A couple weeks ago it was supposed to hit 70°. Prior to that a week or two before that was warm as well. I thought that that was probably the last good day before the winter made its mark and decided to stay so it was time to take full advantage of it.
I loaded up my bike to hit the VirginiaCapitalTrail. This trail has been a focus for several months. It's a nice solid even trail over 50 miles long. This trail runs from Jamestown Settlement to downtown Richmond.
I am an amateur cyclist. I have ridden topping off at only 12 miles. Mostly off road and strictly on a mountain bike. A mountain bike weighs more, requires more effort to pedal and doesn't reach the speed of a road bike at least with any real ease. Maybe these are all excuses but they are tidbits I have heard, and again I'm an amateur.
I started at mile marker 0. No pressure! I can do this. I am so excited. I have my water bladder for hydration, my phone is locked onto the bike (extra battery packed too), helmet, sunglasses, cycling gloves, fruit and a protein bar! I think I'm as prepared as I could be!
Along the way each mile excited me more as I passed it and got closer to the end. The trail was such a great surface.
I picked the perfect time of year and day. The temperature was just right. It wasn't too hot or cold. I did run into some strong wind at the end but in the beginning I was completely comfortable. Our fall comes later so I was able to catch the colors on this mid November ride.
The trail took me over bridges big and small.
The water views were the rewards.
I am not sure at what point of me taking pictures did I realize that it was taking time away from me finishing. This was never a race. It was my first time. I had nothing to compare it to so there was no record to break.
There was so much history to see on this stretch. Plantations, the home of a past president and other history markers declaring momentous acts!
So many signs so little time to read. I started the trail at 10:45 am. I was planning to make it a 4 hour trip. I exceeded it by an hour. I stopped at two main trailheads to stretch and go to the bathroom.
It was always so reassuring to see how close I was getting. The signs were in addition to the mile markers. I never really felt alone and isolated either. There was always someone coming from the other direction, passing me or cars on the nearby road.
I'm almost there. When you have ridden 40 miles and you see that you are here. It's truly amazing, such an accomplishment, such a feat!
I will not lie and say I was not in pain. The week working up to this day. I had rode he 12 miles and another day 4 miles, I had ran a couple random days as well. That was the extent of my training. I do know that I have the endurance. So not completing the trail wasn't an option. My legs hurt particularly my thighs and around my knees. My butt had been lost some where around mile 20 something. It was so numb and I couldn't use one leg long enough to give either a rest or my butt.
I pedaled on. I hit a strong wind after that last trailhead and already exhausted that I couldn't even motivate myself anymore. I had did multiple stretches at that stop but nothing was enough. I had 12 miles left I had to keep going; there was no way I wasn't going to finish!
I knew there were supposed to be more hills on this end so I was slightly prepared. I laughed hysterically at them when they popped up. I still pedaled on.
Then on one hill I saw the city. The sun was starting to set. It was so pretty and what a relief. I had made it. I was done. I had did it!
My husband was parked shortly after marker number 50 so I didn't hit 52.1 which is the whole trail but that's ok. Hek, had i known he was right there I would have snapped a picture of me and 50 but oh well I guess that will have to be next time!
What did I learn from this trip? That I was as prepared as I was going to be. That I could do it. That alone time is nice. That being alone is not scary. That I am independent and can do things bigger then me. That even when told I maybe shouldn't try it that I can try it and see what happens. This was probably my biggest and definitely last accomplishment for he year but I'm so happy with it that that's fine by me.
Next time of course I will beat my record because of the sheer fact I don't need to take so many pictures.
I also must add. Although I was sore that night. The next morning I was completely fine. I woke up and waited for alarms to go off in my body and nothing did. I sat up and moved and all was actually just the way it was before!
I have already looked to see where else I can ride and I saw a 100 mile race. I am not sure I'm ready for that just yet but I would like to continue riding my mountain bike and get a road bike and have the ability to ride either.
Have you completed a final item for the 2016? Do you have a big goal for next year?