The 100 mile Warrior Ride: post-ride report
With everything that was going on in my life (see yesterday’s blog), I’d only had time to do a couple 20 mile rides in the week leading up to the 100 mile Warrior Ride. In addition to my lack of saddle time, I was feeling extremely scattered and stressed out. I’d all but decided to bail on the ride, but at the last minute I changed my mind. I had a change of heart for a couple reasons:
First of all, I knew a long bike ride would be good for my soul. In fact, it was probably exactly what I needed at that point. Even though I knew this, for some reason I still didn’t want to do the ride…
So then I started thinking about what this ride represented, and for whom we were riding. The Warrior ride was held on November 10th–the day before Veteran’s day–and we were riding to raise money for the families of fallen and wounded Veterans (read more about Hope For The Warriors in this blog). I thought about the sacrifice, hardships, pain and suffering these brave men and women and their families have been through. Suddenly my problems seemed trivial. It’s interesting how a simple change of perspective can be so powerful. Once I made this realization, I felt ashamed for even considering not doing the ride.
So on an absolutely beautiful Sunday morning, I, along with 152 of my fellow cyclists and dozens of volunteers, gathered at Ferran Park in Eustis, Florida to Ride For The Warriors!
The ride check-in was held in front of Pure Cycles, which is owned by fellow Crazy Rich Dybdahl. Richard and his shop Pure Cycles are extremely active members of the cycling community (road, MTB and CX), and they do a lot to support the local scene. Be sure to stop by when you’re in the area.
There were two routes available: a 40 mile ride, and the full century ride. The 100 mile ride extended north of Ocala before looping back to Eustis. It promised to be a very scenic ride, and the beautiful weather only added to the anticipation.
There were several waves at the start based on desired pace. I started alongside my friends William Cruz and Daniel Cleaver (Daniel, by the way, did the ride on his mountain bike!) At the first SAG stop some of us in our group were wanting to pick up the pace. This was a no-drop ride and the pace was tightly controlled, so William assembled an impromptu group of about a dozen of us who wanted to ride a little faster. I was feeling surprisingly good, so I joined them.
The 100 mile ride didn’t have a great deal of climbing (only around 2,200 feet), and the cool air was invigorating. The group I was riding with was fantastic! Everyone was smooth and safe, and we all took strong pulls and shared the workload. I found myself enjoying the ride immensely, and was feeling so good that a couple of times when I was pulling I was told to ease off a bit… With everything that had been going on my life recently, I was so happy to be outside riding my bike on such a beautiful morning that I was having trouble restraining myself.
When I completed the 100 mile ride I felt surprisingly fresh: my legs still felt great, and I honestly felt like I could have easily gone on for quite some time. Before the ride I was concerned that my lack of riding in the week leading up to this event was going to make for a painful 100 miles, but as it turns out I had nothing to worry about.
Here’s the route map and elevation profile (click to enlarge). My entire ride with all data can be found here.
In the end we raised $3,353.45 for Hope For The Warriors! I am proud and honored to have been a part of the effort. A huge “Thanks!” to the Ride Across USA Team, Lou Ann, Jeff and Laura Stephens, all the wonderful SAG volunteers, the ride marshals and sweepers, Hope For The Warriors and, of course, our Veterans and their families.