As for the Rapha Festive 500 (a Strava Challenge to ride 500km in 8 days, from Dec. 24th-31st), it started out badly. I had a flat and had no air to inflate my tire. I had to call my husband to bring me some air. Then, the next day, I had two flats! At least this time I was prepared with two tubes and a pump. Still, I didn't complete my planned ride. At that point, I saw a pattern emerging, and it wasn't good. I came home and swapped out the rear Gatorskin tire for a Gatorskin Hardshell. That solved the flat problems. The third ride was a Team Night Ride. It wasn't as long as usual, but we did a route we have never done in the dark. It was great to do something different. I got up early the next morning to meet Jean for a ride before she had to be at work. That was another 49 miles for me.
Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised when three other gals showed up for the Team Ride. This gave us the opportunity to do a women-only ride. We told the guys not to wait for us, we would do the route, but at our pace. We had a great ride, and even altered it to give us a few more miles.
Sunday, I was thrilled when Jean asked if I would like to join her and Ron for a 75 or so miler. We headed south and west to Porter, then to Malone, and over to McCleary. From there we did the reverse of part of the route I had done the day before (I had even told the gals, the day before, that I prefer the route in the opposite direction--lucky me, I got to do it!). Ron did a great job keeping my heartrate in the targeted zone for this time of year. I do so much better when the leader rides nice and steady! Even the few hills were not lung-busters (yes, I mean lung--legs are not usually the issue). By the time I got home I had ridden 81.2 miles and was a mere 9km from finishing the Festive 500. I could even take Monday off!
Just getting to the park for the start of today's ride put me over the top. Chip scheduled a New Year's Eve Day ride. At first it seemed it would just be Chip and I, but then Mark showed up. Then, joy of joy, Lauren pulled up! Yay! I would not be the only gal! Even though Lauren is much better than I am, I knew I at least stood a chance at not getting too far behind. Plus, I like riding with Lauren, and I don't get to often enough.
We had a great ride joking around with the guys (they thought they should go faster because we were still able to talk while keeping up behind them--Lauren informed them that women can always talk!).
I finished the Festive 500 at 567km. I finished 2013 with a lot of great rides and tours! I was able to both tour and race. Racing gave me the fitness for touring, and touring fulfilled my need to see new places! All in all, a good year! Now, onto 2014 with more racing, and a tour of Europe!