|Looks fun huh?|
I don’t normally do races out of town; I am about having fun riding my bike kind of
girl. I thought it would be good training to do this 107 mile race which turned out
to be 109 for me.
I went down with my friend Shane and Emmy. Emmy was our sag in case we needed
a ride back at the sag. We got to Stillwater after many eating stops for Shane. Ha!
I don’t know where he puts all the food I only wish I could get by with it. We went
to District Bike Shop to check it out. We had a good time seeing so many people
and so many Emporia people. I had heard there were about 20 Emporia people
coming to the race. It was time to check in and more and more people were getting
to town. Bobby Wintle gave us his warm welcome and was excited to see everyone.
Little did I know what the hills were like. I was told that there was nothing worse
than hill D in the DK 200. Wow; someone didn’t tell me the truth. (Shane Heiman)!
We went back to the hotel and got checked in and it was full of bikes. It was
fun to see what everyone was riding. We went to dinner and after we returned I
was ready to get everything prepared. The others went out that evening (I’m old
enough to be their Mom’s) but I was perfectly happy making sure all my bottles and
everything was lined out for Saturday.
It’s time to ride! Bikes loaded everyone in the street. It was a little chilly that
morning and if you know me I come prepared. I hate being cold. It was suppose to
rain that afternoon. I believe it was 40 % then the next hour 50% all the way up
to 100%. It didn’t look good for me. Now the fast people they probably would be
ok but I knew I was going to get wet. So as a prepared person I had a rain jacket
packed in my camelbak. I didn’t want to be cold and wet out there waiting for a
ride. The race took off and they were fast I was about ¾ of the way back. I am not
fast but I have endurance. I was next to several of my friends. Steve Wiser was
there and we got a chuckle out of his matching kit. Ryan Dudley was next to me and
the poor guy forgot all his warm clothes. He was freezing and even admitted he
lost the feelings in his fingers. I offered a jacket but he said he was ok.
After we left town we thought we saw a big fog cloud but it wasn’t, it was when
all the riders hit the gravel it was a big dust cloud. It was now on and time to get
serious. I was having trouble with my clips and the first big hill my foot slipped out
and I lost all my power. I had to walk up the hill. Everyone was so nice and asked if
I was ok. I was just going to have to be ready for it the next 100 miles. At the top
of the hill was Jim Belford and he was kind of enough to check on me. He saw me
at the bike shop working on my shoes before we left Emporia. If you have been to
Emporia you have to visit High Gear, the best bike shop around with the best group
of people! I let him know I was ok when he heard me say, “already Bobby”! That’s
right Bobby Thompson already had his first flat at mile 5. Jim asked if he was ok
and we went on. I caught back up to Ryan when his phone rang at mile 15 I said I
would meet him at the top of the hill. Ryan told me it was his wife Denise. I said
what is she doing calling you in the middle of the race? Ryan told me he had been
checked out by an ambulance 2 nights before for high blood pressure. I was then
very worried about my friend. My race mind changed and decided to ride with Ryan.
At least I knew what was going on with him if something happened. Ryan is a friend
of mine and from that point it wasn’t about finishing fast it was about staying with
my friend and making sure he was ok. If the table was turned I know he would do
the same for me. That is what kind of person Ryan is. At the top of one hill Ryan
said be careful of this hill, (I thought what are you talking about?) no one told me
about the scariest hill I have ever seen in my life!!! Well I rode down it and kept
saying this sucks. I had my right break on as tight as I could get it. I then said to
myself I hope the left break works because I have never tried it before. At one
point I was sliding sideways. I was still going over 13 mph and I didn’t want to go
that fast on all that loose stuff. They guy at the bottom of the hill was laughing.
When I looked over to my left it wasn’t Ryan I was talking to all the way down the
hill. The guy said to me I agree that sucked! Ryan and I got a good chuckle out of
Ryan was having leg cramp issues. I was the cheerleader and kept cheering him on.
