Wow! I can’t say that enough. This past weekend the SnR Youth Cyclists completed their first 50 mile ride of the season from Chapel Hill to Asheboro, NC. This also happened to be the first 50 miler for our new recruits this year. They all performed marvelously! Again, I can’t say that enough.
The day started off in typical fashion for SnR. The veteran cyclists know this to be a ritual: schedule a start time and blow past that time by 2-3 hours when checking bikes and gathering loose items and waiting for all the cyclists to arrive! Normally, it’s not that bad but for this special trip, where the cyclists will be mimicking a day in the life of an adventure cyclists, we were overly committing of our time then we decided to wait for Bob who had a previous appointment. With that done we headed out at Noon a whole FOUR hours beyond our start time and started out on our 5.5 hour journey (at least that’s what Google Maps predicted the trip would take).
It began with our normal route to Maple View Farm Ice Cream store on Dairyland. Then we headed east on Dodsons Crossing. Everything looked familiar because we used this route for our 30milers. We started to get into uncharted territory when we hit Staley, NC. When we stopped for breaks we realized how warm it was. The day’s ride was a beautiful 70 degrees and the breeze kept us cool along the way. As the day wore on the length of time we were cycling started to weigh heavily on Kate, one of our new youth cyclists. She’s physically fit but cycling uses a different set of muscles and those muscles were getting tired.
Houston, Rich and I continued to stay with her and traded turns in offering encouragement while the other group continued on their pace and soon were out of sight.
Suepinda and I are especially proud of Houston as he’s one of, if not, the strongest cyclist of the group and he stuck with Kate the whole way.
I don’t know how it happened but it did (Rich agrees he doesn’t know how it happened). I saw on the route sheet where it said left and we went right. So, 40 minutes later when we saw the same highway that we had already passed I knew we had gone into a humongous circle! We obtained directions from a nearby pedestrian who gave us good directions (hindsight being 20/20) but also vague directions. Seeing a passing police car I waved it down for directions and the officer was kind enough to pull into a church parking lot to review a map. When I walked up to it he was not longer in the car. Turns out when he pulled up there was a person behind the church that took off running so he gave chase.
When he returned he instructed me to bear right at NC 22 then bear right again and maybe another bear right at NC 22 then on to Cedar Falls Rd. He mentioned a factory that we’d be passing and so on. As it were, there were three bear rights and there was a factory (we saw the burned out factory) but it was not to the one he was speaking of. So, at the top of a hill we called in our lifeline and rode back down the hill to our agreed upon meeting place. We were done for the night. But, not exactly. Turns out that the tents we rented were in the OTHER CAR!
You could say we had our lessons for the day: Start early and make sure you have all of your equipment. LoL.
The next day the youth cyclists awoke in good spirits had breakfast and were on the road by 8:00am making the journey back. This time around I was driving the support vehicle, preparing lunches and water and Suepinda was cycling HER first 50 miles. Kate rode the first 23 miles then joined me in the van for encouragement and questions and answers. I let her know that she needn’t worry and eventually her “will” will overcome her muscles and do what they’re told during this tour. And that muscle memory will win out and all this will be easy for her. That’s exactly how it was for me.
The ride back took about 7 hours but it was relaxed and full of breaks. All of the youth cyclists were happy when they finished and were looking forward to the next training ride.
All of you fellow cyclists if you could remember when you first started cycling serious distances and what got you through it please offer words of encouragement to new cyclists Kate, Khin, Sammy, Damaris and the other veteran cyclists. Not that she’s discouraged but everyone can use words of wisdom every now and then.