Monday, May 08, 2006

Shiner BASH

Saturday started off absolutely wonderfully!

First, I wake from a deep sleep and look at my alarm clock to see what time it is. No numbers. Hmm. Fall back to sleep, but woke back up and look at the clock again. It says 2:13. Fall back to sleep, again. Wake up again. No numbers on the clock. Think about falling back to sleep, but then what happens if the power does not come back on and I do not wake up in time. Get up, get the cell phone, set the alarm for 4:00 am, and try to go back to sleep. Not happening. Finally get out of bed at 3:30, get the flash light and start putting things together. Then I notice it is not completely dark outside. The lights in the garage are on. I call the apartment complex and get no answers, just that they are working on the problem. Go out and wander around the garage to see if it is just my building without power or are other buildings affected. Everything on the complex was without power except the garages. Weird. Go back inside and call the power company and was told that a car had hit a pole and they were working to fix the situation and the power should be back on in a couple hours. My first thought - f'ing drunk driver! But then you never know, it could have been caused by a completely sober person out at 2:15 am on a Saturday morning! Next thought, what if the power does not come on and it gets really hot in the apartment? What happens to Beazer?

I finish getting everything ready, take a shower and then the power comes back on!! Yea!! I do not have to make a trip up to north Houston to drop Beazer off at Noni's (my friend and ferret sitter) prior to heading out to Katy for the ride start.

Before I left my apartment I saw my first flash of lightning. When I was loading up my bike, it started to rain. When I got on the freeway, it started to pour. And the weather just got worse. The rain was horrendous. My wipers were going as fast as they could and I could hardly see. Along with most of the other drivers, I slowed to 25 mph, got in the right hand lane and put my flashers on. The wind was trying to push me into the center lanes and there was lightening and thunder all around. It was crazy!!

Eventually the rain lessened and I made it to Katy Mills Mall. I met up with the other TNT people and we hung around. The weather cleared for a few moments and we all gathered for a team picture. Then the rain started again and we huddled in our vehicles a little longer. Finally the ride was ready to begin. We took another team picture (this time with our bikes!) and headed for the start line. It was pretty short!! The weather kept many cyclists away, but the die hards showed up and we crossed the start line at 8:30 - after a 1.5 hour rain delay.

The riding was wet, to say the least!! I had thought about buying a rain jacket before the start, but I was already wet and it would just make me hot. So I didn't. Probably a good idea.

I rode with Debi M. (a fellow mentor) for the first 45 miles or so. We had a good time chatting, stopping at the rest stops and cheering on the TNT participants. We picked up Becky at the third rest stop so I didn't feel so bad leaving Debi alone, and I took off. Not that I am fast or anything, just a little faster than Debi! By then the roads were starting to dry up and the sun was making an appearance. Finally! I was getting tired of road spray!

I pulled over at RS#4 and chatted with fellow TNT participants and got back on the road. Next stop, TNT lunch stop at mile 70.

I caught up with Kerry and Erik (TNTers who will be going to Tahoe with me). I chatted with them for a bit then continued on my way. Passed a couple guys going up a hill, thought nothing of it, and pedal on. Then all of a sudden there is this guy at my side - one of the ones I had passed on the hill. He said he had noticed me before, thought I was a strong rider and asked me how long I had been riding. You know what I think?! He caught up with me because he couldn't handle being "chicked." And what made it worse - I wasn't a svelte, muscular chick!! He was being passed by a soft, cushy chick!!

We chatted. I told him about TNT and my training. He told me about his. He said his friend was slower than him, but he thought that was due to their age difference. He was 28 and his friend was 38. If he only knew how old I was!! I didn't tell him. I didn't want to completely ruin his day!!

I made it to the lunch stop and chatted some more with the TNT folk. But didn't want to lounge around too much. I was getting tired of being out there.

Eventually I went on my way. I was hoping I could catch up with some more participants. And I did, at the next rest stop! We chatted, we laughed. Everyone was having a great time!

Then it was back on the road for the final 17 miles.

I passed a guy on the side of the road with a flat and slowed to ask if he needed help. He didn't so I continued on my way. He eventually passed me going up a hill and we chatted a bit and he told me how he was trying to catch up with his partner. He did and I passed them going up another hill. You are wondering why am I telling you this. I will get to that in a bit.

Anyway, I continue on and eventually enter the city limits of Shiner. I ride past the brewery, over a wooden bridge and get gassed by a diesel truck who thinks it is funny to ride up on a rider, rev his engine and engulf them in black smoke. I flipped the mother f***er off! Made me feel better! Then I see the finish line!! Hallelujah!!

I cheer in the final riders and as I was making my way over to some TNT participants, one of the guys I had passed going up that hill comes over. He tells me thanks for pulling him the rest of the way in. He was tired and after I passed him it gave him the incentive to push it. He left his friend behind and tried to keep up with me. He even said his friend passed him in one of the SAG vehicles! What do you say to something like this? "I didn't know I was helping you, but your welcome!"

I am not sure what to think of all these "compliments." I do not think of myself as that strong of a rider. I am not that fast. And on this ride I took my time! I was slow! I stopped at all the rest stops. I took long breaks! I was just out there making sure all the TNT participants had a good time. And I even felt a little guilty about leaving some of them behind. Because ultimately this was about them.

This was their event. The one they had trained so hard for. The one they had raised money for. And they all did a WONDERFUL job!! I am so proud of all the TNT participants who crossed that finish line. They have a lot to be proud of. What a huge accomplishment!! They have made a difference!!


"We cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that we can do."

p.s. Bunnygirl - there were lots of love bugs, but I do not think nearly as many as you had on your Road to Bugville. Maybe the weather, maybe because it was earlier in the season. But I am thankful, the weather was bad enough!!


bunnygirl said...

I'm glad you had a good ride! I was wondering how the weather had affected the ride start.

How was the post-ride party? Was it an improvement over my description of what happened last year? There were so many unhappy riders that I suspect they did better for you this time around.

Jill said...

At the finish they had a tent with water and snacks, and another tent was set up to serve hamburgers. Then yet another tent for rider check-in and another to check-in for the bus ride home.

I didn't get any water or snacks - had some left over from the ride. I didn't get a meal because TNT had their own tent set up with food and goodies. And I didn't go to the concert becuase I wanted to go home (I took a long time to finish!).

I loaded my bike on the truck, collected my gear, cheered in the final riders, took a shower, checked in at both the rider and bus check-in then made it to the TNT victory party, ate, then got on the bus for home.

The set up looked better than what you had described last year, though.

Mojo said...

Sounds like you had a great time. I'm glad it stopped raining, sounds like a bad storm!

You should be proud of all the compliments. You probably don't give yourself enough credit. I bet you are an awesomely strong rider. I saw a bike jersey that says "Biker Chick" with a picture of a baby chicken on it. It would be perfect for you.

Keep passing all those men, somebody's got to keep them humble-right? :)

Cagey said...

It seems as if you had another great ride. Way to go! It also seems like you are a stronger rider than you give yourself credit for.

Cassie (TIGGS) said...

way to go Jill!!!! two big rides down!! one to go! awesome!

Erin said...

I didn't realize Shiner was this past weekend. Wasn't that rain horrible?

Way to go on another awesome ride. It doesn't matter how fast you go, you're still an inspiration to people & that rocks! Congrats again Jill! :)