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A Century Ride: The Queen Cemetery

At Mile 61 on the Tony Serrano Century ride, I squealed to a stop…

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Was it real? This place?

The Queen Cemetery.

A real place… not just a place in my cycling mind!  Because, well, the Queen felt as if she needed to be put to rest after 61, 81, and 100 miles… WHEW!

…Still… what a great day for a ride!  Perfect San Diego-esque weather.  Breezy, clear skies, lots of Southern charm and pollen.

As we pedaled through town at the start of the ride, one of the observers said the funniest thing EVER.

“Spandex,” he muttered at the hundreds of riders, “Alllllll Spandex.”

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Yoda and I had a good laugh, and we proceeded a ways to the first rest stop.  Wellllll… yes, there was lots of Spandex, it’s true.

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The goodies on this ride, were seriously the best ever.  Pumpkin cookies. Peanut butter and dates. Grape leaves. Homemade pickles (!). Pasta. Amazing. Soo good  (there went my planned Ironman training nutrition plan… snacks!)

Met a few SBM friends.

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And we proceeded to head out of the first rest stop, Yoda and I tried many times to get a good photo opportunity… and we were giggling because this guy on his cell phone kept photo-bombing us. I had to share.  Too funny.

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Finaly, I just let him be in the picture.

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Heh heh.

Then Yoda spoke to some of her friends … we chatted a little, then she mentioned me doing Coeur d’Alene in a handful of weeks.

And I am 92% sure that a couple of guys standing nearby made fun of me…Actually… I saw them mock me. It was crazy.  But then I thought… maybe I’m 92% overly sensitive. Maybe they didn’t make fun of me. (Doubtful. They clearly did.) Maybe I shouldn’t care. And I try not to care. I tried. But I did kind of care.

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I was told recently by a dear friend, “Mere– you put yourself out there. You blog about everything. You need to learn to take the criticism.”   I am trying.  But it’s hard.  It’s easier when someone is typing their mean things; it’s harder when they are standing five feet away.

As we rode, I explained to Yoda… I train hard, and I am in the middle of all this triathlon stuff… so when someone reminds me that I don’t actually “look” like I fit into the cycling or triathlon group—-when someone triggers that self-doubt in my mind—-it’s saddening to me.  I am out there riding 100 miles… and I let someone (who I think turned off at the 65 mile loop)… I let them get to me.  I am at the point in my training and my life… that I think I fit in, that I feel that I fit into triathlon. But sometimes I’m reminded (by myself, by others) that I don’t fit… or I am reminded just how far I have to go.  Which makes me mad at myself… because the truth of the matter is, I am earning my way.  Ride by ride. Day by day.  So in the end, this ride today also reminded me how far I have come.

100 miles.  There is NO version of myself from three years ago that could have conceived of riding 100 miles.  Me. 100 miles. Me. Ironman. Me. Triathlete.

So I moved on, today. I forgot about it. And I enjoyed the ride. Immensely!!!

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Yoda is a great riding buddy.  Seriously, she is the best.  I love riding with her! And I guess she likes riding with me.  Don’t ask her, though. Oh, and check out our shoes. Those are twinsies, baby!

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I was prepared for my nutritional Ironman trial….  and I did pretty well. I did eat lots of the snacks at the rest stop… (bad)… but I also ate methodically, and felt really great the whole ride.

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Carrying the potato was a little tedious. But strange how delicious a heavily salted potato can be on Mile 70.  Weird. But I have given up trying to understand this sport.

Many thanks to the dear Saint Expert for manning the kids all day long while Mommy Rides a Bike. Thank you, dear.  Thank you.

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I still can’t run… but today, the hip feels great. I will swim and elliptical tomorrow… and the countdown continues.  And I am hopeful that the Century ride was just what I needed to push me into the tough, Ironman frame of mind.

No matter what I look like.

23 Comments

  • Debbie

    April 13, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Who cares if you “look” like an ironman. You are the one inspiring so many of us, not the little skinny minnie natural born pros. Keep on keeping on. You inspire us!

    Reply
  • Suzanne

    April 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    My husband has done Couer D’Alene twice and he looks like he belongs. The first time he ran, I was six-weeks post partum with a new baby. The second time, I was fit and healthy and running my own races. The second time, I was fit and healthy and looked like I belonged (even though I wasn’t racing). The great thing is, though, everywhere you look there is an athlete. They are wearing their bracelet and they all look different and they all look terrified and excited on the beach in the morning. And on the course as we were cheering them on, it didn’t matter if they looked the part at the beginning or not. They all showed triumph and heartbreak and pain and utter joy. It just depended on the moment. Just run your race, forget about everyone else, and look for the people cheering on the sideline. They will make you feel it even when you don’t. You have all my admiration!

