My First Bike Race

I am not much of an athlete.  Of my family, I am definitely the most bookish and I pride myself on that.  I’ve always loved to read and write and would be much more likely found reading a book than playing football in the backyard.  It’s just the way that I am.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I definitely need movement to keep me sane though.  I need movement to calm me and I need exercise to keep me healthy.  But it’s still not my favorite thing to do.  Sweating is not my favorite thing and I definitely got the sweat gene.  Also, the sun doesn’t agree with me much and so working out outside (which is infinitely more fun than working out inside) can cause me some distress as I worry about sunburn and being too sweaty to get more sunscreen on.

That being said, I did purchase a bike a couple of summers ago.  I purchased the bike and am really glad that I did.  It’s a Trek and it’s a hybrid – as I was too scared to purchase a road bike right off the bat.

All of that being said, I am definitely an amateur.  I don’t ride a ton – I would say that my riding is recreational at best.  And I don’t ride very fast – I would say I am middle of the pack at best.  But I did ride my first race this past Sunday.

The race was held in Binghamton, so it wasn’t far to get there and I was happy to be doing it.  But I was also very anxious.  And I could tell that I was anxious.  The route had a lot of turns and I was worried that it wouldn’t be clearly marked and that I would get lost.

The race has come and gone.  My brother and I (he was the one that convinced me we should do it) beat our goal time of 2-2:30 hours.  We pulled across the finish line at 1:58ish.  So we didn’t beat it by much, but we did beat it.

While I am very glad that I did the race, there are a few things that upset me.

The course wasn’t marked well.  The signs were very little and the arrows on the signs were barely big enough to see when close, let alone in enough time to make a good turn.  The volunteers were helpful sometimes, but some just stood around and did nothing, not letting us know if we were turning by them or not.  And it was very hot out.  Even leaving at 7:30 in the morning, by the end of the race, I had gotten a bit of a sunburn (and I had put on sunscreen!).

Due to my anxiety already being high, I knew that I didn’t prepare correctly.  The point of this race wasn’t to race, it was to just ride as much as I ever had – and to do something with my brother.  There was a point (at about 22 miles out of 26.2) where I almost just wanted to stop and not finish.  I was on the brink of tears and my anxiety was about to get the best of me.  But I pushed through.  And I finished.

The disappointment at the finish line came in the form of the medal that was received.  I don’t plan on keeping it – the medals were chintzy and cheap looking and the medals for the actual marathon runners were much nicer.

The race can – and I’m sure will – be improved for the cyclists and the marathoners.  I am glad I did this and I’m really happy that it came to fruition.  I can’t wait to continue riding this summer and maybe getting faster.  I plan to focus on riding a lot this summer – so we’ll see how that goes.

Overall, I am proud of myself for participating.  I am proud of myself for not giving up.  And I am proud of myself for riding 26.2 miles – the furthest I’ve ever ridden before (even if my brother says that 26 miles shouldn’t be a big deal).

Have you done anything you are proud of lately?  Do you ride a bike at all?  What is your exercise life like?

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