binary girl: the secret blog




August 5th, 2013 at 16:33

Yesterday I rode a metric century (aka 62.137 miles)! Actually, I rode 64.1 miles, so I kicked the metric’s butt. And the best part is that before this, my longest ride ever was only 37 miles, and I have a cold. So I am pretty frikin’ proud of myself. :D

I was super anxious about the ride going in, because I had planned on doing the climbing part of the route the weekend before, but came down with a pretty bad cold. So, I didn’t really feel prepared, and I’d never done an organized race before, so I was somewhat nervous about getting lost, being slammed in with a bunch of other riders at the start, etc. So, rife with anxiety, I woke up at 4:30 am to prepare (after going to bed at 10ish and getting up twice for a little sickobean Maxie). I took the water insert out of my Camelbak to save some weight (my upper body gets really sore on long rides) and instead threw in some Clif Bars, short gloves, and a bike pump, and put two water bottles on my bike — one with plain water and one with pomegranate berry Cytomax. I wore my helmet, a hair tie of K’s to keep the hair from my face, my long gloves, a short-sleeved jersey with arm warmers, and short-legged biking shorts with leg warmers, and topped it off with my neon yellow windbreaker. For my feet, I did my typical knee-length socks and some normal shoes (I don’t have any biking footgear). I then took Advil and some DayQuil to try to convince my nose to un-plug. :)

At 6:15, Mike (our neighbor) rode on over and we threw his bike in my van and made our way to Coyote Point. It was chilly! I was glad I had picked the clothing I did.

Race start!
Me and my neighbor Mike, ready to take on the Tour de Peninsula!

We took off promptly at 7 to “Bicycle Race” by Queen and made our way out of Coyote Point and through downtown San Mateo. They blocked off 3rd St. for us, but I quickly lost Mike when I had to stop at a stop sign that he didn’t need to (they were waving us through unless there were cars present). We went down Crystal Springs Road, where a family had set up a free “espresso and cookies” stop, and then we eventually joined up to Polhemus Road, where I stopped at the first rest stop, mainly to take off my jacket and change to shorty gloves and to check out the snackage (I didn’t eat anything before the race because of nerves, and scarfed down a Clif Bar while riding). I got back on my bike pretty quickly and took off down the hill towards the 280 overpass, then got onto Cañada, where there was a second rest stop at the Water Temple — and honestly, if I had known the next stop was so close I probably wouldn’t have hit the first (I ended up skipping that one on the way back). I ate some of Buck’s coffee cake and drank a bunch of water and used the facilities.

Water temple!
Happily, the race provided bathrooms so I didn’t have to use the normal ones at the Water Temple… yech!

After the Water Temple it was down more of Cañada, where I met a really nice couple on a tandem who I spoke to for a while. Pretty much everyone who I talked to was impressed (or pretended that they were :D ) that I’d decided to do this ride with so little training on my own, and everyone was extremely encouraging. :D I made my way through Woodside and started up King’s Mountain Road, which was extremely long and tiring. At one point here I was forced to stop by a couple of riders who decided to sandwich me (which is completely insane because I usually ride close to the right… except when I start getting tired and a little veery. But in this case I was not being veery, they were being RUDE!) and again 2/3rd up King’s Mountain, when I just needed a darn break (and stopped where a bunch of other people had stopped). This is where I saw my only crash — a guy couldn’t get going and clipped in at the same time and fell over in the middle of the street, and then he couldn’t unclip his bottom foot so he couldn’t get up and needed help. Anyway, I continued my merry way up the hill and got to the top and BAM! THERE WERE PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SAMMIES!

Kings Mountain at Tunitas Creek
Peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time!

I hung out there for 20 minutes (according to my bike computer). Mama needed some time. At some point up KMR I pushed my arm warmers down and I threw them in my pack here.

Then I headed on up Skyline and to the point where they say to you, “would you like to continue on your 64-mi ride of pain, or take 7 miles off of this ride and not do that loop up there that is very looptastic?” Now, had this been like, 5 hours into the ride, I’d be like, “Uh, yeah, maybe that’s a good idea.” But at this point (at like 27mi, 3.5 hours), I was thinking, “I AM NOT SIGNING UP FOR THIS RIDE AND NOT DOING A FUCKING METRIC CENTURY. GODDAMNIT. TENACITY WILL CARRY ME THROUGH.” So I scoffed and went off towards La Honda Road.

Halfway done!
The people were very nice, but it’s about this time I realize that I’m probably at the very end of the pack. Which is weird because no one passed me and there were a LOT of people at the last rest stop… (and I put my jacket back on). And my face is stern because I can’t see my phone screen.

