Getting dropped, an Olympian “Hi!,” a little bit of wind, and cramping legs.

Well, that about sums it up, right? 😀 Not really sure what else I really need to say…
Just kidding, I’ll write a real blog entry

After a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday filled with lots of food and family, Matt and I had a relaxing Black Friday that didn’t involve fighting over TVs or other craziness American-ness that accompanies this day.  We grocery shopped at Walmart, and I picked up a new, little Nikon point and shoot camera for $69.  Then we kicked it at our favorite local bike store, the Bicycle Station, where my beloved bike-guru Wendy took a look at my road bike’s fit, since I was having elbow pain the weekend before.

Well, wouldn’t you know, I oddly enough already have 40cm bars on my road bike (it should’ve come with 42…), which is what I was recommended to buy during my BG FIT in October – good thing I didn’t go ahead and buy 40 bars!  Wendy ordered me up some 38cm bars (and I was a good girl and went with alloy instead of dropping the $$$ on carbon 😛 ), and now I am awaiting those to come in so we can see if that fixes the issue of me being uncomfortable riding on the hoods.

Not letting achy elbows deter me, Matt and I set out on a Fort Follies group ride on Saturday morning around Carter Lake south of Loveland, estimated to be 50-60miles.  Doesn’t sound bad, right?  Oh, did I mention the 4,400+ feet of climbing it involved, or the stupidly hard winds in Loveland, or the fact I was riding with people with about 5x the fitness that I have and 10x the years of experience?

Yeah…

Well look at that, this mountain biker is actually standing up to pedal up a hill! +1 roadie points for me! BTW, I’m in the purple. If the pink bike didn’t give it away 😉 (Photo by Matt Galantuomini)

I just always feel bad and discouraged when riding with strangers, and strangers that are faster than me.  I didn’t want to hold everyone up, but it reached a point that my body just couldn’t push any faster.  But hey, I did a good job at hanging in there the first 30 or so miles!  Then we turned and headed west towards Carter Lake and I was greeted with the wind.  Winds so bad that certain gusts actually stopped me dead, mind you.  4mph was a struggle to maintain.  Even Matt dropped me.  Poor pitiful me was riding all by my lonesome, half crying, half pissed off, and holding onto my 19 pound carbon road bike for dear life in the wind gusts.  All the usual thoughts started to occur:  “Why exactly did I pick this as a fun thing to do?”  “I hate this, screw this, I’m going back to being a bum on the couch.”  “I hate everyone else and their monster legs that go forever, screw them.”  “WTF is Carter Lake and why am I here?”  “what’s for dinner?”  “Maybe I can hitch hike back to Fort Collins…”  “What would Georgia Gould do?  Oh, she’d probably just laugh at me…”

One of the guys riding with us came back and rode with me, leading so I could draft off of him.  I love him dearly for this act of kindness towards a noob with no little engines that could!  I felt bad because I didn’t get the chance to thank him for doing this.  (Thank you guy in the red jersey, whoever you are!).  No worries, the group quickly dropped me again on the climb up the Carter Lake dams, except this time Matt stayed closed.  On the torturous climb up I started crying.  Seriously, why do I pick something to do that makes me cry?!  Then I realized that I couldn’t really stop, as I wasn’t about to really hitch hike back, and all of this torture just proves to myself that something torturous is actually fun and does help with the whole mountain biking thing.  So after a couple of F bombs and tears on the dam when I swore the wind was going to blow me either into the water or off the side of the mountain (I have a fear of water and heights… oh goody), I buckled down and went as hard as I thought I could with this much riding behind me.

We had a fast, fun descent that put a smile on my face (and 4th out of 80 women on a Strava segment, haha!).  Then another long boring flat-ish climb.  I didn’t even try to stick with anyone anymore.  It was just Matt and I, with me hoping someone would wait up so we’d know how to get back to Fort Collins as getting lost was not something I wanted at the moment.  My entire right leg from butt cheek to ankle had started to cramp, regardless of the Hammer Fizz I was consuming in my water, gels, and electrolyte Clif Shot drink mix.  My right knee screamed in protest every pedal stroke.  Now my only thoughts were about my glorious Nissan Sentra waiting for me back in the parking lot, and how great those econobox’s seats would feel on my tush during the ride back to Cheyenne.

Glorious thing to behold, Whitney and Lila had waited up for Matt and I.  We started up the CR38E climb, with Whitney and Matt out front, and me trudging behind like 20 feet.  This honestly is not a climb that should be bad, but with 50 miles already in me (mind you, I usually only ride 20-30miles normally, this was the second time ever going over 40 miles…) I was in pain.  Deep, deep, deep inside the pain cave.  And then…

Georgia Gould pedaled happily by, saying a cheerful “Hi!!!” as she passed me.

OH MY GOD!!!

I seriously can’t even expressed my excitement over this.  I honestly thought it was Lila that had caught up to me.  It wasn’t until I saw the Luna kit and Georgia’s hair (I know, creepy I recognized her by her hair… I swear I am NOT that creepy, just observant!!) that it clicked.  I frantically started quietly yelling “Matt, Matt, MAAATTTT!!!” and started pedaling like an idiot on crack to catch up to Matt, who turned around with huge eyes and a shocked expression.  Whitney nonchalantly goes “Do you guys know who she is?” and both Matt and I giggled like obsessed school girls “Georgia Gould!!”  As fast as she appeared, she disappeared up the road.  And my day, week, month, possibly 2012 was made.  I giggled like a retard, giddy with what just happened.

Seriously, Georgia Gould is totally my biking idol.  And the fact she lives practically in my back yard (southern Wyoming, northern Colorado, eh… close enough) is freaking awesome, and it’s even more awesome she’s always out riding and is awesome and friendly enough to say Hi to those she passes.  I really don’t think anyone could grasp how awesome that Hi was to me, at that moment where all I wanted to do was flop over and die.  I grew up idolizing the Olympian gymnasts of that era (and the era of decades before such as Olga Korbut) – Shannon Miller, Kim Zmeskal, and so on, but I’ve never seen any of them in person.  I never had the chance for them to just cartwheel on by me.  So to see my current role model/idol in the wild just amazes me.

The rest of the ride back into Fort Collins was still torturous, but just a little bit better to endure!

Summary for the ride, courtesy of Strava

Looking at that, who in their right mind rides from Fort Collins to practically Berthoud?  Oh wait… me.  In my BFF Kim’s words, “you cray cray” and she’s right! It was a quite alright ride, though, besides me feeling crappy for holding everyone up.  But I guess the only way I am going to get faster is to ride a lot, right?

We enjoyed an extremely beautiful sunset on the drive back to Cheyenne. Perfect ending to a spectacular day!

I’m now just 22.7 miles away from my 1,000 goal for 2012.  We were going to ride in Cheyenne on Sunday, but my knee was done for.  Even just “air pedaling” caused excruciating pain.  So we just relaxed and bummed around, and then I headed up for my work week.  It’s now Wednesday, and the knee feels fine again.  I seriously don’t know what is up with it.  I think it goes beyond bike fit issues now.  (For the record, randomly, my tush didn’t ache at all on this 63 mile ride… woot!)  We’re been blessed with some unusually warm weather so far this fall/winter, so I’m planning on riding more this weekend and breaking the 1,000 mile mark and beyond.  Thinking a weekend ride with the Fort Follies, maybe some more with Matt, and weather cooperating, maybe breaking out the mountain bike at Gowdy.

On a final note… I decided to be silly on Strava, and ended up with good results!

!!!!!!!

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