Friday, November 7, 2014

Bike The Coast 50-Miler Recap

This past weekend I rode in the Bike The Coast 50 Mile Bike Ride. (They were VERY CLEAR to inform us this was NOT a race, but "just a ride". I think there were multiple reasons for this. First, they didn't have to worry about timing the participants. Next, they didn't need to close the course {which I have to say was rather nerve-racking, but more on this later}. Also, they were able to get away with much fewer volunteers.)

If you saw any of my posts on here or on Instagram before the event, you probably could tell I was nervous. I had never rode more than 25 miles at once before this ride and was slightly worried how my body would take doing twice the distance (on a beach cruiser).

I had some friends (and even a couple people at the event) ask me why I signed up for the 50-miler. Currently I have one day a week in my schedule that I focus on cross training. Normally that day turns into a bike ride (every once in a while I will do a pool workout instead). I usually end up getting in around 20 miles on my bike in 2 hours. I figured that the 25 mile course would be TOTALLY DOABLE, so I wanted to bump it up to the 50 mile ride for the challenge.

My bike number and me at the starting line the day before the ride.

I figured if I wasn't going to be the fastest out there, at least I would have the most fun! That started with my outfit. Unfortunately they were predicting rain (yup... although California desperately needs it because of the drought I was secretly not so secretly praying it would hold off until after the ride) so I had to bundle up a little more than normal - but you know I still needed my sparkle!

Definitely my first FlatCarlee with a HELMET!

And the fun continued to my bike decorations :) I made streamers for my handle bars (I had some ribbon in the closet, so I cut a bunch of strands and then hooked a hair tie around a pack of them and my handlebar). I also ordered bike spoke beads on Amazon and covered my wheels with them (the bummer thing was you could only hear them when I was stopping or starting... other than that I was going too fast {HA} and they were "stuck" at the outside of the tire).

The ride started (and finished) at the Oceanside Pier. Lucky for us, this is less than 5 minutes from our house, so it was an easy morning to get down there. The waves for the 50 mile ride started at 7:30am, so we left the house about 6:45am, parked at one of the free lots, and walked down to the starting area. The 100 mile riders were already starting by the time we got down there, so it was nice to be able to cheer some of them on.

Not sure why the 100 mile ride got left off the sign?

I had Ryan take a couple pictures of me (Since the ride was going to be from Oceanside to San Diego and back, I told him he could do his thing until I was getting close to finishing. And by "doing his thing" he was helping a friend replace our toilet that exploded earlier in the week...). I got quite a few strange looks, but hey, I was going to have a blast! I even had a guy stop and ask me all about my get-up. He said he was putting together a big ride in Miami in a couple months and wanted to bring more "fun" elements into the event (as he started playing with the streamers on my handle bars) but said most bikers are "too serious" for that sort of thing.

Me and my bike at the pier before the race

My beach cruiser is ready to CRUISE!

After all of the 100 mile riders were off, they told the 50-milers to start lining up. Since it wasn't a race, they needed to break us up into smaller packs so it wouldn't effect the flow of traffic and have huge hoards of bikers taking over the roads. I OBVIOUSLY didn't want to get in the way of any of the serious riders, so I think ended up back in the 3rd wave. A couple folks asked me if I was really planning on doing the 50 mile ride (they probably thought I was in the wrong spot), to which I said "Of course" and rang my bell ;)

My only goals of the ride: SMILE, HAVE FUN, and hopefully finish :) [Ryan did let me know that if I couldn't make it back that he would come pick me up - so at least I had a back up plan if I needed it.]


Let's do this!

Thumbs up! 

Mile .25 into the ride I am still smiling :)

I wish the scenery was better, HA! 

Here I come again!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention about the weather. It had rained (pretty hard) the night before. Along with the rain came winds and cooler temperatures. Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time the sun came up, but the remnants of the storm (big puddles, colder weather, residual winds, down sticks and palm fronds in the road, etc) were still very evident.

We started in Oceanside, went through Carlsbad, up to Encinitas, through Solana Beach, down to Del Mar, and made our way to Sorrento Valley before turning around. I was cruisin' right along. Sure, the only folks that I passed were those who had to stop to change a flat tire, but that didn't matter... I WAS DOING IT!

A picture of a portion of the course through Carlsbad

Tried to not let all of the riders out of my sights so I wouldn't get lost ;)

Ryan even surprised me by driving towards Carlsbad to cheer me on again. Oh how I love my pit crew hubby :)

I had no idea Ryan would be here!

The streamers are blown' in the wind!

This shot shows how the palm fronds were taking over the roads due to the storm.

