Last blog post of the 2015 ride season!
The ride went much differently than I expected it to. I didn’t go into it as prepared as I would have because of my back injury. I went into the ride with an attitude that it would be great to do the whole ride, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t.
And I didn’t.
I “only” did 100 miles (I know…in what world is 100 miles “only?”). I took ibuprofen for my back on an empty stomach, which ended up making me super nauseous, so I rode the SAG wagon for about 10 miles after lunch. I also took the SAG wagon near the end of the ride – hills were too rough on my back. Two days after the ride, where even sitting at my desk is painful, I think I made the right decision.
The ride itself was quite interesting. The first 15 miles I stayed with a pack that was a bit too fast for me. By the first pit stop, I decided I would have burned out by the end of the ride, so I slowed down. In my leaving that pack (and what I thought would be the beginning of me riding the rest of the way alone), I found a wonderful riding buddy. If you know me, or have read some of my posts before, you know that for me, cycling is a very social sport (it’s counterintuitive, I know). During my metric century, there’s no way I could have gotten through the ride without the group of 3 that I picked up with. I think the two most difficult rides of my training were my solitary 40 mile rides.
Riding with my new riding buddy, Andi, was wonderful. She gave me some fantastic advice on how to get up hills without burning myself out like I had done previously, and how to stop sprinting (I’m really bad at pacing myself…). As negative as I was on the hills, her calm and optimistic presence outweighed it and really helped me recognize that I could make it through the hills that I didn’t think I could.
The support on the ride was amazing to see – The Moving Violations MC (AKA Dykes on Bikes) were an absolutely amazing support crew – from blocking traffic to keep us safe at intersections, to leading us into ptown at the end of the ride, they were there for us every step of the way. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were also there to support us – I had a lovely ride in the SAG wagon with two of them. I looked forward to seeing them speed by us in between the pit stops in a Mini Cooper convertible with a rainbow flag flying behind them, shouting encouragement at us through a megaphone.
In addition to the two groups, the crew were also absolutely amazing. The Pit Stops were fully stocked with food, encouragement, and lots of support.
The gravity of what we were doing didn’t hit me until I was talking to one of the Crew members at a Pit Stop. I realized that the money that H2B has raised over the past 13 years has helped make incredible strides in HIV/AIDS research and treatment. That there are people alive today thriving with HIV who never thought they would make it to this day, and that H2B has a lot to do with that. Seeing the different people who came out to ride for a variety of reasons was so incredibly inspiring to me. I am too young to have felt the full effect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but through riding with others and listening to the stories of those who went through it, I started to grasp the importance of this ride.
The parade into Ptown (complete with a police escort!) was incredibly touching as well. To see the support from the queer community in Ptown was amazing.
So – am I going to ride next year? After the pain, misery, and lost Saturdays of my summer? Yes. I am. Something someone said to me along the ride stuck with me: they said, “I will ride for as long as I can for those who can’t.” I thought that was particularly inspiring, and good words to live by (if only when I’m living in Boston!)
Until next year,