I was STARVING! I am still blown away by the amount of calories you can burn on a bike. I just doesn't feel like that difficult of a work-out compared to some hard-ass Tae-Bo or aerobics class. I have since learned that it is because cycling is so low-impact on your body, you can do it longer. Your heart rate stays at a good healthy pace for a longer period of time and you just burn and burn calories.
My soldier called yesterday and we talked about this topic. He said that he's had friends who have done several triathlons with him and they've since stopped the running and swimming. They bike exclusively now and they are thinner, healthier and more fit now than when they did triathlons! And cycling is something you can do for the rest of your life! (How's that for a commercial?)
Anyway, I ate a big breakfast Sunday morning at my hotel and took the shuttle back to Texas Motor Speedway. Our bikes were awaiting us for our 7:00 a.m. start time. Everyone was moving slowly...
I felt great once I got started. It was another chilly morning but not near as windy as the previous day. I decided that I would stop at every break point on this second day. I knew my body was going to need it. When I arrived at our lunch break point, 30 miles in, I still felt awesome and strong.
Whew! There were a lot of us! Over 3200 riders and yes, I'd say we did cause some traffic issues. The police were so great about speeding us along. All along the route we had lots of support. There were even people with MS in wheelchairs at some of the break points thanking us for riding. It was very inspiring.
Everyone at every break point was complaining about the hills. True, the second day's route was definitely hillier than Saturday's route. It didn't seem that bad to me. Then I started hearing about the "5 miles of doom" and the "hills from hell" and I started to worry about what was to come. Then I shook it off.
I had made it thus far on a mantra:
I am healthy, fit and strong.
Anytime I felt as if I was running out of steam, I would repeat this mantra to myself and it would help me so much. I have heard that much of this athletic performance stuff is mental. I do believe its true. Your body does what the mind tells it to do.
So I don't remember any "5 miles of doom" but there were several hills where I passed other cyclists walking their bikes up the hill. I was determined not to do that. Instead I repeated my mantra, focused on calming my breath and looked at the road directly in front of me instead of up at the top of the hill. Suddenly, it was easy and suddenly, I was at the top of the hill. A little bit at a time. One second at a time. A breath at a time. Amazing.
My body was definitely responding to the yoga breaks I was taking during the day. At the second-to-last break point before the finish, I actually found a good shade tree and rested on my back under it for about 30 minutes. It was a "happy sunshine" day (as my older daughter would say). I wish I could've taken a photo of a sign we passed in front of a church. It said, "Enjoy this beautiful day. Compliments of God." I did that. I was indeed a Godly beautiful day.
I was ready to be finished with the 75 mile day two adventure (For a grand total of 160 miles!). I had taken it 20 miles at a time and now I only had 20 miles to go. My V-JJ was SO SORE and I was ready to sit on a real chair! I stopped quickly at the last break point for a sip of Powerade and then headed into downtown Ft. Worth.
Many of my fellow cyclists had bike problems or body problems throughout the weekend. I was happy and grateful that neither I nor my bike had suffered any issues thus far. Well, wouldn't you know it? 1/2 mile from the finish line, I had a flat tire. Argh! What a tease!!
Thankfully another rider and a SAG van stopped to help me. My finish was delayed by 45 minutes but soon I was gleefully crossing the finish line!
I wasn't expecting the overwhelming emotions to take over but I was crying as I dismounted the bike and was greeted by my friends. I have never pushed my body as I did this past weekend. I felt amazed and very proud of my accomplishment.
My very witty friend, as usual, put it in terms that made sense. When I told her how I cried at the end of this long road, she said, "Well, of course you did. You worked really hard and had a lot of anxiety and emotion about the whole thing. I imagine crossing the finish felt much like an orgasm."
Yep! That's it.
Maybe that's why I plan on doing it again.
Read about Day 1.