I got a few rude comments along the way... Someone telling me that they didn't have any more candy because they gave it all out the night before (as though I was wearing my Halloween costume) and then someone else telling me I looked like I should be doing Zumba at the traffic lights. But other than those two folks, it seemed as though most of the riders were embracing my sparkle. I got tons of "Love the streamers", "Nice outfit", "Oh my gosh, I forgot all about spoke beads", "Are you really doing this on your beach cruiser?!", "Does that bike even have gears?", and lots of "Way to go"s. There was a man out picking up palm fronds from the bike lane, so I stopped and thanked him for helping us out. He returned a "Well, thank you for being cute as Dickens". ;)

Since the course was "open", it meant we needed to obey all of the traffic laws. This meant stopping at all stop signs (there were actually motorcycle police officers out writing tickets for the road bikers that weren't unclipping from their peddles at stop signs), waiting at all of the traffic lights, and in Encinitas you cannot ride next to another biker (have to ride in a single file line). Obviously I am all for safety and obeying the law, but I guess I wasn't really expecting it. There was a lot of stopping and starting, a lot of "wasted" time at red lights, and a few "traffic jams".

The 100 mile course was actually 2 loops of the 50 mile course. They had two rest areas along the loop - one around the 13 mile mark (which you would then hit again on the way back around the 37 mile mark) and one around the 26 mile mark. I ended up only stopping once at the rest area which was half way through the loop. I wanted to text Ryan to let him know where I was and also grab a ClifBar for some calories. The rest was probably about 5 minutes or so, but I kept my watch going the whole time (I figured with all of the stop signs, street lights, etc that I didn't stop my watch at, I might as well just keep it tallying my full time on the course). I didn't want to stop for too long or get off my bike because I was worried I wouldn't want to get back on it ;) Oh yeah, I also had to hop off of my bike around mile 17 because for some reason my water bottle jumped out of the holder. I ended up riding over it, but didn't want any else to do the same, so had to get off and grab it.

Thankfully my body felt great for the entire ride. I was worried my booty would hurt from sitting on my seat for such a long time, but it wasn't too bad. Also, when I ride during the week my right shoulder tends to get tight (not sure if it is because that is the hand I use to change gears or the arm I use to get my water or what) - but it didn't seem to give me any problems!

Around mile 15 I ended up meeting a super nice kid named Ira. He was 22, born in the Philippines but living in LA, down to ride with his uncle, and stuck it out with me for the rest of the ride. He actually was a competitive biker, so I know it was probably a struggle to slow down so much, but it was so great to have someone to chat with for 3+ hours and take my mind off of the riding. And if I am being completely honest, I think he probably made me ride a bit faster than I would have if I was on my own (I didn't want to hold him back too much, so I tried to keep my pace up as fast as I comfortably could go).

Before I knew it, we were back in Oceanside and heading down the Strand towards the finish. Okay, okay, the ride in total took a little over four and a half hours and I ended up covering almost 52 miles, but I guess I mean I wasn't wishing it was over or counting down the miles the whole ride (well, I was NOT excited about the hills throughout the course, but what can you do when you are covering 50+ miles?!).

My friend Ira and I coming down towards the finish line!

Once everyone started they switched the sign to a FINISH one ;)


Not sure why this one focused on the tent behind me, but I still love it! 

Finish line shot!

Not a bad time for a 7-speed beach cruiser and
NEVER having done that distance before!

Afterwards they gave us some for vouchers we could use in the little Taste The Coast event going on in the bandstand. I used my $5 for a cheese pizza and it was delish! We didn't hang out too long because we needed to get back to the house and work on our Adventure Mobile (that is for another post), but did have a great time.

A view of the bandstand area from the pier on our way out

It was a beautiful course (even though we got rained on a bit, we got to see a BEAUTIFUL rainbow... too bad I didn't have my phone out for a picture) and I was doing something I never thought I could be able to do! I walked rode away a very proud woman with some new bling for my wall and an accomplishment no one will be able to take away from me.


Have you ever done a bike race? Or what about a organized bike "ride"?


Sally @ Sweat Out The Small Stuff said...

AWE-SOME! I love that you took your cruiser out for this big feat! Reminds me of my first triathlon this past summer. I used my cruiser for the bike part and i "swam" which was basically the doggie paddle in the ocean for the first time in my life. I was so scared but exhilarated at the same time....and even though I only passed one person on the bike (same deal, they were fixing a flat) I finished strong with the run and felt so accomplished. I think I need some streamers...

KookyRunner said...

Congratulations! It's so awesome that you you pushed yourself and picked the 50 mile bike ride. I always think it's good when we can get out of our comfort zone. Love the bike decorations also!

And a big thumbs down to the two people that were rude to you. I will never understand why people feel the need to be nasty - such wasted energy that could be used smiling or paying a compliment.

Bari said...

Beautiful scenery!!! totes jelly :) I've done 2 bike races if you count triathlon - I'd never do just a bike race because I pretty much suck even though I have a nice road bike.

I've done a few organized rides. There's one here that goes from one brewery to another and then we rode back too - it was about 30 miles round trip.

Meridith said...

Wow, this looks incredible. I don't even have a bike that I think could go 50 miles but I'm inspired by you and your journey. Very cool stuff, Carlee! Thanks for sharing!