So I’m tooling around wondering where everyone is, then I have to go down Old La Honda, which was so incredibly cold and foggy (and gorgeous) that my feet went completely numb by the time I hit the bottom. Completely. And my shoulders and arms were REALLY hurting, from leaning over and breaking. I’m glad that I didn’t wear water in my Camelbak but I’m having a hard time hydrating properly because I’m too wobbly to pull a hand off my handlebars and grab my bottles, especially going up or downhill. Then I see Alice’s again and they’ve removed the “go this way for the shorty way” sign, meaning, uh, it’s been long time, I guess, and I head on down where eventually we dump back into Woodside and I confidently made my way, with two of my friends (Webb his friend Jeff), up Cañada, stopping again at the Water Temple…

Water temple again, 44mi
Here they tell me they’re out of water and that the other rest stops are starting to close up. At 44 mi! Ack! I call Brandon to tell him where I am and he tells me he’s with Mike and they’ll see me in two hours. I think he’s kidding but I then think he’s not… since I’m already 5.5 hours in. Jacket: back off.

We rode back out towards 280 and somehow Webb and Jeff missed the turnoff to the overpass, because the guy there was not doing a good job waving (apparently another woman I was riding with later missed it too), so I was wondering if they knew a shortcut since Jeff had done the ride before. I idly thought about the fact that this, when it’s my morning commute, feels much easier because I haven’t ridden 44 miles beforehand, as I go over the freeway and wonder if I’m going to have to walk my bike up the incline towards Polhemus. I decide not to stop at the rest stop there (as mentioned previously) and head down Polhemus, to do the rest of the Crystal Springs loop. The 280 overpass overhead was ENORMOUS and looking up at it literally made me feel like I was going nowhere. Considering the fact that my legs were protesting even the smallest incline at this point, I very well may have not been going anywhere :D Eventually Crystal Springs dumped me at the entrance to Sawyer Camp Trail…

Sawyer camp trail
The last rest stop! Well, at least, that I’ll stop at.

This was at about 6:17 into the ride, I was there approx 5 minutes (time enough to chug some water and eat something), and then I took off down the trail. At this point I met up with a woman who I rode the rest of the ride with. The views here were completely amazing, since the trail travels next to the reservoir and the weather had cleared up completely. Going down the trail was only problematic in that there were a lot of pedestrians there who were not really moving aside for us, but otherwise, it was great until we go to the very end, where I had to get off my bike and walk up the incline towards the dam itself. I am not ashamed to say here that I told that incline to “f*&$ right off”. (So at this point my partner got far ahead of me… but she stopped at the next rest stop and I didn’t.) Then I took off down through Millbrae, stopping at every stop sign even though my brakes started complaining (it was pretty steeply downhill) and my arms were killing me. At the stop light at El Camino she caught up with me again, and we made our way down through Millbrae and Burlingame and I called B on Airport Blvd to tell him that we were almost there.

Since the ride was now mostly unsupported, we actually got lost at the end, with a third rider, but we all went through the finish line and the announcer announced our FINISH!


Done! Metric century accomplished!
Max woke up from his nap for this so he was officially unwilling to greet me at all. Katie and Brandon screamed for me, Katie gave me a huge hug, and Max stood on the sidewalk pouting until I went over to him.

Now, the bummer — they literally had broken down the entire area by the time we got there. The only thing that was still open was the place where you could get a shirt, and considering the fact that this is billed as “not a race, but a recreational ride” (something they repeated at the start line), I was certainly disappointed that myself and all the people who finished after me had NOTHING to do at 2:30pm. Granted, I was totally, and completely exhausted… it was still a disappointment, especially now on Facebook when I see the things that were there for the riders to ostensibly do (REI photo booth, etc). HOWEVER, I am completely entirely stoked that I did a metric century, and super proud of myself!

I drove the kids home while B took off in his truck and realized on the way there that I was absolutely too tired to do any more driving of any kind — in fact, I accidentally fell asleep on the floor of the living room after taking a shower and waiting for B to walk the dogs so we could go out to dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory. I slogged through dinner but I could not open my eyes except by huge force of will.

My current eye status. About to fall asleep in public.
There is a kid on either side of me and I could not care less what they are doing because I’m trying to be awake.

I ran into our swim instructor there, drank a beer, ate some raviolis and ice cream, and went home and climbed into bed. I even agreed to let The Elder Child sleep with me because I simply didn’t care. Unfortunately, I woke up with a migraine (probably from under-hydrating) and my cold seems worse today but WHO CARES!


A shout-out to my husband for not killing the kids during the day, to the kids for not driving daddy to suicide, and to my friends for their words of encouragement.

Strava link and map!

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