Ride of “The Century”

Perhaps you recall me mentioning that I would ride 150 Miles for the Bike MS Ride over one weekend. While I intended to do two 75-mile rides, I ended up riding one century ride (100 miles) and then a 50 mile ride the following day. That’s right, 100 miles!!! My only explanation is “challenge pressure”, I  can never seem to turn away from a challenge. The majority of my team was going for the century, so…challenge accepted!

The experience was amazing and awful all wrapped up into one 8-hour ride. The first 20 miles were like “butta”. So smooth, I never questioned my choice. 100 miles? Is that all? Did I even NEED a rest stop? Then mile 30, wow… what a difference 10 miles make. I was very much in my head. I started questioning whether I really could do 100 miles. My friend noticed my mood change and commanded me to eat. Classic “hanger”. I crammed 6 Twizzlers in my mouth and just chewed, in silence.  Mile 45, and I’m right as rain again. Mile 60, head wind, I hate myself. I suck. You suck. Wait, 15 miles to the next rest? I hate everything!! I am now riding so slowly that I visualize myself running beside my bike and then taking off into the distance. I can’t keep up with anyone. I’m wiped and a but defeated. 73 miles and there are sandwhiches, soda and a cookie. I eat with my team and sit silently. I’m still mad with myself.

So, after my sandwhich, soda (which I rarely drink) and cookie (plus part of another cookie), I get…tired. Like hours after Thanksgiving feast tired. And I get dumb, like real dumb (simple-math-baffles-me dumb). So if I am at mile 73… how many miles did I have left? No idea. Less than 30…that’s all I knew. I mounted my bike knowing I was dumb, feeling sleepy and hardly able to pedal.

Mile 80, when I unclipped, stopped, somehow reclipped and fell so gracefully onto my left knee. And like an Olympic gymnast who didn’t quite stick the landing, I was back up, bike in hand as if nothing happened. I received my Century patch. It was encouraging. Now I just had to earn it.

20 miles left. How will I go on? At mile 92, I  tried to think that I only had eight miles left. They were eight of the hilliest miles I’ve ever encountered. I walked up one hill, angry, sore, slightly defeated and tired. 2 miles to go and I started crying. I had no tears, so I just wailed and moaned like a tired toddler.

As I finally rode to the finish, I heard people chanting my name, “Jeri, Jeri, Jeri!” I started to smile, I think…probably more like a grimace. But the journey had been all for this moment. My team had gathered at the finish to cheer me on! My legs were ready to fall off, my left shoulder was immobile but it was over. I did it! My accomplishment started to settle in.

Almost 1 year to the day, I asked my friend to teach me to ride a bike and hear I was completing a century ride! I had just got on the bike and never looked back. 100 miles always seemed like a lot but never seemed impossible.

Now, the idea of doing anything other than soaking in a hot tub the next day was unimaginable. However, somehow, after 8 hours of sleep, some Epson salts and Magnesium Calm, I  was ready to roll out and do an additional 50 miles the next day. 

Next year, I’m going for the double century.

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