Ah Grate - Stage One
I woke up at , four minutes before my alarm was set to sound off. I had 6 hours sleep, but somehow felt rested anyway… most likely because it had been two weeks since the prologue, and two weeks since I’d been on the bike.
I rarely get sick, but when I do it’s usually something pretty nasty and intense – this was such an occasion. My first instinct was to go back to bed, pull the fuzzy warm covers over my head and forget that I was ever interested in riding on a cold Sunday morning. However I had ample time to talk myself into putting on my cold weather gear. I made a French press of Yerba Mate or as I lovingly refer to it as my “life juice” and headed out the door for my “warm up” ride to Stan’s house. When it was 30 degrees warmer my apartment at Central and Cermak didn’t seem like such a tough ride – this morning my IPOD and I were on the same page: Slow on the upstart and or frozen.
I arrived at
I accepted that I was probably not going to do my best, but I came out to try anyway. This should count for something, yes? This put my mind at ease and shook off those pre-race jitters. I would follow a pack, hopefully stay in it and treat this as a training ride while enjoying the experience it had to offer.
At everyone filed (or fell) down the stairs to head to
Once we got downtown I got a little cocky because I felt as though I was racing home turf. Grated bridges were nothing scary; I deal with on a daily basis. The only bridge I have beef with is the one on
At one point during the downtown portion of the race it got me kind of giddy- Taxis stopped for the pack instead of the normal honking which solo riders seem to attract.
Still a novice I’m becoming savvy with the pack perks that the Tour provides.
Successfully crossing every bridge, we headed back towards
As soon as we approached the
I held my ground. I hadn’t the slightest idea where the finish actually was, and it seemed like nobody else did either. There may have been a couple false sprints due to this.
“Pot hole!” said the person in front of me. “THUNK!” said my wheels. “SHIT!” said I.
Oh wait, there’s the finish. I’d worry about my wheels in a minute.
I had no idea that I was going to be amongst the first females to finish. It came down to Julia, Brynn and me. Still behind the two, I pushed ahead of Julia and rode past the crowd to finish second to the lovely Brynn. I didn’t expect to win and I didn’t, but then again I didn’t expect I’d come in anywhere close to first, so I was pleased. Numb footed and shaky I rode back to Stan’s to warm up and change into the dry top I’d brought with.
Getting the feeling back in my feet took some time, but it was time well spent. I had the chance to meet the first place female finisher, who was absolutely adorable and a very gracious winner. The winners were announced and beer mosas dispersed. I took a sip and quickly gave it away forgetting that I was still being dosed with antibiotics. I did get to partake in yummy vegan breakfast food. Thanks Al and James! They really are the best Cinnamon buns ever!
All in all, it was a good morning.