We arrived at the start and once again dropped our bags off to be delivered to us in Middleburg Heights and picked up our bikes where they had been locked up overnight in the tennis courts. The start on Sunday morning was much less orchestrated than Saturday. You could start anytime after 7 whenever you were ready.
My strategy for the day was to hang with the Spinners for the Cure team. I just wanted to finish and knew they would help the miles fly by. I was told to give myself 10 miles to warm up and eventually my bum would go numb.
The weather was chilly and overcast. I prayed the rain would hold off as long as possible.
|I met this handsome fellow, Titus, before the rain|
As long as possible ended up being around mile 108ish. It came down lightly at first. Then a complete downpour. We got drenched a couple of miles out from lunch. Lunch was inside which is good to get out of the rain...but inside an air conditioned building. I was freezing. Thankfully Chris had an extra jacket he gave me that warmed me up and I was able to wear it for the rest of the ride. Everyone was checking the radar at lunch and we waited until we knew it was letting up for a little bit. We were hoping to dodge the downpours.
Getting going after lunch was hard. For a split second I had thought about quitting as I sat at lunch shivering, but I knew I wouldn't forgive myself. One of the hardest things was that I hadn't seen Marc since we started. I was worried he was mad, had stopped, got a flat, was caught in more rain than we were, etc. Right as I got back on my bike after lunch Melissa came up and told me that Marc was with her husband Jason and they were riding with a team of about 40 cyclists and doing well. They had arrived at lunch about 40 minutes before us and he had told her to tell me that he loved me, was proud of me and that he was going to sleep while I drove home. Relief swept over my body and I knew I could finish at that point.
Andrea gave me a shower cap she had from the hotel the night before to put over my helmet. Brilliant! This kept the rain from going down the vents and dripping down my neck and face. And I'm sure I looked even prettier, ha!
I stayed positive and thought about all of the runs I had done in the rain - and knew they had helped me mentally to prepare for this. The rain stopped and we almost dried out and got a little warm...then it started again. At the second to last rest stop we decided to skip the last rest stop (there were 3 after lunch I believe) and just head straight for the finish. At some point with 10-12 miles left I ended up on my own. When my odometer hit 152 then 153...I started getting mad that they were making me do extra miles. Finally after it hit 154 I could see the finish! Our SAG crew and riders who had already finished were huddled under a tent and umbrellas cheering me in. I was so happy to see everyone - including Marc waiting for me!
Marc had already put me on the list for a massage! There was a wonderful meal of grilled chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and corn. That might have been the best baked potato ever.
After eating, a massage and chatting with everyone a little more we headed back to Cincinnati. Marc even drove some of the way! We stopped a few times on the way to stretch our legs (and get a coffee - I still wasn't warm!) The heated seats in the car became my favorite invention ever.
We finally arrived home around 10:15, unloaded the car, got our wet stuff in the laundry, showered and finally headed to bed. What a loooong day. It was well worth it though!