Venus de Miles (2013)

Yesterday brought the second annual Venus de Miles ride to Lake Forest, IL.   I was one of the six ambassadors for this event.  Ambassadors pictured below from left:  Jess, Erin, Alyssa, Kelly, Lauren & me.

Venus 2013_ambassadors

I also was lucky enough to participate with several F’N runners & some Team Tough Chiks members too!!!  F’N Runners – Lynn, Melanie, Susan, Suzanne & Me

Venus 2013_Lynn & Melanie  Venus 2013_susan-suzanne-me

Team Tough Chik riders – Susan, me, Jess & Jenny G

Venus 2013_Team Tough Chik

This ride is a one of a kind experience.  Ladies only please unless you want to dress in drag and be our bike support.  The focus of the ride, is not how far or how fast you can ride but rather sisterhood, togetherness, and community support for our Greenhouse Scholars charity which “provides comprehensive personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students”.   The event offers at 25 and a 61 mile event.  Both last year and this year, I opted for the 61 miler.  The course starts through the streets of Lake Forest then visits neighborhoods, forest preserves, bike paths and lots of sites along the way via the towns of  Deerfield, Riverwoods, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Forest Lake, Mundelein, Libertyville & Mettawa. 

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The ride can be as leisurely as you like or a total hammer fest.  Up to you.  Venus provides a very well marked course, with plenty of space for all riders and 4 rest stops along the way.  Each rest area offered clean bathrooms (port-o-potties) with all the needed “sanitary” items, lots of food & fuel from brownies (my current personal choice for fueling a 60+ mile ride!!), cookies, nuts, PB, fruit, Luna bars, energy gels, shot blocks, water & electrolyte drink.

If you have a problem with your bike you can call for on course bike support or maybe one of the men in drag will stop to assist.   Plus there are lots of ladies on course who will gladly lend a hand if you need it!  However, let’s just hope your day is as amazing as the event and you won’t need any help! 

I was lucky enough to find a solid group of ladies who were moving my pace.  This Fab 5 stuck together the entire way.  We fought some cool conditions, rain, wind, hills (and a few more hills) and came away with a smile on our faces when we crossed the finish line.  Here we are leaving the last rest stop and getting ready to put the hammer down to the finish:  Jess, Helena, Jess, myself & Suzanne.  Thank you ladies for sticking with me, even when the wind and hills were kicking my ass and helping me finish strong!

Venus 2013_5

The ride was great but the food, drinks (2 free drinks each!!), vendors and JENI’s ice cream at the finish were AHmazing!  It was also nice to be able to sit down at little tables to eat and chat with friends.  Many participants also partook in free massages, mani/pedis, facials, etc.  So much fun.   And I was equally impressed with the Greenhouse Scholars who were floating around, speaking to as many participants as possible.  The Scholars were very appreciative and thanked us for being there and fundraising for them.  It was very heartfelt and personal as they told us what the charity has done for them. Nice touch.  If you didn’t have a chance to ride this year and would still like to help the Greenhouse Scholars, you can donate HERE until the end of August. 

Great event.  We had 326 riders this year, which was about a 100 less than the inaugural ride in 2012 but there was also a big century ride in town which I personally believe took some of our riders.  The course was well marked, diverse and had amazing support.  I also liked the little added touches to make the ride feminine and fun.  Keep watch for the 2014 date so that you can put it on your calendar early and join me touring Lake County, IL for the next installment of Venus de Miles (2014).  Costumes welcome!!

** See you next year  **  Amanda – TooTallFritz  **

Venus de Miles Ambassador…..

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Last year, I had an amazing time at the Venus de Miles event despite some pretty major bike issues.  Feel free to read about the entire debacle day HERE, where had it not been for SAG support and on course support/riders who helped me, I wouldn’t have finished.  I have nothing but thanks and praise for all the people who provided assistance during the 2012 ride!  Therefore, when I was invited to be an ambassador for the 2013 ride, I accepted without hesitation. 

The 2013 Venus de Miles event for Illinois will take place on July 28, 2013.  It will cruise thru Lake Forest and surrounding burbs, forest preserves and local bike paths.  The ride offers two options, a 25 mile and 61 mile route.  The participants will range from hard core “biker babes” to casual riders.  I can attest to this because I was toward the front when we left Lake Forest until mile 30 when I was out, roadside with tire puncture issues.  After lengthy repairs I returned to the course and was all the way  at the very back with the sweepers.  Riding with the sweepers was a great experience, they were strong riders and would hold up at every rest stop for a lengthy amount time to allow the ladies bringing up the rear to enjoy a leisurely ride as long as they were capable.

Me riding into the finish area after a LONG ass day ride.  I was thrilled to be done!

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Venus de Miles was a great ride but I think the after party took the event to a level like no other offered in the biking community.  The ride was for women, designed by women and the after party definitely focused providing a top of the line experience with gourmet food and feminine fun!  This is the info from the website since it would be impossible to do it justice otherwise:

Post Ride Festival
The fun doesn’t stop when you cross the finish line. Invite your family and friends who couldn’t join in the ride and put your post-ride endorphin high to good use at our celebration at Lake Forest College.

The ride also has a charity component supporting Greenhouse Scholars, “an organization dedicated to helping high-performing, under-resourced students reach their full potential by providing scholarships to attend college and other resources to help them become community leaders.”

So save the date, July 28th, Lake Forest, IL and plan to join me and the other ambassadors to make the 2013 ride the best one yet!  

This is a photo of a few friends from the 2012 ride.  Several of these ladies are also 2013 ambassadors:  Lauren, Erin, Kelly, MacKenna & Me

Venus 2012_Lauren Erin Kelly MacKenna Me

Free race entry “may” follow, so keep an eye out! 

** Ride like a Venus  ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **