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  **

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Venus de Miles … I’m Ready to Roll!

This Sunday will bring the second annual Venus de Miles event in Lake Forest, IL.  The ride is a supported ladies only event and geared toward serious and leisurely cyclists alike offering both a 25 and 61 mile option.  SO.MUCH.FUN. 

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I rode last year and am excited to go back for the 2013 event with several friends.  We will be riding a leisurely pace and just enjoying the roads, trails and local scenery. We plan to stop at each aid station, which is about every 15 miles, and load up with all the goodies while mingling with the other riders.  We plan to have fun riding, supporting the Greenhouse Scholars charity, and just being together while bonding over a “few” miles thru Lake Forest and the surrounding areas.  Some of my friends will be undertaking their longest ride ever in order to participate and I’m excited to be there with them for the momentous occasion!

If you want to ride with us, there are still spots available.  Onsite registration will start Sunday morning at 6am at Glen Rowan House, 500 N Sheridan Rd, Lake Forest, IL.  The cost is $129 + a $75 fundraising requirement for the Greenhouse Scholars.

If you want to be part of the fun but aren’t up for the ride, Venus is still looking for volunteers, so please feel free to email me (amanda@tootallfritz.com) and I’ll get you in contact with the volunteer coordinator!

Other than the ride, the amazing aid stations and the on-course support, Venus is know best for the after ride party.  And I would like you to say that again …… PAR-TAY!

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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.
→ blissful hOMe will be providing complimentary yoga sessions at the start of the ride. Session 1 will run from 6:10 – 6:30 am. Session 2-from 6:35 to 6:55 am. Session 3 from 7:05 to 7:25am. Session 4 from 7:30 to 7:50 am.
→ Enjoy complimentary spa services provided by Tricoci Beauty University, including mini-facials, manicures and pedicures
→ Enjoy complimentary massage services provided by NuVie Skin and Wellness
→ Test Trek Women bikes
→ Explore a vendor’s expo with unique gear and treats
→ Beer provided by Goose Island
→ Wine provided by Terlato Wines, featuring Greystone Cellars, and Glass Mountain Vineyards
→ Cocktails provided by North Shore Distillery
→ Meet several of the Greenhouse Scholars you are supporting
→ Enjoy gourmet ice cream, provided by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

It was an amazing event last year and I’m looking forward to going again and hanging out on Sunday.  Feel free to join me and don’t forget to say hello!!

** Ride Venus de Miles ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Charity Raffle for RMHC

This week starts the kickoff of the Chicago Marathon training season!  Everyone is excited.  Everyone is ready.  Everyone is planning ahead to make the 2013 race the best one yet.  Those of us who have chosen to run for charity are also strategizing as to how to make our fundraising campaign as successful as possible for our charities.  My charity is the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Yes, we still have entries available on our team if you didn’t get one of those coveted lottery spots!!    Go here to become a 2013 team member for RMHC.

RMHC logo

I have chosen to run for RMHC for many reasons but most importantly because I want to help the kids and families not only of Chicago and the US but around the world.  The RMHC mission speaks to me by helping out the kids and families of injured, disabled & terminally ill children stay together.  They focus on normalcy and helping the family to feel connected, offering creature comforts, fun and a home base that is less like a hospital and more like a home.  They provide a place to stay, meals and support these families regardless of their financial status.  They focus on keeping families together during times of crisis.   That I like.  That I support.  That is something I would want for my family.

So without further ado, I’ll start introducing the raffle prizes.  I am still collecting raffle items so email me if you would like to donate something!   Currently we have just under 30 items with prizes ranging from $6 up to $189.  I’ve been hoarding saving and stashing things away for this all year, so I hope that we can really put some $$ away for RMHC.  My goal is to raise $5000 this week.  You will receive 1 entry into the raffle for every $10 donated to RMHC via my fundraising page HERE.  If you see a prize that you REALLY want, then please make a comment below and if your name is drawn then I will do my best to accommodate your request.

PRIZES

1)  Pro Compression Marathon Socks – $50 Value.  Your choice of color & size.  These are my go to socks for compression.  They are long enough for my long legs and come in a variety of colors and sizes.pro compression_gree socks_me

2)  Aspaeris Pivot Shorts – $65 value.  Your choice of color & size in the Gen2 style.  These are the only compression shorts I wear.  I love them.  I like both generations for various reasons but the hot pink Gen2 shorts really makes a statement as they are working at keep me together. 

Aspaers_gen2

3)  Tough Chik $25 Gift Card – You get to chose what you want from the Tough Chik store!  Lots of amazing things from cycling, running, TRI gear to casual tees.  My new favorite, which just dropped yesterday, is the “Tougher Than I Look Tank” which is priced at $28.  However, YOU can pick anything you like with this gift card!

TOUGHER_TANK

4)  Venus de Miles Illinois FREE ride entry + Tee (medium) + Water bottle – $189 value.  Join myself, the other Venus de Miles Ambassadors and ladies from all over the tri-state area as we cruise Lake Forest in style on July 28th.  This ride offers a 25 & 61 mile option.  It’s totally free for YOU and the mandatory fundraising requirement will be waived.  The ride includes fully stocked rest stops every 12-15 miles, on course support, breakfast  & activities pre-ride, and a big ladies style bash after the event.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed with this event.  Check out the website or read more about the 2013 event HERE or my 2012 experience HERE

image   venus de miles tee

5)  Bastille Day 5K/8K FREE entry – $37-$42 value.  Run one of the best races in town on Thursday, July 11th for free!  This race claims to be “Bringin’ Happy Hour Back” so I have massive expectations for fun, Fun, FUN!  The race is in Lincoln Park offering a 5K or 8K option followed by a block party.  Join me to celebrates the French Independence Day and we will show Lincoln Park what HAPPY HOUR is all about!  Whoooooooop!!

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6)  Women Rock Chicago Calendar & Headband (x2) –  Value is “priceless”.   I scored two MEN of Women Rock Chicago calendars which have been signed by Mr. April & Mr. July!  You are welcome!!!  These calendars are filled with fun and hot men.  Each calendar comes with a Women Rock Chicago headband.  Two winners here, try not to fight but I know you want these!!

women rock chicago calendars              women rock chicago calendars2

7)  AdvoCare prize pack – $32 Value.  One AdvoCare blender bottle, 3 packets of Spark (mango strawberry), 3 packets of Post Workout Recovery Drink (chocolate), 3 pouches of Rehydrate Gel (lemon), & 3 packets of Rehydrate drink (mango pineapple).  AdvoCare is my go to for nutrition and sports performance products.  I don’t shop around.  This is what I trust.  This is what I use.  These products are safe, tested, legal, plus focus on giving us what we need for our bodies without all the “extra” additives and sugar.

advocare prize pack

8)  Punkeelove Headbands (3 bands – 1 winner) – $44 Value.  I love sparkly headbands that DO NOT slip.  These are the only ones that I buy.  I’ve tumbled and rolled down the lakefront path (no joke!) and these stay in my hair.  They don’t flip off the back of my head while I run either cuz who wants to pay big $$ for a cute sparkly headband then lose it in a race on the first wear.  Not me.  This prize pack includes a purple, black &  pink band.  What more could a girl possibly need?  Oh and they are adjustable so you can share them with the little divas at home too!

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9)  Mission Athletecare prize pack – $17 value.  I am including two of my favorite Mission Athletecare products.  They are my go to for sunscreen, anti-chafe, lip balm, muscle care & foot cream.  I really like this stuff.  CVS carries some products and then I get the rest online.  This prize pack includes an Anti-Chafe stick & a 50 SPF Kids Continuous Play Sunscreen.  I use the kid sunscreen all the time so this is what I had in the cabinet and this is what’s in my purse right now.

mission athletecare_2

10)  Road Runners Sports 2 Bottle Belt (size medium) – $29.99 value.  This is my favorite water belt.  It doesn’t move.  It holds 14 oz of water at one time, plus has  small pouch for keys, phone, or gels.  Fuel Belt branded bottles. Road Runner Sports designed belt. 

road runner sports_water belt

11)  Team Tough Chik visor – $18 value but you can’t get it unless your ON THE TEAM and I probably won’t let you win it unless you are on the team or promise to sign up next year!!  This is a Headsweats brand visor with a velcro adjustment strap.

team tough chik_visor

12)  Flip Belt – Black (size large) – $24.99 value.  It’s been soooo hard for me to save this and not use it.  I have a yellow and pink one that I wear constantly.  I run in them, race in them and sometimes wear one if I’m out with the kids and don’t have pockets.  Great belt that fits a ton of stuff but doesn’t bounce or move around. 

flipbelt_black

13)  CytoSport prize pack – Muscle Milk Light (Cytosport product) is a headlining sponsor of the Zooma Women’s Series.  I have a prize pack from our sponsor which includes several of their Muscle Milk & CytoMax products.  Prize pack includes:  2 Muscle Milk snack bars, 1 Muscle Milk Light (chocolate) ready to drink, 1 Muscle Milk Light (peach) ready to drink, 1 CytoMax ready to drink, 5 CytoMax mix packages, 2 packages of CytoMax Energy Drops & 1 CytoMax water bottle. 

muscle milk prize pack

14)  Tough Chik Boston Tough Boston Strong performance wicking tee by Alo (x2 – both size medium) – $22 value each.  Get one of these tees while they are HOT!  They sold out immediately on the first printing.  They run small so these mediums fit like a small.  Two winners here.  Each winner will get a tee & a Tough Chik sticker!

Tough Chik_Boston Strong

15)  Lock Laces – $7.99 value.  Yellow lock laces.  Great for running, triathlon or little ones who can’t keep their shoes tied!

lock laces_yello

16)  BioFreeze prize pack – $31.50 value.  Number one topical pain reliever for athletes!!  This prize pack includes a full size pain relieving gel and a full size can of 360 spray

biofreeze

17)  Handana – $18 value.  The Handana is all the rage!  Used by runners, cyclists and fitness enthusiasts everywhere, this is your answer to gracefully wiping away snot & sweat during a workout.  It may seem a little “out there” but it’s a practical solution to a problem that we all share.  Second photo from the Amazon website.

handana  handana2

18)  Team Tough Chik sponsor prize pack (x3 – three winners).  One of the benefits of being on Team Tough Chik is the backing of our amazing group of sponsors.  We aren’t just paying for cool clothes & access to an amazing network of women but also cool prizes and discounts from our sponsors.  A few of our sponsors are in this prize pack below:  Nuun – 1 full size tube of fruit punch nuun & 1 nuun water bottle, Cliff Bars – 1 Cliff Bar & 1 Cliff Builder bar, BodyGlide – 1 “For Her” product, Reflect Sports H2O swim shampoo sample & a John Wayne Cancer Foundation 30 spf sunscreen sample.

team tough chik_sponsor pack  team tough chik_sponsor pack2

19)  ibungee Speed Laces – $6 value (x2 – two winners).  Neon Green & Yellow.  The ibungee speed lace system claims to be the #1 seller for speed laces.  They are great for running, triathlon & the little ones in your family.  Installation is easy, just make sure you get them long enough!  There are 38” laces so long enough to cut to your specific needs.  Two winners here.

ibungee 

20)  Adidas Sport Headbands – 5 headbands (black, pink & white) – $9.99 value.   I haven’t tried these yet, a friend gave them on to me because she knew that I liked headbands but since I was collecting for this, I just tossed them in the pot.  They look cute!!

adidas headbands

21)  GU prize pack –  14 GU gels, $24 value.  GU is undeniably the most popular “on the go” fueling option.  We have 11 regular gels:  2 TRI Berry, 3 Strawberry Banana, 1 Mandarin Orange, 2 Espresso Love, & 3 Peanut Butter.   Then the prize pack is topped off with 3 of the coveted Roctane Gels in the Chocolate Raspberry flavor.  You’re workout will definitely get a boost with these!

