Ride to Defeat ALS Century: Cycling for Two
I got up at 4:30am as I had to drive an hour to get to the start. I didn’t have much to do besides make coffee and get dressed as I had done most of the work the evening before. My game plan before an event is always three basic things:
- Go over my bike and make sure everything is in working order
- Ride at least 10 miles to make sure everything actually works. (The ONE time I didn’t do this, I got two flats within the first 10 miles of a 100 mile ride. It ended up delaying us by two hours, which meant the last 20 miles were in horrendous heat. If I had just stuck to this rule, I would have gotten them on my short ride and taken care of it before the big day.)
- Get my clothes and equipment ready. For this ride, I needed bike shorts, jersey, 2 water bottles, a couple packs of Clif Shot Bloks for emergency food (I used these strawberry ones off of Amazon), wallet, iphone, keys, shoes, helmet, riding gloves, a jacket (in case of rain), and a change of clothes for when I was done.
The weather had been iffy all week and there was a possibility of rain but thankfully it held off for the entire ride, so I just left my jacket in the car. I got to Salem, OR around 6:45am and met up with the group that I was planning on riding with. There were four main routes to choose from: a 24 mile, a 50 mile, a 66 mile, and 100 mile. The group I was with was planning on the 100 mile. We left about 7 and headed out on our route. The course was gorgeous: rolling hills, farmland and very little traffic. The first 30 miles were all up hill, which I normally would love, but it’s definitely not my favorite when I’m pregnant. The extra weight I’m carrying plus the shortness of breath that comes from pregnancy makes me a very slow climber. I got through however but by the time I reached the first rest stop, I knew that I’d probably need to cut the ride short in some way as I was already getting worn out from climbing.
After the hills, the ride was basically flat. Unfortunately this particular area is also known for its high winds. For those of you who ride, you know that can be quite challenging to ride into. For those who don’t, cycling with strong winds is basically like going uphill all the time in terms of the effort you have to put in. This ride was no exception and we had blustery strong winds for the rest of the day. We reached mile 42 and I was tired. I had a great group and was able to draft a bit, but I knew already that it would be wiser if I could cut it shorter than 100 miles. If there hadn’t been so much wind and if I had more time (for family reasons I had to be back home by 3pm), I would have completed the 100 but as it was, I knew it would be smarter to cut it when I could.
With that in mind, I started looking for a short cut back.
This came at the mile 55 rest stop (which had fresh strawberry shortcake! Unlike what some people think, cyclists don’t just eat bars and gels!)
At mile 55, there were three ways back to the start. One would be another 15 miles, the second would be 22 miles and the third would be 46 miles. I chose the 15 mile loop, for a total of 70 miles or 112 km which is a little bit longer than a metric century (100 km) .
I got to the finish about 12:30.. For a total of 5 hours on the road and 4.5 hours riding time. For reference, this is about 30-40 minutes slower than what I can handle when I’m not pregnant for the same distance.
Thoughts and My Plan for the Rest of Pregnancy
So, all in all, I felt like it was a good ride for a great cause. We were riding to support those with ALS and altogether we ended up raising over $152,000 that went straight to meeting the medical needs of those struggling with the disease.
I hope to ride for at least 10 more weeks, but I don’t plan on doing any rides longer than 40 miles (and if I do any of those, they’ll be pretty few). My main goal will be simply to enjoy the summer time; enjoy being outdoors; stay healthy and have fun. When it gets too uncomfortable, I’ll adjust or stop and switch to a (modified) cross-training schedule (which for the last 10 weeks of pregnancy will be sessions on my Concept 2 Indoor Rower; regular walks; and pilates/yoga.)
For my tips on long distance riding while pregnant, go here.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section. If not, check back soon for more articles and reviews about fitness, health, pregnancy, and an active lifestyle!