Preparing for this event seemed to take more effort than any other event we have participated in. From getting our bikes inspected to putting on my lazy bars the night before the ride. From getting all of our last minute supplies on Friday and then rusing home to pack. We seemed to rush the entire day before the ride.
4 am came early that Saturday morning. We had most everything laid out and set by the door. So we could just grab and go. Manual was to meet us at our house, we were to load our luggage and bikes then head to pick up Tammy before heading to Magnolia to meet Tammy's friend Jeff and along the way our friends Jami and Joy joined the caravan. We unloaded at Jeff's, took group pictures, waved goodbye to Jami's husband Robert who dropped Joy and Jami off. (he would act as their personal SAG)
We were off........
The group came to a busy road.... Jeff and Tammy took off. Thinking that there was room for all of us to cross none of us hit out brakes. But as we got closer we realized there was not room for all of us and we had to SLAM on our brakes in order to not get hit by on coming traffic. Jason slammed on his brakes with Jami sliding in right behind him. Jason lost his balance and fell. Our first accident of the ride less than a mile from where we started. As we cautiously crossed the rode things seemed to be back on track but after a while Jason seemed to be falling back. I slowed to ride beside him, asking if he needed anything and if he was alright. The group rode ahead of us some while I checked on Jason. He assured me he was fine but as I watched him ride it seemed he peddled extremely hard. I asked again and this time we stopped. He checked out his tire and realized his back breaks were locked. Thank goodness we had packed a few tools and he was able to loosen them up in order to ride. The group got separated a few times that morning. But we seemed to all meet up for lunch and enjoy some rest time together. This part of the ride was easy. We enjoyed a sandwich, potatoes, pasta salad and for me two ice creams! We had a chance to refill our camel packs and take advantage of the porta potties. Then we were ON THE ROAD AGAIN. :) We finished up that day by taking a left at a state park right outside La Grange where we would be staying the night with Tammy and her family in their RV. Our friends Jami and Joy, who we got seperated from after lunch, rode on to meet Robert who would take them to their hotel for the night. We awoke the next day to sore behinds but other than that we were ready to go. We were dropped off right outside La Grange to join the other riders for day two of the ride. The group decided on day one that on day two we would be taking the "challenge course." This would involve lots of hills..... As we took a left from being dropped off we were introduced to our first hill and BOY was it fun!! (Jason didn't think so, he was too worried about me) We soon hit the challenge course and it was beautiful but HARD! We had all talked about no matter what we wouldn't get off our bikes on the hills. Well that all sounded good on flat land but once I got on those hills I STRUGGLED! Once I went so slow I had to get off or I would fall over. Baaaahaaaa! The other time I just had to get off. It was SOOO hard! But I didn't stay off long. I got right back on, on the hill! Another factor is that my lower back was KILLING me. Everytime I pushed hard my back would tighten up and I would just want to cry. One time I want to brag about was on one of those HARD hills on the challenge course I was struggling so hard up this hill. The woman at the top of the hill working the course and Jason were cheering me on..."Don't stop!" "You got this!" and sure enough I pushed and pushed through the pain until I made it to the top. What I didn't know was behind me was a SAG wagon (a van that comes by periodically to pick up those who can't go on or whose bikes are broke down). As the SAG wagon drove by me a lady stuck her head out the window and yelled very excitedly "You owned that hill!" "That was your hill!" I was so releved at that moment to be up the hill and a little proud of the accomplishment. The hills on this challenge course were tough but once we exited the park I felt an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment as well. It was hard but we did it and it had great down hills! :) Jason stayed with me after that and the rest of our crew after lunch went on without us. My back problems were getting worse and I couldn't ride long without needing to get off and apply more biofreeze and have Jason rub my back. Jason was great, just like the coach that he is. He coached me the whole way. Once we came into Austin the hills returned and with those hills came congestion of riders. The riders were so jammed that there was no way to get a good speed going downhill in order to help you on the up. I struggled once again. But Jason was always at the top of the hill encouraging me on. As we made that final stretch, looked down the street at the capital, hearing our friend Robert calling our names and Jason reaching and holding my hand as we crossed the finishline I relized we had added another chapter to our amazing life and the extra curricular events that we are blessed to be involved in. Although Jason and I finished together and not with our original crew we were proud of each other and assured one another that we would be doing that one again next year!!
Until Next Time, which should be in June for both of our tris.