My first big ride post ACL/Knee surgery in March was the Stephenville, Texas Firecracker 100–a metric century which is 100 kilometers or 62 miles.
I am happy to report that despite continuous rain the day before and a 40 – 50% chance of thunderstorms the day of the ride that it was a go… and I did finish. There was a race and a ride option offered. I chose ‘ride only’ which is simply an endurance ride on a designated course on public roads. I have no desire at this point in my life to race.
We did get a few raindrops and a LOT of thick drizzle, but that also kept the temp just below 90 which was nice. I started to go flat in my front tire near the 3rd rest/aid station, but the volunteer bike mechanic was right there when I rolled up and changed my tube for me quicker than quick. Rest/Aid stations were set up approximately every 10 miles or so. ALL the volunteers were FABULOUS!
Sadly, one of the cyclists in our group was rear-ended by a car near mile 40. I was a couple miles back when it happened. When I saw the ambulance and all the cop cars with flasher blazing near the top of the next long hilll my heart sank. I think that was the hardest, longest hill I never wanted to make it to the top of. When I got there they had just put her into the ambulance. Several other cyclists were standing around sobbing and talking with the police. I didn’t know at that point if the person was still alive but decided not to add to the confusion so kept pedaling on to the next rest-stop where I received an update when a few other witnesses road up.
As far as I know she is still alive and at the local hospital. There were a BUNCH of witnesses–cyclists and motorists going in both directions–and the police got the person who hit her. Witnesses told me the person was an older female who was extremely incoherent.
As for the course, it was even a little more challenging than I thought it would be. There were a LOT of hills, so many I lost count. Most were in the 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile length (a few went on for about a mile+) but some of the grades were quite steep, exceeding 10%. A handful of riders did drop out by mile 40 and snagged a ride back in the SAG truck.
I started having severe muscle cramps and spasms in my lower right quad (on my good leg) at about mile 35. I was taking my electrolyte capsules, but I really think it was the humidity sucking it out of me as fast as I was getting them down. There were times I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry it was spazzing so bad. But I kept pedaling anyway and I made it! 🙂
It was a great truly fantastic first big ride back after surgery. Challenging, humbling and exciting enough to make me want to do it again! The route was gorgeous, the volunteers were amazing and I ♥ Texas.
Unfortunately, my guys weren’t able to come with me this time so there was no one to take pics during the ride. Here are a few I snapped from the car (of some of the closer in parts of the route):
UPDATE JULY 10, 2010 – I contacted the ride registrar to gather more information on the status of the rider who was hit. I have heard back and here is what she said:
Terri W*** is the ladies name who was injured and I talked to her husband yesterday. She has many fractures and broken bones and is very fortunate not to be paralized. She had a 10 hour surgery on Tuesday to repair her back, and had surgery on her arm on Thursday. She is one tough lady and is going to a re-hab facility today. She is in terrific shape [all things considered] and expects to be back on her feet shortly.
Thanks Tracy for asking about her and thank you for riding with us last Saturday. We love our riders so much and we have been pretty upset(really
upset)that one of our own got hurt, much less almost killed.
For those who pray, I’m certain your continued prayers, good thoughts and positive energy will be appreciated. Terri W is a strong woman, but she no doubt will have a long, tough recovery & rehabilitation.