“Strength doesn’t come from what you do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t” – Nikki Rogers
Six or more months ago, when Ellyn and I were joking about doing the Titletown Bike tour, over a few glasses of wine, I secretly told myself “yeah right, that’ll never happen”.
But then it turned into a mission when we actually decided to (and then officially did) sign up and ride! I assumed we would do the 80k, and that is what I put on my registration… and then Ellyn told me that she signed up for the 100k. We were doing the 100k! No excuses. No backing down.
Prior to this, my longest bike ride was 68 miles… 4 years ago when Wendy and I attempted to ride the Mountain Bay Trail from Green Bay to Wausau. We made it as far as Bowler and called it a day! So, I knew that, at one point, I could cover the distance, but I have not been biking as much in the last few years.
It was time to prove to myself that I could do it. And apparently this was going to be the year to do it… 2017, the year of 1st. My first Marathon. My first 50k run. So why not add a 100k bike ride!?!? The best way to grow is to challenge yourself! Get out of your comfort zone and make it happen! So we set out to do that!
Leading up to the event, Ellyn and I got a few good rides in together and were feeling confident that we could reach our goal… we were just just sure how long it would take. Since they asked that all riders finish by 3pm, and not knowing how long it would take us, we opted to start as early as we could…. which was 5:30 am.
Well, we ALMOST started at 5am…
Once we arrived at the event and going out bikes unloaded, it was time to stop and get the tire pressure checked once last time before heading out. We officially started our day at 6am.
The Course for this event starts in Howard and heads north, passing the Reforestation Camp and NEW Zoo before continuing on north through the towns for Chase and Morgan (or all the way up Hickory Corners, north of Oconto Falls for the 100 mile ride!)
We spend the next 7 hours enjoying the quiet scenery, dodging bunnies and squirrels and seeing quite a few cranes off in the fields.
You many have noticed that I said we signed up to ride the 100k route, but rode 120k. How does one do that?
First, While enjoying the quiet countryside, we missed a turn just past mile 17. Since we were spread out from the group that started earlier and didn’t have anyone else that was riding near us, we didn’t realize our error until we found ourselves downtown Pulaski… about 3 miles off course! But we were not the only ones! We ran into a trio of riders that were stopped along the road, trying to figure out where they went wrong. We all were looking at maps and phones, quickly figured out what we missed and decided that the best way to correct this was to simply backtrack and find Schwartz Road. So away we went. By the time we reached the next rest stop, which should have been at about mile 20, we were already at mile 26!
Second, there ended up being a last minute course change due to some unpaved roads along the second half of the course, which was adding about 5 miles to the course. We knew this going into the day and had figured, if we were riding 62+ miles, what’s an extra 5? We could live with that… but that was before we made the above mentioned detour.
The last extra bit came as we got turned around coming back into the roads around UHC and actually came in the back way. Oops. but after 74 miles, what’s and extra loop around the buildings! LOL
At one point, I was joking with Ellyn, wondering what time my friend Jenny was going to pass us. She was also doing the 100k route, as a training ride for the Door County 70.3 triathlon the following weekend. She was not planning on starting until about 7am, but considering that she is a much more experience rider, I knew she was going to catch us! It was about mile 28 on the course (mile 33 for us) that she cruised up along side of me. It was nice to ride with her and chat for a few minutes, but then she was off, heading to the next rest stop.
When we arrived at the next rest stop, Jenny was just getting ready to head out. We stopped, and had a few snacks, refilled water bottles and headed back out. We were on the home stretch… 49 miles and still rolling.
I should mention, the rest stops are one of the best features of this event! Stocked with all kinds of fruit options, string cheese, breads (as well and PB & J for those that desire!), and so much more! You will never go hungry during this event! I was bummed that I missed the Pickle Juice Ice Pops along the course… they were there, I just apparently missed them! Oh well, there’s always next year!
I did have most of my own fuel with me, since there is often limited options of what I can actually eat at the rest stops, so I was glad that I opted to wear my Skirt Sports Super Girl tank, complete with 4 pockets! Plenty of room to stash fuel, my phone, chapstick, car key and anything else that I might need! I had enough room in my pocket to carry not 1 but 2 extra baggies with Tailwind in them to mix into my water bottle as needed… and I needed both of them! In fact, next year, I will have to make sure I have more with me, as I had to do the last 16 or so miles fueled with straight water in the bottle.
By the time we got back to United Health Care and the finish line (and the post race pasta feast!) we had ridden 75.2 miles, which translates to 121k. Yup, a bit more that we anticipated but we are proud of what we accomplished!
Overall, we had a awesome morning, had some great conversations and already started making plans for next year! Will we decide to conquer the 100 mile course? That is still up for debate. We both have agreed that attempting the 100 mile course on Hybrid’s might be more of a challenge that we are up for.
Guess maybe it’s time to start looking at new bikes… Is it too early to start my Christmas list?
The Titletown Bike Tour is a local event benefiting the The Breast Cancer Family Foundation, which provides cancer awareness and prevention presentations to over 10,000 Wisconsin students annually. This event is one of the many ways The Breast Cancer Family Foundation is inspiring people in our community to lead cancer-free healthy lifestyles! So honored to have been able to have been part of this amazing event! Thanks Diane and crew for making this event extraordinary!
**I am a brand ambassador for Skirt Sports. As an ambassador, I do receive a discount on merchandise, but I am not paid to mention them in my blog or to wear their merchandise. I loved the brand and the message “Real Women, Real bodies” before I was invited to be an Ambassador. You can find out more about her story and the merchandise on www.skirtsports.com. Some links above are affiliate links and I may be paid a small commission for any purchases made via those links.