Saturday, April 16, 2011 by Jethro Jones
In conjunction with the Salt Lake Marathon, there is a Salt Lake City Bike Tour: 25 miles that goes pretty much along the Marathon course. It is not a race, as they told us numerous times, but it is an organized event that you have to pay to participate in. It was the first organized, large-scale cycling event that I have participated in. I think I did pretty well. According to iMapMyRide, it was just under 24 miles, not the 25 that were billed.
Since this was my first organized ride, I knew I wanted to push myself harder than I do when I usually ride. It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to ride 23.87 miles, which is 17.9 mph average. It certainly helped that this ride was mostly downhill, with not much uphill. I wanted to hit 17 mph as my average, so I am pleased with 17.9 for myself.
The ride started at 6:00 am, and it was raining for the first 20 minutes or so. Luckily, there wasn't much wind, and the temp was right around 50 degrees. It was still chilly with the rain, but not as cold as I thought it would be. To keep warm, I had a long-sleeve shirt under my jersey, calf-high dress socks, and plastic bags in my shoes (to keep the wind out; it is a lot cheaper than toe covers), and a handkerchief over my head to keep that warm as well. I stayed pretty warm, once I got going.
For me, this was a big deal to ride with a bunch of other people and be able to keep a good pace. I tyipcally ride by myself, and it was great to be around other cyclists. I have not participated in any of these organized events because I never feel like I would be able to keep up with anyone. I felt like I was a pretty average rider in that group. I passed some people, and got passed by some others. I hit a small wall at about 20 miles, and I felt that I couldn't keep up the pace. So, I found someone who seemed to be going fairly fast, and decided I would stay with them. That really helped. I did stay with them and we were going about 20 mph the whole 2.5 miles I stayed. After getting some rest by following them, I was able to take off and finish the ride pretty strongly.
While on the bike, I ate 1 Clif bar, and drank one water bottle of Powerade. I had bread, jam, an orange, half a banana, and yogurt before the race. I didn't get a side ache, nor did I feel like I ate too much. The only time I stopped was for a potty break about half way through.
I am really glad I did something out of my comfort zone and tried something new. It is a lot different when you don't have to worry about traffic lights or cars while you ride. I enjoyed that, and I look forward to riding in more organized rides.
Bonus: My wife took me to the starting line, and then had the kids meet me at the finish line. I am really lukcy that she's willing to do that. She is so supportive of me, and that is great to have.