Remember several blogs ago when I expressed the need for a challenge that would truly kick my butt? I wanted to find my breaking point just to know how much I could actually take. Well I'm not sure but maybe yesterday was it....you decide.
I knew that a bike ride out to Bartlett Lake would be the ultimate test of physical and mental strength. Every person I told about my desire to ride this loop thought I was crazy...it's REALLY hard, is pretty much what I heard over and over. In fact I think everyone else BUT me thought it may be to soon for me to try this ride. I never doubted myself coming into this. I am stubborn enough that I would walk all 40 miles if I had to just to prove that I could do it! Nevertheless, yesterday was it - the ride to Bartlett.
Dave drove his SUV out to Horseshoe Lake and mtn biked up towards Anthem for what turned out to be 50 miles and nearly 6 hours for him. WOW - imagine 50 freakin miles on your mountain bike! Something I have ZERO desire to do. Anyway, my plan was to ride my road bike from the bottom of Pima and the 101 to Bartlett and then drive his SUV to pick him up in Anthem. We had a plan, and I had a "rescue plan" in case something happened and I could not finish.
I felt really great leaving. My ride up Pima was pretty easy and I kept a steady 10 - 12 mph pace. Then I had a flat. I was prepared for this...but what I WAS NOT prepared for was how beat up, and cut up my tire was. This tire would not make it to Bartlett and now I'm in a situation. I absolutely refuse to call for help. I will finish this. I contacted my friend S.M. who found me a bike shop in Carefree....great news right. Well, it's on the opposite side of town which means a nice ride down hill gives me another 10 miles UP hill back to the start at Pima and Cave Creek Rd. I lost over an hour but left the shop with two new tires and tubes. I was ready to roll again. (shout out to the guys at Flat Tire Bike Shop - they were really awesome)
Let's get serious here...this was the most mentally challenging ride, or workout, that I have ever done. Being alone and the cars are either zooming by or it's totally silent really takes a toll on your mind. The ride up Cave Creek Rd was the longest and hardest ride of my life! In fact, I walked some of it. I would ride for 15 minutes and then walk for 15. Then I would ride for 10, walk for 15. Mental games got me through it...and the hand of my Heavenly Father.
I finally made it to the Bartlett Lake turn and I was home free. I knew I had 17 miles to go and I was thinking about the air conditioned car, a tall Coke and getting to Dave as fast as I could because I knew his ride was harder then mine...but that 17 miles was steep so I walked/ride the entire way. Scared to be alone and fall off my bike for the birds and bugs to eat me, I said a prayer...."Lord, if today is the day I die please save my soul and bring me home. And please let Dave, Windy, Brigid or Vickie know that one of them needs to do Ironman on my behalf. Amen" :)
I walked and rode and finished my ride around 1:00pm. I never sat and rested (except when my bike was getting fixed), I never cried and I never picked up the phone to have somebody come and get me. I said a lot of foul words and foul word combinations and I savored all of the things we take for granted daily when I finished....like that air conditioned SUV, the Coke and the company of my friend and trainer Dave (who I was worried about all day).
Will I do it again - NEVER! But I'm glad I did it once....