Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cinderella Challenge Ride - April 2, 2011

As you know, I began training for this ride with Fremont Freewhelers back in January.  Each Saturday our rides were longer and more challenging.  This training series was absolutely perfect because when Saturday came and the ride was done, I easily could have kept on riding.

The ride started and ended at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds.  We were all meeting across the street at a business complex.  One of the women in our group works there and was kind enough to open up the parking lot to us and the building too, so we could use the bathrooms prior to riding over to check-in.  We met at 6:30 a.m. hoping for a 7:00 roll time.  It was still dark and a bit chilly.

After getting our gear together and taking some pre-ride photos, we made our way to check-in.  Since we didn't park in the event parking lot, I didn't realize how many women were there already.  The place was packed!  Check-in was pretty painless.  We got a number to put on our bike and I picked up the jersey I had pre-purchased.  I am so glad I had that jersey to put on because I was only wearing a sleeveless jersey with arm warmers and a vest.  I wore both jerseys all day.  By the time we all got checked in, went to the bathroom again and put our numbers on our bike, it was 7:30 already.  Finally, we are rolling.

This ride has a Classic ride, as well as the Challenge ride and it's all about women.  The Classic ride is a metric century and most of the women that day were doing that route.  The Challenge ride is 87 miles.  For the first ~30 miles, both groups share the same route.  After ~30 miles, the Challenge riders take a turn where the women separate themselves from the girls our climbing for the day begins.  Our first climb was Patterson Pass Road.  At the top of this road was a great view of the windmills on the Altamont Pass and a lot of cold wind.  Very cold wind.  Luckily there was a SAG vehicle up there and I tucked in behind it to block myself from the wind.  When I did this climb in training a month ago, I had to stop a couple of times and weave myself up the steepest part.  Saturday?  I went right up, without weaving.  It was great to see this improvement.

We then got the fun ride down the other side of Patterson Pass and took Grant Line Road under I-580 to *our* first rest stop.  (We elected to roll through the first rest stop at mile 15.)  At this rest stop there was probably a lot of good food and drinks but the only two things I remember was a shiny little pin to commemorate completing the Cinderella Challenge and a great big tray of Mother's frosted circus animal cookies!  I ate my fair share, let's just say that.

Kathryn & Soraya


Then it was time to tackle Altamont Pass Road.  Lord, the wind was ridiculous!  The nine of us got to take advantage of what we've been learning for the past three months.  Pace lining at its best.  We tucked in tightly behind each other and rode the hardest we could.  It was quite tiring, to say the least.  At one time I had to drop back, I just couldn't hold it any longer and I didn't want the girl behind me to suffer.  I went to the back and held on for dear life while I caught my breath.  After a few minutes I was able to get my strength back and got myself back to the front part of the pack.  Near the end of the pass the group had separated into three different groups and it was just me and Erin for a while, helping each other through.

We headed back over I-580 on Flynn Road for another nasty climb.  The wind was only getting worse.  There was no pace line happening here.  We were pretty much all on our own (I don't know why).  I kept my head, shoulders and elbows down and only lifted my eyes once in a while to make sure there was no hazard in the road ahead.  The final turn of the climb came upon me and suddenly the wind was stronger than ever.  I was moving so slowly, pushing and pulling the pedals up and breathing hard with each one.  It started to feel a little bit easier so I lifted my head up and realized I was beginning my descent.  Hallelujah.  I lifted my shoulders up and stopped pedaling, thinking I could coast down the hill.  Nope!  The wind was too strong and I almost came to a complete stop, going downhill.  After a short time I was down low enough so the wind was blocked by the hills and I could enjoy flying down to the next regroup. 

At the bottom of Flynn Road we were once again put back on course with the Classic riders.  I was so happy to know the climbing was behind me.  It was only going to get easier from there. 

We all pulled into the lunch stop together where we made ourselves HUGE sandwiches and scarfed them down.  I think I can speak for the whole group when I say we were elated to be at this point of the ride.

Lunch time!

After lunch we had about 30 miles left.  It was beautiful back roads with rolling green hills.  Speculation was the wind was going to beat us up but it was not as terrible as it could have been.  We made a group decision to skip the final rest stop that was 15 miles from the finish.  We stayed pretty close together and made excellent time back.  We were in extremely high spirits as we rolled into the fairgrounds together.  We were hollering at the other women that were walking or riding by us, already accomplishing their goals for the day.

Rolling in to the finish
We checked out, got our goody bags and sat down for our final meal together.  We chatted like a bunch of little girls on their last day of school before summer vacation.  We were happy we finished the ride in one piece but sad that we wouldn't be seeing each other on a regular basis now. 

I'm extremely happy I took a chance and signed up for this training and this ride.  I'm also happy I got Erin to sign up with me.  To see her improvement and dedication week after week was so refreshing.  I got to see her achieve things she was so nervous about even attempting.

Jean, Jennie, Me, Soraya, Kathryn, Vanessa, Karen, Erin

We did it!!!

Ten more days until my next big ride - The Diablo Century.  Erin and I are going solo this time.  We'll have to find some people to draft off of.  :)

"MED2011 Accountability"
04/01 - 1.25 mile walk, 2 mile walk
04/02 - 87 mile bike ride
04/03 - 1.25 mile walk
04/04 - 2 mile walk, Body Pump
04/05 - 32 mile bike ride, Body Pump, 2 mile walk
04/06 - 1.25 mile walk, Body Pump

Until later.............


trailturtle said...

Home from my recent hectic round of traveling, so I'm elated to be the first one to congratulate you! I still remember when you first started and had trouble with clipless pedals (remember the "tip-overs?"). Well,as the saying goes "you've come a long way baby!"
Next challenge: Mt. Diablo---on a BIKE!!

René said...

The group ride sounds like so much fun and adventure!

Julie said...

Your ride sounded and looked FANTASTIC!! I'm doing a group ride this weekend at Cherry of a Ride and I hope we have as much fun as you did!!

Aron said...

ahhh you are so awesome! congrats on a GREAT ride and such a fun day :) AHH Diablo - can't wait to hear how that one goes :)

Vanessa M said...

Awesome job JoLynn!

Missy said...

Great pics! I DO love a bike.

The Green Girl said...

I love love love Mother's frosted circus animal cookies! I was crushed when Mother's went under and then I celebrated when I saw them at my local grocery store again.

Marci said...

That looks like so much fun!! Good luck on your upcoming century ride!


Nice stuff
How do the helmet "doodlees" effect aerodynamics?

Irene said...

It looks like you all had a great time!

Great pictures, too! How did you get the head goodies to stay put? ;)

Joanie said...

Never joined a training group for cycling. Sounds like something I should consider. I have done it with running and those are some of the best memories.
I did Cinderella one year when the weather was so bad I got blown off the road trying to avoid those little speed bump things. You got your wish for Diablo, a drafting partner!