So, it all started on Friday. I ended up being signed up to volunteer for Field Day at the kids school. That’s always fun, but exhausting too. My station was tug-o-war. Third through fifth grade. Sometimes we had 2 classes at the same time. That was challenging, lol.

After that, I signed the kids out of school early and headed home to get the rest of the packing at stuff done. I ended up being able to get on the road at about 3:30. I ran into A LOT of traffic and missed a couple fo turns. I rolled into New Bern at 7pm and went to get checked into the ride. I ran into my team captains in the convention center lobby. They said that they were meeting at one of the local hotels for a pasta buffet at 7:30 and that they stop serving at 8, so get checked in, (hotel and ride) and get back.

That leads me to the next leg of this adventure. WAY BACK in January when I booked my room, I went with the hotel that was right across the bridge from the venue. Well, what I didn’t know was that they were going to demolish the bridge. So, I’m trying to get around the block to go around the bridge and I’m just not finding the right way. Roads were blocked, I was driving in circles. I finally called the hotel and she was telling me something about getting on the highway. I really didn’t catch it all, lol, So I called Wendy and said “I’m lost, I’m alone, and I’m freaking out”….she helped me get around and where I needed to be. She’s a lifesaver, lol. By the time I got there, it was 7:45…I was wiped out. So, I ordered pizza and hung out in the room.

Saturday morning, I got up way earlier than humanly necessary, lol, and got ready to go. There is actually a lot that goes into preparing to ride. I had to lather myself up with chamois butter, then squeeze my (lubed) ass into the padded bike shorts, pin my number to the back of the jersey, stuff my pockets with road fuel, stop at the lobby for breakfast, then head out the 20 min winding drive back to the start venue. Then find a parking spot (see, I had originally planned on just riding my bike across the bridge). Check the air in my tires, change into bike shoes. Don’t lock the keys in the car, oh, yeah, helmet that’s what I’m missing…Finally get to the start and meet the group for our picture. Then we wait for the opening remarks, listen to one of our team mates with MS sing the National Anthem as her husband supports her because she MS has taken her legs (that was moving). Then we are off.

Our team captains are a husband wife team. They ride on a tandem, low riding recumbent trike. It’s a really cool bike. The woman needs it because she also has MS and has lost balance, and can’t ride an upright traditional bike. Well, they did something new this year….The husband road his upright and the wife road her single recumbent trike. This was the first time in years that she had ridden solo so she knew she would be slow, so my plan was to fall in with them and have a nice relaxed ride. I know I’m slow and I havent been training like I should so I knew my speed would be nill. So I got behind them and followed then for about 5 miles then I just couldn’t keep the pace any longer and told then they could follow me for a bit. I ended up leaving them. I didn’t mean to, I was just booking. I was in the zone. I was FLYING! It was awesome. I had my best time yet that day. I was psyched. I was glad I picked the 30 miles route cause that pace over 75 miles would have probably killed my back. I got back and had an awesome sports massage and felt great.

Got back to the hotel room, took a shower, got online for a bit, and fell asleep reading a page about toxic substances to animals. Woke up about an hour later with my arm hurting because of the way I was sleeping. Repositioned and went back to sleep.

Had to meet back at the convention center to meet the group and have a full team picture (with volunteers, not just cyclists). Had dinner and a few laughs. Bought an awesome beer glass that says “Helping Fight MS One Pint At A Time”. Was exhausted and headed back to the hotel around 8:30. Settled into bed and was nodding off. Figuring it was late I looked at the clock and it said 9:30, lol Wimp!

There was rumblings of a Tropical Storm coming through. Some weather stations said it would hold off till Sunday afternoon, others said Sunday morning. Everyone was kinda waiting and seeing. I woke up Sunday morning and looked out the window and it was raining. I said Fuck this, I’m not riding in rain. Oh, we had wicked head winds on Saturday, so going back out in rain and TS winds wasn’t sounding fun for me. I decided I wasn’t riding. Even texted Wendy that it wasn’t happening. Then I looked again and the rain had stopped. So I got dressed. I decided that I had to go to the convention center to get my bike anyway, I might as well see what the team is doing. If they were riding, I’d ride…if they quit, then dammit, me too! I got my bike and still was saying I wasn’t doing it. Then I walked across to the starting line. I see signs that say all routes closed except 30 mile. Out of 1600 riders on Saturday, we had 350-400 on Sunday. I looked around and finally saw a a familiar face. She saw me and we decided to ride together. We had ridden a bit on Saturday but she was faster than me and had gone ahead. I told her that I probably wouldn’t be as fast as I was Saturday and if she needed to go ahead to go, I’d be fine. She said “No, we’re in it together” (ok, I’ve heard that before, lol) Let me tell you…the woman ROCKED. She was AWESOME. She totally carried me. When the rain started and came down in sheets and I wanted to quit, she kept me going., When we went over the freeway and had to go over a hill and she was faster, I crested the hill to find her waiting for me. She said she wasn’t crossing that finish line without me. She let me draft her when I was tired. She carried me through. And…I rode faster on Sunday than I did on Saturday. Despite the rain, despite the wind…..Sunday was my favorite ride ever. It was all thanks to Cara.

After we finished I rushed back to the hotel and literally stripped down and jumped in eth shower. I was trying to get done and checked out before noon, I made it to the front desk right at noon, ,lol. I went back to the convention center to have lunch and say goodbye. I left out around 2pm. I got about 15 miles out of New Bern and heard a horrible noise and my first thought was that my bike was falling off the rack. I wanted to get off the high way as fast as possible before my bike hit the road. I get pulled over on the shoulder and I jump out and check everything out. Everything looks fine. Bike is secure, tires look fine. I look back and see debris on the road and thing I must have hit that, but how did I not see it? Then I notice it. My rear right tire. All the tread is GONE. It just peeled off, taking all the trim off the side of my car with it. Yeah, that road debris was mine. I’m panicking. What do I do, who do I call. My husband is 3.5 hours away, I don’t want to sit on the side of the road that long. So I call my team captains. They came out to help. By the time they got there (which was MAYBE 30 mins) someone else had stopped to help me. We got my tire changed, got air in it and I headed out. I was freaked out. That really shook me up and I ended up having little panic attacks all the way home. I felt like shit for feeling that insecure too.

It was my mom’s birthday so I went by her house and took her out to dinner. It was a hard day for her so I really needed to be there for her. I made it home about 9:30pm and pretty much crashed.

This morning my agenda included 4 brand spanking new tires on my car. A small price to pay for my peace of mind.

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