Today was pretty awesome, and pretty painful! My ESM teammate Johannes van Overbeek arranges an 80-mile bike ride each year from San Jose, CA to Monterey, CA in advance of the American Le Mans Monterey Presented by Patron race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This year, since I'm a newbie cyclist and extremely overly ambitious, I decided I'd take up the challenge of joining the ride and having some fun! So I had my boys from The Racer's Edge cycle shop, in Boca Raton, FL ship my bike to California and then flew out to meet the boys.

Let me preface this story by saying I did absolutely NO prep for this ride. Although I intended to for weeks leading up to this point, various circumstances, travel, hurricane-like winds and torrential downpours seemed to keep me off the bike for nearly the last two months. It's amazing how every time I'm actually home (which is VERY rare these days) and ready to get on the bike, mother nature ensures there's no chance of it happening...

So back to the ride - Holy-shmoly it was tough, but what an amazing experience! The roads and trails we took had breathtaking views and enormous elevation changes - something we definitely don't have in Southern Florida! As you could imagine and as I definitely dreaded, the uphill climbs were amazingly painful but I managed to conquer them - or, at least every climb that I attempted. There was one section that was very steep and then turned into a dirt road. All the boys suggested I hop in the van for that one, and I gladly accepted their advice and avoided the opportunity to fall off the side of a mountain and plummet to my death! Incredible scenery through those mountains, however!

What goes up, must come down... Since we were at the top of the mountain, we now needed to go down. I don't know what any of you think, but I certainly have NO desire to speed down a mountain, on public roads, with only spandex and a plastic helmet on, WITHOUT AN ENTIRE RACE CAR AROUND ME! A bike? Are we serious? 30MPH down the hill was my maximum comfort level, and I was riding (and melting) my brakes the whole way down. I don't need to wind up as road kill - I have plenty to live for, and I expect to! The group left me in their dust (and I was just fine with that).

Another 10-mile stretch after the downhill and a head-wind was all I could handle. I was spent. Maybe I didn't complete the infamous 80-mile ride, but I did do a solid 52 miles! And with plenty of elevation to boot! I'm proud of the job I did given how little I've ridden since getting this bike, and I'm excited to keep riding and conquer the entire 80-miles next year - and do it in style!

As for my body? Not too shabby, but I'm not going to be able to SIT for days!

Here's a little data from the ride: