Friday, June 6, 2014

#378 Note To Self...

Do you ever commit to things and later on think, “What was I thinking?”  I had just that experience last weekend.  In January I signed up for a bike ride from North East, Pennsylvania to Niagara Falls.  If you a map, that’s 100 miles, or a century as we crazy cyclists like to call it. 

I met a great couple a few years ago, Patti and Chris, who live in Erie and they told me about Roger’s Ride/Niagara Century.  When I signed up I was not planning to do another bike ride and it sounded like a pretty ride.  I mentally reasoned I would have plenty of time to train.  No sweat! 

As the months rolled by and the winter of our discontent raged on, I found myself with less and less time to train.  Then work and other obligations took priority.  Then it was May!  When nicer weather emerged, my thoughts turned more to yard work than biking.  (I usually don’t start riding until June.)  I rode 30 miles May 3 and 35 miles May 10.  Felt pretty good, but that is short mileage.  The next Saturday I didn’t feel like riding so decided to taper.  (Ha)  May 24 I rode 30 again.  I meant to go longer, but again, didn’t feel like spending all day on the bike.  I reasoned that the route was flat and I am pretty active so I would be ok, just a little sore.  But in my head I was saying, “Note to self:  do NOT sign up for a century in early June ever again.”  

Here’s how the ride weekend went:  my bike friend Bob and drove to Erie Friday afternoon.  We had dinner with Patti and Chris at a great Italian restaurant in town, Mi Scuzi.  We were up early Saturday morning to meet the group in North East.  The ride averages 20-30 riders but this year topped out at 62.  We took off at 7:30 a.m. and rode along Lake Erie toward Buffalo, NY. 
If you look closely, you will see a bra hanging on the side of the left sign post.  Someone had a great time on the state line! 

All the short men in NY live on this road.  Let's get out of here! 
 The weather was perfect.  The scenery was so pretty.  I have never seen so many grape fields in my life!  We rode over the Peace Bridge to Canada (Cheers, Steve!) in our own lane (they shut it down just for us) and then rode on to Niagara Falls.  Arrival time:  approx.. 8:45 p.m. 

I’ve been to the falls before, around 20 years ago.  It is a wondrous site, but when you’ve been on a bike for almost 14 hours, and the temperature drops what feels like 20 degrees as you round the curve past the falls, and your friend has your bike jacket and knickers in his bag because he rode ahead of the group and you’re freezing, you don’t look at it too much.  I glanced over once or twice, shivered many more times and kept pedaling toward the hotel. 

Once we secured our bikes and got our luggage off of the truck, we quickly showered and our group of six headed out for dinner at 9:30 p.m. at Remington’s. 

Even though we were dead tired, we had a fun time with Patti and Chris, and their friends Julie and Greg.  It was Julie’s first century, so cheers to her too!  My head hit the pillow at midnight.  Overall, I felt better than I expected.  Shoulders a little sore.  Bum a little sore.  But not too bad for a 45-year old!  I later heard a 20 something young lady was so tired she went right to bed and didn’t eat.  Food is one of the priorities of my life, so couldn’t skip that.  The Donger need food! 

The next morning I biked down to the falls by myself to see what I missed the night before.  So pretty! 

The group rode 16 miles further north to Niagara On-The-Lake.  We changed clothes and put our bikes and bags on the truck, then walked into town for lunch at the Shaw Cafe and Wine Bar We sat on the upstairs patio.  It was perfect!  The colors seemed so much brighter in Canada.  The flowers more colorful, the sky a perfect shade of blue.  Oh, Canada! 

After lunch we got on the bus for the drive back to North East.  We stopped at the duty-free store but I didn’t get anything.  We arrived at North East at 6 p.m.  Bob and I packed up his car and drove back to Indy.  My head hit the pillow at 1:30 a.m.  O.M.G.  What a whirlwind weekend!  (Note to you all – the reason I drove back home is that I am low on vacation days.)

As I do on all my riding adventures, I met some great people.  This time I even earned a couple of new nicknames.  The father of the 20-something woman I mentioned earlier walked by me one day and said, “How’s it going shortcake?”  It made me laugh.  I told him I liked that name and asked him, “Should I call you beefcake?”  The next day he called me slim chicken.  That made me laugh too.  And that’s what these rides are all about.  Meeting fun people.  Seeing parts of the countryside you’d never see in a car.  Eating great food (and a lot of it).  And having lots of laughs. 

Note to self:  next time, do the ride when you have more vacation days and extend the weekend fun! 

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