What an awesome weekend! Saturday morning I went for the beginner’s ride and loved it. It was a nice slow pace, not much pedaling, plenty of stops for drinking water or waiting for the rest of the crew to catch up, and a nice 15 min rest at the halfway point. What fun! I met a great new friend who is definitely a better rider than I am, and we had plenty to talk about. From traditional nutrition to natural childbirth, she instantly became the sounding board I am not alllowed at the office and cannot get at home. Time on the ride just flew by! To my surprise, she invited me to go on a “real” ride on Sunday, and I accepted without any hesistation.

Turns out, Sunday’s ride was an ACA Classic hosted ride, which was also a hilly workout, and was 37 miles long. The longest ride I’ve done so far was a difficult 20 miler where I thought I was going to die, and decided the group was way too advanced for the “intermediate” ride I was seeking. I was a little nervous but we took off for Bastrop with our Starbucks in hand. Wow, what a ride…  I often found myself going up a hill in my lowest gear, out of the saddle, only to realize I was traveling a mere 3.6 mph. It was tough, exhilirating, hilarious, and down right FUN. My new girlfriend and I were cracking up, telling stories and sharing bits of knowledge as we huffed and puffed up the hills. “So… (huff, huff, inhale deeply) did I tell you about (huff, huff, huff) my sister’s (huff) baby?” It was a riot trying to talk up those hills, and then yelling against the wind in our ears as we flew down the other sides.

I’m still quite the chicken, braking if I hit 30 mph. The downhills got more and more fun as the workout went on, and I started to feel more in control of my bike while getting less fearful of hitting a rock and flying over the handlebars. A

Eventually we got out of the hilly forest and started down the straightaway. About halfway around the 37 mile path, I got my first flat tire.  Thank goodness it was in the front, though we may have been able to figure it out had it been in the back. Neither of us had ever changed a flat before, but we were equipped with our iPhones and “I can do this!” girl power.   Turns out we had everything we needed: spare innertubes, plastic tire levers (hot pink, of course), CO2 and nozzle, and a mild panic imagining being stuck out on this country road by ourselves for several hours.  Two broken fingernails later, I had a new tire in place with only one major lesson learned: Put the tire on the bike BEFORE inflating it, otherwise it’s tough to get past the brake calipers. Learned the hard way!

The ride back was smooth. We stopped at a little country church so my friend could make a little pit stop and I saw a guy with the longest dreads I’ve ever seen. They probably hit his knees, and they were about as big around as my wrist. They were fantastic! I would guess he doesn’t cut his hair for spiritual reasons, though it’s a difficult thing to make a guess about. I guess I should have just asked him!

After the ride, we had awesome barbeque sandwiches at Billy’s Pit BBQ. I was starving and chowed down on that chopped beef like nobody’s business. After we made it back to Austin, I grabbed another cup of coffee (well hey, my car was parked at Starbucks!) and headed home.

Today I’m starting to get sore and may need a little salt soak tonight. Overall, the biggest thing I’ve noticed is how I am STARVING! I cannot stop eating. Every time I turn around, I’m thinking of what I can eat next to satiate my grumbling belly.  By some estimates, I could have burned a full 1700 calories yesterday, which would lead me to think I’m replenishing supplies. Then I recall that sandwhich, likely a full 1500 calories on it’s own (*completely kidding!). 

My next ride is scheduled for Wednesday, an all ladies ride with Austin Flyers, leaving out of Bike Sport Shop central. Hoping to fit in a swim between now and then. Right now I’m just thinking about dinner!

Updated July 11: I thought this post could use some pics, so I’m adding a few that John took of me riding around the parking lot last month. Somehow I don’t end up looking quite as athletic as I had imagined!