Last February I decided to take on the challenge of competing in the Wildflower Triathlon, one of the nations most difficult Triathlons,which took place in May of 2006. The distance I would cover included a 1.5K (1 mile) Open Water Swim, followed by an intense 40K (25 Mile) bike ride and finishing off with a 10K (6 Mile) Run. I finished this race in 5 hours, since then I have continued to document my journey.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Saturday, March 31st; Cinderella Classic

Who knew that a Century ride could be so much fun?!?!?

Cinderella Classic 2007

I woke up at 4:30AM and realized that I had forgotten to print out the directions to the race so I turned on my computer and started getting dressed. For those of you not familiar with Cycling, there is a lot of stuff you have to put on at the beginning of a ride which you will be peeling off (or leaving on). All of which you need to carry throughout the day.

Here is all that I put on:

Cycling Shorts
Sports Bra
Heart Rate Monitor
Arm Warmers
Leg Warmers
Cycling Gloves
Cycling Shoes
Shoe Warmers
Helmet (goes on before the ride)
Cycling Jacket
Cycling Glasses

Then there's all the Crap you have to carry:
Gu's (5 packets)
Luna Bars (2)
Electrolyte replacement Packets
Asthma Inhaler
Cell Phone
Co2 pump
Co2 Cartridges (3)
Spare tubes (2)
Tire Levers (3)
Universal Tool
Patch Kit
Small First Aid Kit
Wet Naps
Water Bottle (2)
Extra Suntan Lotion

Needless to say, my poor little 16 pound bikes gets loaded down by the time I get everything together and on top of it (including myself). I wonder how that carbon material can be so strong.

I printed out the map, checked, and double checked my gear. I then ate a couple of waffles with almonds and bananas and headed out the door. I threw my floor pump and bike in the car and I drove over to Sabine and Mary's house. First I stopped by Sabines, she was not happy that I had come 10 minutes early. I then called Mary and she also complained about my early arrival. would have thought that I was an hour early.

After getting their gear in the car we drove off to the Alameda County Fairgrounds. We got there very quickly and started setting up our bikes. It took a while for us to get lathered up with Sunscreen and prepared for the day but we eventually did and started riding over to Check-In.
Cinderella Sandy, Mary and Sabine with their bikes
Cinderella is an all women's, virtually flat, ride with lots of volunteer support. There were riders of all abilities, many of whom were dressed up in costume. Because a century ride is not a race, things are so much more relaxed than any triathlon or marathon I've ever taken part in. We checked-in with no rush and waited for Jen Yen to come. She arrived after about 10 minutes, took some before pictures, and started riding.
Mary, Sandy, Sabine and Jen Yen
The beginning of the ride had a few minor rollers but the scenery was so beautiful that I wouldn't have noticed the hills if Mary hadn't decided to pass people every time she approached an uphill. She was starting off fast and I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep up with my friends. After a few miles, my legs started warming up and I had no problem riding alongside Mary, Sabine, and Jen.

Way too soon (mile 17) we hit our first aid station. There was SO MUCH FOOD. The aid station was a virtual buffet of treats. Oranges, Banana's, Mothers Cookies, Fig Newtons, Peanuts, Pretzels, Fish Crackers, peanut butter, jelly, bread... By the time we left, we all had super full tummies. I had also made the mistake of taking off my arm warmers and the arms off my cycle jacket. It got cold really fast. Fortunately, I have great friends who had no problem waiting for me to put the arms back on my jacket. Ah...that was nice.
1st rest stop
As soon as we took off from the aid station, we started cycling through winery country. It was gorgeous. After a few miles I noticed that many ladies were pulled over to the side taking off layers. I thought to myself, these ladies know something that I don't. But I kept going despite my instinct to stop as well.

That's when we hit this long relentless hill. Of course, my friends like to attack hills. I decided that I was just going to get in a nice low gear and catch up with them later. I took my time getting up this hill and quickly saw that my friends were kind enough to stop and wait for me. I stopped to take some layers off and we headed downhill. This is where gravity is in my favor. I blew downhill at 35MPH. It was awesome. After a while of enjoying the downhill, I pulled over to wait for my friends. First Jen came, then Mary, but Sabine was nowhere to be found. Just as we were discussing whether or not we should ride back up the hill to see what happened to her, we saw Giant Sabine with her Giant bike round the corner. Apparently, her chain had fallen and it had taken a while to get it unstuck and back on. We took off and quickly found our lunch stop.

Lunch was huge too. Bagels, Cream Cheese, all kinds of bread, Fresh Ham, Fresh Turkey, all types of cheeses including smoked cheddar, cheddar, provolone, American, Jack... Tomatoes, Kosher Pickles, Lettuce, Mayo, different Mustard's, all the stuff from the previous snack station plus M&M's and cookies. At one point I asked a volunteer where I could refill my water bottle. He actually took my water bottle and walked down the parking lot to refill it for me!!! All I wanted him to do was point me in the right direction.

I'm going to take this moment to highlight how awesome the volunteers were. There must have been 50 Sag's (volunteers driving around the course prepared to help anyone in need) All you had to do is see someone pull over and a Sag was there to see if they could assist. In this entire ride I only saw one woman change her own flat and I saw dozens of flats out there. Most of the Sag's had actual bike mechanics volunteering in case there was something more serious that a flat going on with you're bike. A local bike shop hosted each aid station and was there to assist if there was anything strange happening with you're bike. I have so much respect for the organizers of this race. They really worked hard to put together the best crew of volunteers imaginable.

After a long lunch break, we pressed on. Around mile 30 we started cycling through farm country where we saw lots of cows and sheep (including baby animals). Without even noticing, I had made my way part way up Lemon Drop Hill. The only reason I knew it was lemon drop hill is because someone had posted a little poem about this hill on the way up. This hill was given its name because there is a man who stands at the top handing out lemon drops. As I read the poem, I thought that they must be warning us about this dreaded hill. I only realized that this was not the case as I got my lemon drop. Shortly after lemon drop hill we reached our next aid station. The funny part is that this aid station had a really steep driveway which would prove to be the steepest hill on the entire ride. It was not a big deal to go up the hill but it was quite funny. I really had felt like I just ate so I just refilled my bottles and stretched for a bit while my friends used the facilities.

Sandy's stretching

The last 20 miles were all downhill. My favorite :-)

Before I knew it we were 5 miles from the end of the ride. I was kind of sad. I had so much fun all day that I wasn't ready for it to be over. At the end of the ride we reflected on how much fun the day was and we discussed what costumes we were going to be wearing next year.

Sooner than I was ready, the ride was over. I collected my patch and, of course, grabbed more food. They had the best minestrone soup (with Oyster crackers) ever and the beer was super yummy too.

We walked around the cycling fair and picked up lots of free samples and did some shopping (they had jersey's and shorts for $10). After hanging out a bit we packed up and drove home. All of us fully aware that we are hooked on this race. I can't wait to do it again next year!!!

Sandy, Mary (with the patch), Sabine (with the beer) and Jen Yen


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