    Reply
  • Kelly Mac

    April 13, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    You are amazing. I am just know training for my first 70.3-Vineman. I am finally close to looking like I belong but am not even close to doing the miles that you are. What I have learned over the last 7 years of doing tri’s is to not listen to haters. Listen to your heart. You are putting in the time and work. You are amazing. Your stories keep me going, inspire me and many others. Keep it up!

    Reply
  • Elizabeth

    April 14, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Can’t help but wonder if they ‘made fun’ because of ironman in general, not because of how you look. I know people who just think its a crazy/egotistical/unhealthy/irrational/masochistic/obsessive/etc (pick your poison) to take on an ironman. I am 115 pounds, reasonably fit with lots of tris under my belt, yet I have gotten snorts of disbelief, possibly even derision, when I have mentioned it as something I want to do, even within my own family. In fact, i have seen enough raised eyebrows in general from coworkers, friends, and family, that i rarely talk about my ‘other’ life of tri-ing. Sometimes, even the 65 mile weekend cyclist who you assume ‘gets it’ , doesn’t. So, you may assume he was making fun just because of your size, (and perhaps the little weenie was) but, maybe it’s cuz you’re a girl, or who knows what else. All I know is no matter shape, size, or gender, sometimes saying you are going for ironman just gets you snorted at by insensitive jerks. Keep the faith, those of us who have stood at the finish line know that the committed souls crossing that line come in all sizes and can do long distances in times that this skinny girl is still just dreaming about.

    Reply
  • Txcristen

    April 14, 2013 at 12:25 am

    I have often felt that way around the “pro” looking athletes at the bigger tri’s I’ve done, but my friends and I always say “We are doing 10/20/30+ more miles than most people are doing right now!” It makes no sense for other athletes to say a damn word about someone who is out there doing the sport. We readers are pretty friggin impressed if that helps at all!!

    Reply
  • Andrea

    April 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Ignore the naysayers. My first chiropractor went into a tirade when I told him I signed up for a sprint. On & on about how stupid it is, etc. I quickly found another chiropractor.

    I don’t know about Georgia but cyclists & triathletes in Lexington don’t always mix. More than once I have heard snide remarks. So maybe it was just that & nothing more.

    Reply
  • Jesseca Hauser

    April 14, 2013 at 10:28 am

    In one fo the photos I thought I saw a JDRF jersey. I rode the JDRF Ride to a Cure as a team. There are all shapes sizes and abilities but when you ride for a cause it is amazing how no one pays attention to what you look like or what you are wearing. I really enjoyed that ride and I am some asshole made you doubt yourself. Keep Calm and Tri On. LOVE SBM!!! You get it girl!

    Reply
  • Jess

    April 14, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I love how all of your posts are so open and honest. I struggle with the same thing. Why is it that one word of criticism holds more weight than a million compliments?
    Anyway, I’m impressed with how you didn’t let them ruin the awesomeness of riding 100 freaking miles!
    And a potato?! That’s genius!

    Reply
  • Nancy McMahon

    April 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I understand, it’s hard to ignore jerks and not let them get to you. But ‘whatever’, that’s all you need to think about them… I think you are wonderful and inspiring and awesome!

    Reply
  • Angie

    April 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    It’s amazing how all of us are insecure in our own ways! I know a woman who is an amazing runner and decided she wanted to take up swimming because her daughter was a swimmer. She joined my masters swimming group and was in the slowest lane and felt terrible about herself. I kept telling her that it didn’t matter if she was the slowest person in the pool, she was way ahead of all of those people still asleep in their beds. I’d say it’s doubtful that the man who reacted in that way could complete the kind of workouts you do every week!

    Reply
  • Dan

    April 15, 2013 at 6:44 am

    Great job out there!! Those head winds where killer and there’s no way I could have done the 100 miles. You are an Ironman and kicked most of the riders out there, including me.

    Reply
  • Emily Girard

    April 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    This makes my day. When I saw your photos my first thought was she is built just like me! I am 43 and have signed up for my first sprint tri in September truthfully I am fighting my way back into shape and spandex scares me to death

    Reply

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