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Healdsburg Harvest Century Recap July 23, 2008

Posted by K in Biking, K's Perspective, Pain.

From the better late than never file comes the Healdsburg Harvest Century (herein  referred to HHC) recap.

The boyfriend and I drove up to his parents’ country place on Friday since it was closer to Healdsburg than SF. We got there in the evening/dusk and took the dog outside to play for a bit as it was still sunny and fairly warm.

We got to bed early as we had to wake up at a nice friendly time of 5:00am for the ride. After a fitful night of sleep (boyfriend’s coughing + hot night of no AC or breeze = lack of sleep), my alarm went off at a bleary 4:45am. I got up, got the coffee started, got the boyfriend up and started to get everything ready. We had to take the dog out to be the little poo machine that she is, and to run and play before we left. We also needed to drink coffee and fuel up on delicious oatmeal for breakfast. After we were all ready to go, the doggie kissed us goodbye and wished us good luck. We drove from Cloverdale south to Healdsburg and checked in at 6:30am.

The HHC was a rolling start from 6:15am to 8:00am and the boyfriend and I wanted to start on the earlier side before it got hot and so we could get back to the doggie-pants. After checking in, we both made sure we had everything and we started on our way. We quickly left the town of Healdsburg and headed out to the California “country”. Much of the ride looked like this (that’s the boyfriend up ahead):

And this too (yay CA wine!):

with mountains and sun:

It was 14.9 miles or so from the start to the first rest stop and they were pretty easy. Some nice small rolling hills through the vineyards and just amazing views all around. I thought to myself that if the entire ride was like the first 14 miles, it would be super easy and a wonderful ride. The boyfriend quickly ditched me and so we met up at the first rest stop. I had a banana, did a wee bit of stretching and peed again because I’m a girl. We pee a lot.

We got on our way just a short 5 – 10 minutes after getting to the rest stop. The second rest stop was at mile 37 and quite frankly, the distance between rest stop one and rest stop two would be the most difficult for me. Once again the boyfriend ditched me almost immediately. That second stretch contained the first big hill and though it wasn’t a huge hill, it was still a long enough climb with a slow grade to really kill your legs. I managed to reach the top in one piece and got to witness a little verbal shouting match between two dudes ahead of me which at least made me laugh. At around mile 30, I suddenly got very cranky and very bitter. I mean, after all, I work my butt off training and my boyfriend had ditched me. How was it that I was so slow? I was bitter, hurting, sore, and all around ready to kill someone or myself. I thought that if we didn’t reach the second rest stop by mile 40, I was going to get off my bike and lay down in the road.

Lucky for me, the second rest stop was at mile 37 and as I wearily got off my bike, i nearly collapsed on the ground. The boyfriend was there and he swore to me that he had only gotten in a few minutes before me though I didn’t believe him. I told him I needed food and to stretch. Thankfully, the second rest stop had the most delicious PB&J evar! I had a half PB&J, a handful of potato chips cos I knew I needed salt, a few celery sticks and a fun size bag of M&Ms. I also took three advil. I stretched, relaxed, drank some fluids, and then stretched again. The boyfriend confessed that he was also starting to feel a bit more tired and had a difficult time with that last stretch as well. I stopped feeling bitter about his cycling ability after food and after his confession.

With food in our bellies and Gatorade in our water bottles, we got back on our bikes for the home stretch. I’m not sure if it was the food, the Gatorade, or the M&Ms (I’m thinking it was the M&Ms), but I finally hit my stride and I felt GREAT. I took off. I was powering up the hills, zooming down them, passing people and keeping a great pace. I even managed to pull ahead of the boyfriend but since I’m so nice, I stopped to wait for him and snap a picture:

I felt somewhat better about my cycling ability in the later half of the race. As we finished the last 20 miles or so, it got hotter and hotter. There were some short but steep hills and a few hills that ended near a cow barn or something else equally smelly like a dead skunk (saw two of them). For the record, gasping for breath after reaching the top of a hill is not fun when it smells like skunk or cow poo.  Yuck.

We passed over the Russian River at a point in the last 10 miles and I seriously considered ditching my bike to go for a swim in the river but I knew that lunch was waiting for me at the finish. Seriously, I’m like the horse that knows when we’re heading back on the trail. I pick up the pace and think of the food (no wonder I’m such a piggie).

I pulled into the finish just a bit before 12. According to my heart rate monitor, we completed the 60 miles in just under 5 hours (rest stops and all) and I burned 2525 calories. I finished strong and finished sweaty:

Yeah, i look pretty gross and I have helmet hair. Let’s see how good you look after biking 60 miles. Anyhoo, I was proud of myself and the boyfriend. we had a great time and I even managed to do this ride more quickly than I did the Cinderella ride which made me think that I am getting stronger though I feel fatter than ever.

Here’s my bike:

And yes, I totally chose my biking outfit to match my bike. I’m cool like that. In sum:

* This ride was a fun ride and I would gladly do it again.

* I clipped in for the whole ride. Go me!

* I took some good pictures while riding! Probably not the safest behavior but still awesome to me.

* The lunch at the end was so worth it.

I think next time I do this ride, I’ll do the 37 mile option instead, start a bit later, and hit up the wineries that we passed. Woo for wine!



1. Melissa - July 24, 2008

Woot Woot Kira!!! Man, I got tired just from reading that

2. Tim - July 28, 2008

After almost 4 years of reading your many blogs and never knowing what you look like the first picture I see is with helmet hair. Good job on the keeping up on working out while I sit by and get fat.

3. K - July 28, 2008

Helmet hair is dead sexy, no? 😉

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