Day eight was a total of 55 miles of riding, but the catch was that everyone had to be at the check point by 1:30PM so that we could all cross the finish line together. I thought it was pretty unlikely that I was going to be able to manage that many miles in that amount of time, so for the first time in a week we didn’t rush out of camp at the crack of dawn, and a more leisurely breakfast was much appreciated. My lip was in terrible shape, so I couldn’t even kiss APL that day for finish line luck – we had to settle for “nosy-nosy” like we do sometimes with our kids!
After seven straight days of riding, maybe I had improved my speed somewhat, because we actually made pretty good time despite our later start. I think it might have even been possible for us to ride all the way to the checkpoint in time – or at least gotten really close – but then APL got a flat tire, which took a while to change. And then he got another one. And after that it was tight to make it to the checkpoint on time even by sag van! The van ended up taking us the last few miles and dropped us at checkpoint with only about three minutes to spare. We still rode about 44 miles on day eight – but poor APL got flat tire #3 as we crossed the finish line.
I’ve now been to four CCC finish lines, but this was my first time as a rider and I wondered if it would feel much different from “the other side.” While I was really proud of my accomplishment and very happy to be finished, I do have to admit that the finish line generally isn’t my favorite part of the experience. It’s loud and chaotic with a lot going on – and this time the anxiety of almost missing it honestly made the whole experience a bit anticlimactic for me.
In the end I rode 467 miles and did 25,786 feet of climbing – and that is certainly something to be proud of.
To be continued…