Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Post Prouty Post

Today was my first ride following the Prouty which was last Saturday, July 11. As I am in Watertown for a few days, I took advantage of the flats - what a relief after the hills of NH and VT - and rode out to the Minuteman Trail, following it all the way to Bedford (gateway to Billerica, I am told) and back. Seriously, I was so happy not to have to ride up any hills. It was like rowing with a tailwind in both directions! Although I look a little worse for wear, or sweat, finally a photo without a helmet and shades, haha.

Back to the Prouty. If it weren't for Saiya joining me for the ride, those 100 miles would have kicked my behind. Either that, or it would have taken me at least half as long again to complete. As much as supporting the Norris Cotton Cancer Center was a goal, learning the ropes of a long, well-paced ride and managing the rest stops was "operation critical" for me for the upcoming Pan-Mass Challenge. I learned a lot and am now much more confident heading into the 192-miler.

SAG stop #2, our first - pretty fresh.
Panorama of SAG #2 - water refill, portalet, and some food.

I have to say, the ride itself was fairly uneventful, which turned out to be a very good thing. Lessons learned - put ice in your water bottle when you refill it, temperatures climbed from the low 50s (note to self - buy arm warmers) up to the low 80s (ice!), and keeping cool is/was very important. Eat at the stops - watermelon is cold and wet (good), pbj squares (or nutella-banana squares even more tasty for some fats and protein), and potato chips (salt, mmmmm). All the stops were the same in terms of the food, yet we still eyed everything as if we were standing in front of a full refrigerator trying to decide what to select as though something new would suddenly appear or we had missed something. Regardless, it all tasted good which goes to show that when you're hungry, even a mini cliff bar tastes pretty good.

Saiya changing her flat tire.
The 100 mile route took us from Hanover, north to Thetford and Orford, then swung east in Haverhill to Wentworth before working our way back to the Connecticut River in Woodsville, NH. From there, we crossed over into Wells River, VT, and proceeded south till we recrossed over at Lyme, NH, and back to Hanover. Not too far along into VT, Saiya finally slowed down - she actually came to a stop - a flat tire, bummer. This also drove home the importance of being prepared. We had spare tubes and CO2 so we were fine, but no pump (mine was sitting with an extra shirt I had planned to bring and didn't). I did have cash and my phone, and Saiya thought to bring an ID with her. Smart!

After the ride was over, everyone who had participated gathered under the tents for food and socializing. It was great to catch up with the rowers (the US Women's National Team, Dartmouth College sophomores, and plenty of Upper Vallery folks and a sprinking of CBC-ers) who had done a 20-mile piece earlier in the day, as well as countless walkers (5k and 10k), golfers, and other cyclists (20, 35, 50, 77, and 100 mile options). Although we lost track of time and missed signing up for  massages, we still managed to get back on our bikes for the mile and a half ride back home. And, following much needed and welcome showers, headed out for dinner.  

Now, I am looking forward to only a few more long rides between now and when we head west to spend the night in Sturbridge, MA, for the start of the PMC. I'm riding for a lot of folks this year. Team Muri is in full fundraising mode. Click here if you want to help kick cancer's behind and find a cure. I'll be doing my best out there, too. On to Sturbridge!
Post ride, pre-food.
Still a good time for a photo op!

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