Monday, November 24, 2014

Tour de Tucson!!

As if doing Ironman Arizona last Sunday wasn't fun enough, 'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' and I decided to do Tour de Tucson with a couple friends this weekend!! It was an absolute blast!!
Since the race was on Saturday, we drove down to Tucson after work on Friday and stayed with ours friend David's cousin. She was super sweet and had the cutest little dog ever!
Since we are the mega-procrastinators, we had to register at the expo and then pick up all of our stuff. Jasen and David were signed up for the 104 mile race and my friend, Veronica and I were signed up for the 75 mile race.

After we left the expo, we quickly grabbed dinner at Olive Garden and headed back to her apartment to do some last minute things to get ready for the race.

We woke up Saturday, and the 104 race started earlier than the 75 miler, so I dropped 'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' off at his start line and then went to Veronica's hotel to hang out for a little bit before leaving to our race.
We got down to our start line (different from the boys') with plenty of time to spare, we found some water to top off our water bottles, used the port-o-potties, and waited in the warm car. :)
About 15 minutes before the start, we made our way to the starting line and waited with all the other cyclist. This was my first bike race and it was pretty intimidating to be surrounded by hundreds of cyclists, who all looked like they knew exactly what they were doing.
We heard the National Anthem and then we were off. Immediately people were shouting "on your left!", "on your right', or "coming up the middle!" it was definitely a new experience for me and I absolutely loved watching all the cyclists weave their way in, out, and around others. (I was also terrified, holding on for dear life, and trying to be aware of my surroundings!)

We hadn't even gotten a mile into the race when I heard "hey babe!" from behind. I turned and there was 'Mr. Sprinkles and Glitter' passing on my right!! Talk about perfect timing!! :)

After a couple minutes the boys were out of sight, and we settled into a comfortable pace. The roads weren't in the best conditions, with lots of cracks and potholes, but the entire course was lined with spectators cheering loudly, and the views along the way were gorgeous!

About 12 miles in, we had to get off our bikes and walk it through a river/wash area which doubled as an aid station. They had the coolest mariachi band playing too! We walked through and grabbed bananas and quickly hit the road.

We didn't stop at any of the aid stations until we were about 35 miles in. They had volunteers waiting, offering to hold your bike while you used the port-o-potties or stretched. It was really nice! We refilled our waters and got some pretzels and were back out on the road.

So many hills! To me it seemed like the entire course was one hill after another-- this may have been due to the fact that I was still somewhat sore-tight from Ironman and hadn't road my bike since Ironman and even an ant hill would have felt like a hill to me. ;)

For a majority of the race, we road side by side, but as we got further and further in, we began riding in packs and discovered the world of drafting. Holy cow- it's intense!! I literally was white knuckled and so nervous when we would get into a large group- I kept thinking I was going to be that one person who falls or crashes and starts a huge 100-bike pile up!! (Luckily, that didn't happen!! ;))

We stopped again at an aid station and found out we were 14 miles from the finish. We were both ready to be done. They had peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches- and it was the best PB&J I've ever had!! It was just what I needed and then we were back on the road.

Those last 14 miles seemed like 40! It took forever! We were riding along a freeway access road/on-ramp and I think we had to stop at every light along the way- which only made things seem longer. Not to mention every on-ramp was a slight hill- JOY!! ;)

Once we were finally off the freeway, we knew we were close and kept thinking every turn was the last turn. We finally turned onto a long straight-away and I could see the crowded finish at the end. We were hauling butt to that finish line and I told her we should "cowboy" across the finish line- you know, where you raise one hand in the air and wave it in circles. She laughed, but agreed.

We were flying into the finisher chute, surrounded on both sides by cheering fans, and I shouted "NOW!!" We were 'cowboy-ing' our little hearts out approaching the finish line and I turned to look at Veronica and she must of hit a bump in the road and looked like she was about to fall off her bike. She quickly recovered and didn't end up falling. (Looking back at the road conditions it may not have been the smartest idea to fly into the finish riding with one hand. You live, you learn! ;))
We immediately stopped after crossing the finish line, so, SO glad to be off the bikes and set off  to find the boys. We found them, got our free cookies, and we're done.
I think I can officially say I'm a cyclist now-- at least that's what Athlinks tells me, since it put a little 'C' next to my name. ;) I had SO much fun and cannot wait to do another bike race!

Have you ever done a race that allowed drafting? Do you like it? 

What are your Thanksgiving Plans? Anyone racing? 

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