Gu prize pack

Wow!  That’s it!  If we don’t get any other prizes, then I will draw 26 winners next week on Thursday, June 13th at 9am via a random number generator.  This is one instance where you can win more than one prize.  Please share this with your friends, blog readers, run club members & anyone who might be interested.  The idea behind this is to do the best we can for Ronald McDonald House Charities and in the process help as many families as possible.  My personal goal is to raise $5,000 thru this raffle and then not talk about it again.  Please help spread the word!  Each $10 donation (increment) to my fundraising page = 1 entry into the raffle.  No donation is too small, now go help me spread the word and GOOD LUCK

** Raising $$  For the Kids ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com

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 ** 

Venus de Miles 2012 – No Redemption

VenusdeMilesIf you hear ladies talk about Venus de Miles, you will most likely hear tales of laughing, bonding, sipping cocktails, facials & mani/pedi’s way before you realize that those ladies rode 25 or 61 miles before hauling themselves into the after party where the fun was waiting.

My story is a little different because I’m lucky like that I had mechanical issues but I’ll get to that soon enough.  The day started off a little rocky with a 3:45 am wake up call.  The ride was in Lake Forest, IL which was approximately 1.5 hours from my house in absolutely perfect traffic.  Traffic was not perfect.  I allotted more than enough time but shit happens there was a really bad accident in Chicago and I was in gridlocked traffic which moved approximately 1 mile in 45 minutes.  I made it to the ride “in time” but was very rushed. 

As soon as I got to the ride site, I saw a few Chicago Running Bloggers assembling for a photo so strolled over at the last minute to meet them on the fly.  Lauren, Erin, Kelly, MacKenna & Me:

Venus 2012_Lauren Erin Kelly MacKenna MeI stole the photo from Kelly who was much more organized & “ready” than myself.  Please flip over to her blog to read her Venus recap HERE.  Kelly also made those adorable tutus for herself, MacKenna & Jenny G (not pictured).  They were a huge hit and the ladies also sported white feathered angel wings on their back!  So, awesome!

Once we hit the start line for the 61 mile ride, things slowed down a bit.  We were all a bit anxious but had to sit thru a few speeches and introductions.  Cool idea but we were ready to ride.  Kelly’s start line photo with me in the “this is what tough looks like”  Team Tough Chik jersey.

Venus 2012_Start LIne

The ride started about 7:05 am but things didn’t speed up much as we had a police escort to pull us out of town.  The escort was nice but slow, averaging between 11 and 14 mph.   The pack was thick and the ladies were getting antsy.  One lady even rode up and asked the officer to speed up.  That didn’t go over well and I certainly would not recommend anyone trying it.  Ever.  Don’t bother the police escort.  They are their to help you and keep you safe.   

Once the escort delivered us to a local bike path, we were on our own and off with the wind.  The course was well marked and the front group was averaging around 20mph.  The speed was hit and miss though because the course was unpredictable in spots.  We had lots of turns, were on/off road, sidewalks, paved bike paths, crushed gravel trails, neighborhood streets, rural roads and busy thoroughfares.  The surfaces were inordinately good for the most part but everyone had to pay attention as the course would turn in a moments notice.  A few times, we would have to double back to make a turn.  Some ladies got lost.   I did notice 2 spots where signs were either forgotten or possibly removed before we arrived but that was not the norm.

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The rest areas were very frequent, initially I thought too frequent but apparently it worked out in my favor.   Rest areas were located at approximately mile 15, 31, 42, & 51.  Each location was fully stocked with water, ice, electrolyte drink that actually tasted good, Luna bars, peanut butter, cookies, brownies, pretzels, fresh fruit, and much, much more.  If fueling or hydration was an issue for anyone, then it was there own issue because I was out on that course so long I could have ridden a century for almost 7 hours and I was never once hungry or thirsty.

Overall it was a great ride which was put together very well.  I’d recommend it to anyone.  I wish it were closer to my house but the northern suburbs are much more cyclist friendly so I absolutely understand the venue choice.

