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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
9 months ago, I didn't own a bike. Today I finished my first metric century. It was hard, and amazing, and hilly and wonderful. Well, NOW I can say that it was wonderful, now that I'm sitting at my kitchen table with a bag of frozen green beans on my knee.

The ride began in Liberty Hill, TX. Notice the word hill right in the town name!!





The ride benefited Spirit Reins Ranch.

At the start:


First Rest Stop:


The first rest stop was at mile 12 or so, and at the top of a decently steep hill. Actually, come to think of it, ALL of the rest stops were at the tops of hills. I was feeling really good here.

The second rest stop was at the "decision point" to choose between 44 or 62 miles. I injured my knee last week, and was feeling the pain pretty good by this point, but REALLY wanted to accomplish this metric century. So I took some Aleve and Ibuprofen, and decided 62 miles it was! Off to the left we went.

The first half of the extra loop added in for the 62 mile ride was quite nice. Mostly down hill. Some real bombs, which I love. But every time we decended further, I knew I was going to have to climb back out.

Texas Hill Country:


During this loop, there were several low water crossings, and cattle guards. i'd never ridden over a cattle guard before. The first one we came to, we were alone (we heard a lot of "on your left!" but stuck to the heart rate monitor so we could finish). I wasn't entirely sure bikes could ride over cattle guards. I held my breath, aimed straight at it, and hoped for the best. As it turns out, they aren't a problem!

There was a small creek to pass over. The signage indicated we should get off and walk across. We did. Good thing, because it was quite slimy with algae, and the cops parked there indicated they had some wipeouts there earlier.

Then we climbed back out. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't exactly comfortable either. I was beginning to have major hand numbness issues. We spun out the hills, and continued on. I was very happy to see the rest stop back at the decision point. They were actually running out of water, though! Luckily a SAG wagon showed up with more water just as we were finishing up.

Then, we climbed some more. The miles were clicking by very slowly. The wind was really bad (in my opinion). Hills that I really needed to bomb down to help out our pace were horribly disapointing with the wind. I really needed some coasting time at this point, but there just wasn't any to be found. Downhill, into the wind, we were barely clearing 17 MPH. Uphill was as bad as you probably imagine it to be. But we continued to spin, and move forward.

Then the hill they warned us about came. Mile 52 or so. Steep, and I didn't see it coming. I have a fear of clipping out while going up steep hills. I'm afraid I will fall over if I stop applying max pressure to the pedals. So, I pushed up as hard as I could. My heart rate his 195, and I was breathing as hard as I remember ever breathing. There was a short plateau, just long enough for me to clip out, stop for a minute, and get my heart rate under control.

Looking back over the steep hill:


As I rested a minute, I noticed my saddle was loose, so I tightened it up, and we carried onward. There was a rest stop at the top of this climb, at mile 53.

This rest stop was probably the most important for me. I needed a minute out of the saddle, and I needed some encouragement. These lovely ladies and their brindle bulldog were great. One held my bike for me, even, while I drank some Camelback Elixer. They assured me it was only 6 more miles to the finish. Doing the math, checking my garmin, that didn't add up, but my garmin has skipped out before on me, so I believed them. 6 miles is the distance I commute, one way, to work. I thought, OK, I can do this, just ride home... just like riding home...

ONLY UP ^&(*&% HILL THE WHOLE WAY, lol.

My god the hills.... I was exhausted, my legs were threatening to abandon me and my lofty goal. My husband continued to encourage me, and we got very quiet. We spun out one hill after the next, slowly, but surely.

We then began to see the triathletes doing their brick workout. I knew we were within 3 miles of the finish then. It was a long 3 miles, but the runners were great, encouraging us on. They knew we looked like we were barely hanging on. It really helped having a few words of encouragement to help us finish it up.

And then, we were done!



Most of the cars in the lot were gone, just us, a few other stragglers, and the brick runners.

But WE FINISHED, and we didn't finish last (or so I hear).

We couldn't find the fajitas that were supposed to be awaiting us, but that's OK, I can't usually eat right away after riding long or hard, so I wasn't too disappointed.

We loaded up, and headed home.

I was pretty worse for the wear. Looked like a total newb, complete with multiple chainring tatoos:



BUT WE DID IT!!!!!

9 months ago I couldn't ride around the block. Today I finished a metric century.

(go me!)
 

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Congratulations. Did you ride the new bike?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yup I sure did. Which explains why my left pointer finger is still numb 6 hours later. Have some adjustments to make, but overall the new bike was a dream. In fact it probably saved me. Im sure the 8 pound weight reduction helped a lot!
 

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Nice accomplishment.

Very nice.

Texas Hill Country?

We LIKE riding there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm going to stay off the bike all week this week. I have another charity ride next weekend that I'm doing with a friend of mine who is new to biking. She's a runner, but has a heel problem, and the doc told her cycling would be the best cross training for her. So we're going to do a short 30 mile route.

My knee feels better today than yesterday, for sure. I was worried that I wouldn't even be able to walk on it today.

Last night we went to dinner, and as we sat waiting for our food, all the pain meds I'd taken earlier had worn off. I was in real trouble. I couldn't move my knee at all without shooting pain. My husband scrounged around in the car and found some tylenol. That got me through dinner till I could get home and take some anti-inflamatories and ice it.

My finger, however, is still numb this morning.... that worries me... I've definitely compressed the Median Nerve.
 

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Oh, good- glad your knee is already comming along. I didn`t want to sound discouraging, but I overpedaled mine back at the end of last year and was off the bike for months with knee pain. I sure hate to see somebody else work so hard only to end up doing damage. Now for your fingers...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In addition to the freebie Tshirt, I also got this nifty sunburn to go with it!



My arms look like I dipped my hands in white paint... lol I wonder if my coworkers will notice in the morning. I sure hate that my vacation is over!
 

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Congratulations!
There's nothing I like better than the burnt-out buzz feeling of elation after a long ride.
Hope your knee and finger feel better.
I've had similar experiences with numb fingers and found lowering tire pressure a little helped some.
 

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Congratulations. How did you hurt your knees? In my experience, most of my knee problems have resulted from riding too fast, too soon in cold weather without warming up (or not wearing tights or knee warmers).
 

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Looks like a lot of fun. I was visiting friends in Fredericksburg over the weekend; I had never been to the Texas Hill Country before. Unfortunately, I did not have a bike with me, but we drove through some of the back country. We had to stop for cattle on the road at one point. Did you encounter any livestock on your ride?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I hurt my knee pushing too big a gear on a 50 mile ride last weekend while preparing for this ride.

We saw lots of cows and horses, and a Llama, and heard roosters. We passed by a longhorn ranch with 10 or 12 beautiful Texas Longhorns grazing.

The ride benefitted a horse ranch that uses horses as therapy with children. They had several of the horses out near the starting line.
 

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Awesome job. The nice thing about a metric that's difficult like that is it makes the other rides easy!
 

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Congratulations! There is nothing like that sense of accomplishment. I love the hill country, I worked in Austin for 2 years although I live in Denver and I grew very fond of that area. Now, aim higher you know you can!
 
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