far ahead, right?

I wouldn’t have signed up for Venus de Miles had I not been injured and not able to do run races & TRIs it not come thru on the Swaggle.    I believe with the Swaggle, plus my Active Advantage Membership, I paid $47.  The ride is in Lake Forest, IL and I have no idea where that is other than “up north”.  I know they have lots of big expensive fancy house up there because my J.O.B is appealing property taxes. 

I have ridden in a non-triathlon group atmosphere exactly twice.  Let’s just say neither experience went well.  The first time, circa spring 2007, I took my shiny new road bike to a local bike club for a Sunday group ride.  Everyone was warm and welcoming and they immediately handed me a map for the days route.  Huh?  A map?  Can’t I just follow somebody?  How can I read a map and ride my bike at the same time?  Then they asked my pace.  What?  Pace?  “Um, I don’t know, I just bought this bike yesterday and I never had a computer on my Walmart Special mountain bike.”   I believe they frowned.

The ride options, if I remember correctly, cause trust me I’ve tried to suppress the memories for YEARS, were 26, 40 something, then it jumped to 60 something.  I was going to “try” the 26 mile option but was a bit nervous as my longest previous ride was 11 miles on my Walmart Special.  So the 60 mile group who planned to average 18-22 mph took off like they were being chased.  The 26 mile group included a lot of older men, one on a recumbent bike and let’s just say the pace was very “relaxed”.  So I was tooling along with them and just REALLY wanted to ride my new bike to see what it would do.  Well, two older men blazed past us, which was not difficult at our relaxed pace, and I made the stupid split second decision to go with them.  I recognized them from the parking lot so just went.  They were riding a decent pace and I was having fun.  I was amazed at how quickly the miles were ticking off and loved watching them accumulate on my new computer.  The men were very nice and didn’t seem to mind my following them.  Then the miles really started to climb and I was wondering when we were going to turn back toward our start location.  We didn’t turn.  We kept riding AWAY from my car.  I was getting distressed because by that point I had no idea how to get back by myself so I kept following.  Then they got lost.  Awesome.   Then we ran out of water.  Awesome.  At some point during this fiasco, we had to stop and look at the map, which was now crumpled, folded and sweaty from riding against my person.  This was when I learned that they were attempting to follow riding the 60 mile route.  Awesome.

Somehow, I we managed to hit the half way point and stopped to refill our water.  The fasties original 60 mile crew had already had breakfast and were preparing to leave.  I was frantically thinking about how I should proceed.  This was a point in time before every cyclist and runner carried a cell phone on their person.  So when everyone left the half way point, I left too and continued following.  I didn’t have much left and I definitely could NOT go another 30+ miles.  I was all done.  I rode to the point where we hit a busy road which I recognized, just south of a town not too far from my house.  They stopped at the stop sign;  I rolled thru the ditch and into somebody’s front yard.  The bike crew asked what I was doing.  I said, “I’m all done”.  The response, “Come on, we are planning to stop right up here at a gas station”.  I said, “No, I’m stopping right here.  I’m finished”.  They rode away.  I just sat there.  In fact, the people from the house eventually came out and asked if I was okay.  What to say?  Hell, NO I’m not okay!  I just rode 40+ f’ing miles.  My ass hurts.  My legs are jello.  I’m so dehydrated, I can’t even cry!  I think I said I was fine and managed to stand up.  I was about a 1/4 of a mile from a bar.  I walked my bike to the bar.  I can’t remember it well but I must have had $ for a beer, or else hubby paid for it later, because I remember drinking a Corona and a ton of water.  I called hubby on the bar’s phone.  That was my first and last ride with that group.

The second attempt at a group ride went “better”.  I joined the Folks On Spokes Easter Ride.  I rode solo, got to pick my distance, the ride was supported and well marked but I didn’t finish.  They pulled the route too close to my house so instead of making a turn, I just rode home….. with a few people following me.  Oooops, sorry about that.   Thankfully my house was only 2 miles from the “missed” turn so they didn’t have too far to back track.  :)

So Venus, you are my redemption.  I will ride. I will finish.  I will have my cell on my person.  If by chance you live on the Venus route and see me laying motionless in your yard, please hand me a Corona Light and the phone. 

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Anyone else riding Venus de Miles on Sunday? 

Have you ever ridden a group ride or large cycling event like Venus?  How did it go for YOU?

** Happy Riding ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

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13 thoughts on “Next Up – Venus de Miles

  1. What a story! That probably would have ended my triathlon and cycling forever! I am doing my first group ride, a 72 mile supported event they call a “ride,” in a week… but I’ve heard people call it a race. Hoping I don’t end up in a situation like what you described.

  2. The Venus ride will be MUCH BETTER! It sounds so cool. I wish I could do it! It is in Lake County, on all the roads I am familiar with. I know Kelly, and bloggers Lauren and Erin are doing it too. :)

    I was reading that story and thinking “thank heavens for smart phones now!” Map – check. Phone – check. Ugh. What a disaster though!

  3. TTF you will finish this bike ride in fine shape! Distance on bikes is just like running….”Start out slow and taper off!” Means start out gradually and ease into a steady speed and flow you can sustain, then pick it up at the end….if you can, or just keep it steady-state and make sure to hydrate and fuel accordingly. Then just think…at least I am not running this distance!

  4. Can’t wait to see you there on Sunday! I’ll be there with Erin from Eri-thon! I’m feeling a bit the same way you are – nervous but hopeful and excited!

  5. Loved this story. I have a confession to make though – you are going to love this ride, and it WILL be your redemption. I’m the founder of the ride, and I can assure you that you are going to have a wonderful time. Drink those cocktails up at the finish and enjoy the facial – you’ve earned it.

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