Sunday, May 9, 2010

...the first century

All week long I've been checking the weather reports, anxiously waiting to see what would be in store for us on the Inland Empire Century Ride. Rain and wind had been the norm for most of the week, but the forecast was for light wind and no precipitation come the weekend. On Thursday the winds ceased to howl. My spirits perked up. Friday was pretty nice--until bedtime. I lay in bed listening to the rain pour down, wondering if the weatherman really knew what he was talking about. Early Saturday morning I peeked out the window. No rain. {Feeling hopeful...} I put my glasses on and peered out again. The leaves on the tree were NOT moving. Yippeee! We ride!

I met up with my friends Kathie and Bob at the starting point in Richland. It was brisk out at 7:00 a.m. and we had a debate about wearing our jackets or not. It was a little breezy, but the sun was shining. Would it warm up? Would I regret not having my jacket? I opted for arm and knee warmers and left the jacket behind. (The less one has to cram into jersey pockets, the better.)

The first 25 miles were easy-- smooth cement trails along the river. The biggest challenge was the constant need to holler, "On your left!" as we passed walkers, joggers, and slow moving cyclists. After that we headed out of town and started to climb.

Eight miles of steady climbing up through a canyon. Thankfully, the wind did not blow one little bit, as it did the last time Kathie and Bob rode it. It was even quite warm so I took my arm warmers off once we reached the top. And soon stopped to put them back on again, for the wind was blowing up on the plateau.

After all our climbing we were treated to an awesome 6% downgrade into Prosser. I was cautious since it was so very steep and I'd never been on the road before, but I did get up to 38 mph and was laughing like a maniac all the way down.

Kathie and I made a new friend at the Prosser reststop, and with promises to return again, we left him behind for the final leg of the ride.

And that's when the wind decided to blow. REALLY blow. If a SAG wagon had come along I would have gladly taken a lift into town. At one point I had so much dirt in my eyes and under my contacts that I couldn't see. It's a wonder I didn't crash! But we slogged along and finally limped back into the park. We did it. woo. yay us. We were so exhausted by that point that any post-ride jubilation was loooong gone.
But today, after a restful night's sleep I can whole-heartedly say it was a good ride, with good friends, and there will be many more to come. Let's ride!

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