I feed him some of my Shot blocks with salt trying to help. We picked up another
rider from Stillwater who was doing his first century. We thought the check point
was at mile 54. Ryan pulled over at mile 53 and said to go on he was looking for a
tree. I rode on and there wasn’t a town in sight. I ran into Keith Reed several times
that day. He is like the Welcome committee at Stillwater. He was taking pictures
and having a great time. He told me the town was just over the hill. Well there was
a town but over the next 5 miles of hills. We laughed and I was thankful when the
check point came at mile 59.
I pulled in and got my map and they were cheering at the check point. I thought
that was funny. I couldn’t see very well because it was misting and a truck went by
me then my glasses were muddy so for about 4 miles before the check point my
vision wasn’t very good. I saw Emmy and said I was going to the gas station to get
water. Gary Sadowski and his daughter were there. They offered me some water
and were kind enough to fill my bottles. I ate a Snickers because I might have been
turning into a Diva. I was there for about 5-8 minutes. I can’t stop long and sit
down or I am done. I’m also not fast enough to take a long break. Ryan decided to
take a long break so I went on.
I rolled out about 1:30. I had only ridden about 5 miles when I saw a guy having
issues with his tire and tube. I asked if I could help and he said only if you can
patch my tire. I said I sure can I carry a purse on my back and have everything a
girl needs I pulled out a rubber boot and he was happy. Didn’t get his name but he
was from Springfield, Missouri. I never saw him again that day, I hope he finished.
Well it wasn’t long before the dreaded leg cramps showed up. I was walking up a hill
and a jeep pulled up. That jeep crew was everywhere and so friendly. They thought
I needed a ride and I told them no. I normally carry pickle juice with me which I
despise!!! Note to self I need to carry it at all times. Came upon a town I think, I
never saw anyone but a guy walking towards me. I was once again walking because
of the leg cramps. It was Jim who was part of the race. He told me about a change
in the road markers and I rode off again. Then at about mile 90 ish there was a
tent serving drinks and candy bars out in the middle of nowhere. I got a drink with
electrolytes to help with leg cramps and I was off again. Jim informed me you
got this not much further and you can do it. I have now discovered that Jim was
probably laughing on the inside because there were more and more hills to come
and they were hard. At mile 95 there was a row of port a potties. I was so excited!
I looked through 5 of them until I found one with toilet paper. It took me a while
because I was stomping one foot in there to make sure there was no mice, snakes
or spiders, finally it was safe to go in. Keith Reed pulled up on the road when I was
going in. I figured he was taking pictures of my bike outside the port potties and
laughing. I later learned they were saying how long I was taking. They didn’t know I
was checking for critters and had many layers on.
Mile 99 I get a text from my friend Troy Ochs, it said, “Are you ok”? I knew he
would be worried about me so I pulled over to text him back. I can’t see without my
glasses so I put on my dollar pair I carry on my bike. Since I was stopped I decided
to take a picture of the hills coming up. They were not stopping. My text was short
and sweet and said mile 99. Troy is a very kind person who would do anything for
you. He told everyone where I was at so they were expecting me. I pulled into town
and pulled out my map. A nice person from Stillwater told me to go 2 stop lights
up and take a left. That is when I saw the markings on the road. Then the guys
from the tent drove past me all excited and said I was almost there. I then had
to pull out my map again because there was a lot of traffic so I couldn’t see the
marking on the road. I was at the corner of Duck street, my cue sheet said to turn
on Duck street. That is when I saw the marking and I was just a few blocks from
the finish line. I made another turn and that is when I saw the finish line.
Here is the best part of the day, everyone was screaming and so excited to see me you
would have thought I was the winner. I was smiling ear to ear and was so glad to be
back in town. What a great welcome for a slow but steady rider.
Now those were the toughest hills I have ever seen in my life! I didn’t blast down the hills because
at the bottom was sand and I was fish tailing in them. I have a rule that I don’t like
to break. I don’t go down hills over 25 mph because I believe at my age I can break
something or bleed very badly. I did break my rule and hit 33 mph one time. It took
me longer then I had hopped but it is all about finishing it. I can say I did it. I was
scared to death but I DID IT!!!
On a good note, Ryan has been checked out and no
more high blood pressure one might think he remembered the hills from last year
and that spiked his blood pressure!
Photos courtesy of 241 Photography, Troy Ochs and myself.
Congrats Angela! Thanks for sharing your story. See you at the end of May!