When I told Steff that I would, in fact, sign up to ride 300 miles in 5 days with her, there are a number of things I didn't know....things that might have swayed my decision. Here are a few of those things:
- I had no idea how expensive fancy bike gear and special outfits were! Or maybe I did, but I thought "I don't need those silly things! I have shorts and t-shirts - good enough!" Wrong. Turns out those padded shorts that look comical on even the fittest cyclist are necessary - and spendy. It also turns out that if you buy those shorts too big, you will end up regretting it.
- Enter: Chamois Butt'r lotion. Yes, this is a real thing, and yes, it is what it sounds like. It's cream that you rub all over the insides of your shorts to avoid chafing. It, too, is not cheap. The verdict is still out on whether or not this is as necessary as the shorts themselves.
- Those gloves you see bikers wearing? Not just for show! As it happens, your hands get very sore from holding on to the handlebars for hours on end. I now own a $25 pair of gloves that are supposed to remedy that, but really only serve to reduce the pain, not prevent it. They do make me look pretty hard core, though, and that's worth $25.
- I did not know that once I convinced Jeff to join in on the fun he would start using me as a water mule. Because he has replaced his water cage with a water bottle sized iPod speaker (see where his priorities are?), he has no place for his water. That's where the pockets on the back of my shirt come in. On a number of occasions, he has almost run me off the road trying to retrieve his water without stopping.
- I drink more water than any human being ever in the history of the world (this may be a slight exaggeration). I base my bike route on the number of places I can stop to refill my water bottle. I ration oh-so-carefully from stop to stop so that I don't turn into a Thirsty Monster. Occasionally Jeff's water mule has actually consumed his water instead of just carrying it. Today I ordered a CamelPak hydration backpack thing, which should help the situation.
That all said, I totally would have still said "yes" when Steff asked if I wanted to do this. It's a challenge, but it's fun. Tonight I did a 27 mile ride after doing 33 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. My legs are a little sore, but I think I'll be ready by July 26th. I THINK. Fingers crossed!