The weekend started at 3pm where Columbus, Ohio was the only thing I was focusing on...thankfully I remembered everything for the weekend!! We arrived there and the nerves were already starting when my mom and I met up to go over to the opening ceremony. I had my bike in the back of my car since I don’t trust myself with putting it on a bike rack quite yet...at least the one that I own. The first order of business was to put my front tire on the bike and take good ol Jarvis to registration. Bump number 1 of the weekend: front tire will not go back on and the quick release is not going back together...Thankfully they had emergency repairmen there to fix my tire. They got it together in no more than 5 minutes. Thank you repair people! My mom and I headed to registration and set up Jarvis for the next day so we could enjoy the catered buffet of chicken, beef, salmon, pasta salad, green beans, potatoes, and bread was the spread. I passed on the beef and salmon but tried everything else. I could have sworn I had seen someone with an ice cream sandwich but I think it was the heat getting to me because I did not find them after looking for a few minutes. I finally met my team mates from Toledo and picked up my jersey from them. A wonderful group of guys from the Pike fraternity at The University of Toledo. We listened to the speakers and all headed home to get some rest. Resting was the hard part. Working the night previously was not helpful in getting to sleep on time. Neither was the anxiety of not waking up the next morning! I maybe got 4 hours of solid sleep but nothing was going to stop me! I rose at 5:15 and we were out the door by 5:40. I was so nervous I could only stomach some gatorade and a banana at the time which was a horrible decision. I didn’t eat until 11:15 when we made it to Amanda, Ohio...after 43 miles. I was ok, but I definitely need to be more prepared food/drink wise for the next time. We rocked the first 43 miles of the ride, starting at 7:35am and coming in a bit before 11am. It was a slow start with a lot of stop and go around the city of Columbus. Once we passed the first finish at 23 miles, though, things spread out a lot more. At the 43 mile mark we took a long break for lunch and waited for the 8 guys who finished there. I filled up on water and gatorade an we were out on the road again. By this time it was getting hotter and the course was getting hillier. You would think a ride in Ohio would be a flat, easy course. Wrong. This was the most challenging course I could have imagined. The miles between 53 and 75 were the worst, including me popping a tire (thankfully right by a repairman driving by) and a hill that was known for being the “epic hill” people kept talking about along the way. When we got to it, Dan and I made it maybe 100 yards and got off to walk. James, however, made it the whole way. Way to go James! Thanks to the family who had a wonderful rest stop for us waiting at the top! The rest of the course was still hilly, but the worst part was definitely over. My bum was starting to ache as well as my neck and back but the end was in site. We stopped numerous times to refill on the water and gatorade and just had to keep trekking on! I got to see my parents, KC, and Marley around mile 83 where they were enjoying some bud lights as we passed. The energy from their cheers along pushed me to the end. I knew I could do it, and I knew that I WOULD do it! And we did. All three of us finished side by side with the cheers from our families, friends, and complete strangers were there to greet us.
All in all, I am completely ecstatic I made this commitment. I can’t say this enough: I WOULD NOT have been able to do this with your financial support and your words of encouragement. Thanks a million and a half.
This week I am starting grad school part time and getting back to work tonight, so it is a great time to have to take a few rest days from training and start reading some textbooks! Hope you all have a wonderful week!!