Ride Report End ** My Journey Begins

As for my personal ride, it wasn’t ideal.  I seem to have a black cloud which is following me as of late.  When I get on my bike, the black cloud seems to get very active and the thunder and the lightening come fast.  At this point, I had thought almost everything on the bike had been replaced within the last 2 months but I was wrong.  The ride was awesome for the first 30 miles.  I was pounding the miles, hanging on the back of the lead group, really enjoying myself.  We were just starting to get into a few rollers and the fatigue in the legs was starting to surface.  I don’t climb well, so the group would pull away on the uphill and I would catch back up on the down.  It was good and I was having fun!  Then I hit something on an uphill around mile 30 and heard a “whoooosh” of air leave my back tire.  Flat.  I stopped, had the tools & supplies to fix the tire but was positive I couldn’t personally make it happen.  A cyclist, Cathy, stopped to help within a few minutes.  Thanks, Cathy!  Then Adam, an on course bike support rider stopped and let Cathy go on.   At that point, Cathy had almost everything done but my CO2 cartridge was giving us fits and we couldn’t get air into the tire.  So Adam worked on it, couldn’t get it, then used his own CO2, and he slowly filled the tube.  It looked good, I started putting everything back on the bike, I rolled it forward to get on and it immediately popped again.  He changed it for the second time with his own supplies because I only carry one spare, and he noticed a puncture in the tire.  Thankfully the rest area was only 1 mile away and he rode with me to deliver me to the rest area bike support tent where they had more supplies.  Greg, Trek Downers Grove, replaced my punctured tire & tube 2 more times before finally sending me on my way.  Between the roadside assistance & the tent support, I was out of the ride for a minimum of 90 minutes.

Venus 2012_Greg When I got back on course, it was not a smooth ride.  Greg told me that it was going to be bumpy but I should be able to limp it to the next bike support tent.  If I understand it correctly, my new tire needed to stretch out and it wasn’t properly seated.  Every time the tire went around it was like I hit a bump.  So I was just bumping my way along and the course sweepers, or the caboose as they called themselves, came up on me.  I was the last person on the course at mile 31.  Awesome.  So I joined the caboose and we powered thru to the next rest area and rolled directly over to Torsten, the rest stop #3 Trek specialist.

Venus 2012_Torsten & MikeTorsten, with Mike “The Sweeper”, pulled a MacGyver and used electrical tape to cover my damaged rim wheel tape to allow the tube to sit in its proper spot and then the tire somehow slipped into position.  I can’t even pretend to understand but I was told a billion times to make sure I took my bike into the shop to get this fixed properly.  He also told me that “X” bearings were shot and needed to be replaced but by then my brain was mush and I have no idea what else is wrong.  Good news, this short 15-20 minute repair got me thru the remainder of the ride.

Me at the last rest area with Mike & Elizabeth, the course sweepers.  I rode with them for a solid 20 miles and then said my thanks and departed without them as they needed to wait on a few ladies we had passed.

Venus 2012_me mike elizabethMile 51 – I’m no longer bringing up the “very” end but I was really ready to be done with the ride.  I powered thru the last 10 miles with one gear.  A hard gear.  There were rolling hills.  I passed where it was safe and continued to move up but the party was all but over by the time I got in and well, I was just grateful to be within walking distance of my car finished.  I could have partaken in the festivities but it was time to go home to the family, so I drank my two freebie beers, ate a little lunch, which was awesome & hit the road.

I have so many thanks to give:  1)  My F’N Runners, Jenny G, Lisa M, & Lynn S who waited on me to finish, even though they rode the 25 mile ride and were probably finished way before I even had problems.  I knew I could count on them to pick me up if I necessary and really appreciated them hanging around when I know they just wanted to go home.  Lynn, Lisa & Jenny (photo source – Jenny G) below: 

Venus 2012_Lynn Lisa Jenny

2)  The Chicago Running Bloggers, Lauren, Erin, Kelly, & MacKenna who were so kind and encouraging both during and after the ride.  3) The numerous people who participated in my bike support and ultimately helped me finish the ride:  Cathy, Adam, Greg, Torsten, Mike & Elizabeth.  Thank you all for everything you did!  It’s beyond obvious that I couldn’t have finished without you!

I’m just glad this was a ride, not a race.  It was well supported and well, if a girl were to have major problems, this was the ride for them to happen.  Have you ever had major issues on a ride that required assistance?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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