On Sunday, June 9th, there’s an annual biking event called Sunday in June, held every year on the second Sunday. This is the first year in which I started to get more serious about road-riding, and this was the first organized bike event that I’ve tried. Overall, it was a great experience.
I got there around 8:00, and the parking lots were already full. The event starts and ends at the Century Village in Burton. There were over a 1000 people at this event, and the atmosphere was pretty much the same as one of the many geek conventions I’ve been to, such as Microsoft Build/PDC. Imagine a big geek convention like that, except that instead of IT/Computer geeks, these are all bike geeks. There was music, food, bike mechanics on hand to help get your bike ready for the ride, and a buzz that made me feel excited about attempting to ride a distance that I had never ridden before.
I signed in, got my registration info, and started to stretch in preparation for the ride. I knew I was going to do at least 25 miles, but I could also choose 50, 63, or 100 miles. I really wanted to do 63, but I knew I would really be pushing it to make it to 50. In retrospect that was a good decision. The first 25 miles were fairly easy, except for a steep climb up to Century Village. The terrain was mainly flat, with some nice rolling hills. You did have to watch out for the horse manure, after all we were in Amish country.
After a few snacks and refill my bottles, I headed out for the second half of the 50 miles. The second 25 miles was a lot more challenging. Instead of small, rolling hills, the hills were much higher and steeper. Around the 40 mile mark, I really started to hit the wall. My speeds on the flat ground were slower, my hill climbing slowed, and I was coasting as much as possible. My shoulders were tensing up, and I was very glad I only opted for 50 miles.
One of the coolest parts was seeing all the Amish families hanging out near the road, and cheering us on. Having never been a part of an organized athletic event before, the thought of random people cheering and encouraging us was completely foreign to me. It was very cool to see and it must have been a big event for them to see all of these cyclists in their city.
However, the best part was the end. I struggled to make it to the finish line and was able to just barely make it up the final hill. But I did it. I crossed the line and did it. I parked my bike and just as it was starting to hit me as to what I accomplished, I turned around and saw that my wife had surprised me and saw the finish! It was so cool to see her there like that and have her support. I had inadvertently ridden right along side her car, as she was stopped in traffic waiting to park in the city square. I hadn’t even noticed that as I was riding in. Frankly, I was just trying to keep moving forward towards the finish line.
There are a few other cycling events in this area this summer that I plan to do, and I hope they are as fun as this one was.