My brother and his wife convinced me to join them for the Cool Breeze Century Ride in Ventura this past Saturday. We all signed up for the metric century–that is 100 kilometers or about 63 miles through Ventura, up to Ojai and back down to Ventura again. It's a beautiful and mostly flat ride punctuated by views of the ocean and vineyards and orchards along the way.
Now, I'm not a cyclist by any stretch of the imagination. I don't have a decent bike road-worthy enough to go that distance. I don't even own a cycling jersey or one of those fancy clip-on cycling shoes. But ride I did, borrowing my brother's mountain bike which was outfitted with slick tires and clipless pedals. He, on the other hand, rode his carbon fiber road bike which propelled him effortlessly up the hills and even against headwinds. My derrier, which has never been on a saddle for so long–the farthest I've gone on a training ride was only 25 miles–was complaining, but I gave it little or no mind.
I really enjoyed the ride, more than I thought I would. For the metric century, there were three rest stops at about every 15 miles or so. It's very tempting to just hang out at one of these stations as they are stocked with fruits, cookies, muffins, lemonade and even popsicles while riders rest their legs, enjoying the company of other cyclists and the ocean vistas.
There was a longish uphill section between the first and second rest stops, and I was surprised that I managed to stay pedaling. Actually the burn on my legs was not as bad as running uphill so I actually appreciated even this part of the course. Thank goodness for those low gears.
After the second rest stop, my brother and I were riding together. I didn't have to work so hard since I was drafting behind him. Then all of a sudden at about mile 40, a loud noise the sound of gun fire erupted. I saw it happen. My front tire blew out. We pulled over and upon further examination, we determined that the inner tube and tire both need to be replaced. Fortunately, a SAG wagon came by and gave me a lift about 5 miles or so to the next rest stop where they were able to put on a new tire and get me on my way to finish the ride.
63 minus 5 miles after the start, I crossed the finish line festooned with a balloon arch. My brother was there waiting, as well as several cyclists and their friends and families who cheered the finishers. I thought about raising my arms up a la Tour de France, but decided against it at the fear of losing control and falling in front of everyone. My sister-in-law was braver than I, letting go of her handle bars long enough for us to take a picture.
We enjoyed the post-race lunch, picked up our free patches, and I was on my way home.
Well after a day like that, I needed a nap to prepare for a different type of cross-training and hydration. In the evening, I went off to meet several friends for some dancing and alcohol-laced libations. With all the races and Saturday early morning training runs, I've had to miss out on some nightlife action. But not this time, and I'm glad I didn't, as some beauties and cool peeps came out to play.
This weekend, my brother and I are doing a race, this time at the Bulldog 25K. It's gonna be fun but it's also gonna be hot, hot, hot.