Little Red Riding Hood is a ladies only bike ride in Wellsville, Utah (near Logan). The course is mostly flat, rural roads surrounded by gorgeous green farm land. You can choose to ride 15, 30, 45, 64, 80 or 100 miles. I signed up for 64 -- more than twice as far as I've ever ridden before. Figured it would be super challenging without being overwhelming. And if I had to quit early, I could just call Dan and he could pick me up. No pressure.
There was a huge downhill at 26 miles which was so fun and a great break. At the end you turned right to head out on the 64 mile course and left for the 80 and 100. I felt great so I turned left. 6 miles later at the turnoff for the 80 mile course I still felt great so I kept going. Two miles later I really regretted my choice. Knees hurt. Arms hurt. Back hurt. And only 65 more miles to go. As I was climbing a hill at 39 miles, realized I didn't feel any worse than climbing the steep hill I do on my regular route -- after only 7 miles. Seemed like a good sign.
At the top of that short hill there was a rest station. I decided to stop and stretch. Called Dan to let him know I was on the 100 mile course--past the point of no return. It started raining. We rode for 30 minutes in the rain -- but with helmets and arm covers you didn't really notice and it really wasn't too bad.
Sometimes I couldn't see anyone ahead of me or behind me. Lots of times people passed me. A few times I passed other people. You're not supposed to wear headphones so I had a lot of time to think -- 9 hours, to be exact. There were a few beautiful things that I noticed along the road that I was going to remember: Birds with bright orange necks. The sound of bullfrogs in the river just after the rain. Lots of dead deer -- even a smashed snake (ew!) and a dead horse with its guts spilling out (ew! ew!!) Full, slow-moving rivers that looked perfect for a tubing adventure. Something else beautiful that I was going to remember but have not been able to remember.
I was kind of worried about the really steep hill at 50 miles, but when I got there, I did great -- climbed slowly but consistently -- took 7 minutes. (Seven groups of counting 1-1000's, 2-1000's up to 40, which is a habit I've developed to get me through big pushes riding or running.) There was a rest station at the top but I didn't stop because the reward of making it to the top of the hill is to enjoy the flat for a while!
At 55 and 56 miles there was a lot of wind and I didn't know how much farther until the lunch stop. 62 miles was lunch. Stopped at 70 to look at a map. 77 stopped because I was afraid if I didn't stop I'd regret it. Made it through the boring industrial side of Logan where I was really wishing I had a friend to talk to. At 97 stopped for a drink and to get ready for the last push. Pulled into the finish 30 minutes later. Been on the road 8 hours, 37 minutes. Been on my bike 7 hours and 30 minutes. 104 miles! Go Angela! Feeling pretty good about myself...