By Cat Berry
I finally made my first 50 mile ride! It actually turned out to be 54 by the time everything was said and done because we had to ride back to the hotel. The first 20 miles of the ride flew by, literally. I was cruising at 18- 20 mph on a touring bike! It was flat, the weather was BEAUTIFUL, the wind was a crosswind and I felt good. At the second rest stop, I chugged a bottle of water and was ready to go.
A mile or two down the road things began to go wrong. I got the worst stomach cramps I have had since I had my gall bladder removed. I thought maybe it was because I drank the ice cold water so fast, but when it didn’t let up and the pain moved to the right side I started to worry. I was thinking appendix, but I didn’t have a fever and I could still stay upright on the bike so I decided to take my chances.
After coming so close last year (42 miles) and having to stop because of the heat and a broken spoke, I was bound and determined to make it as long as there was nothing wrong with my bike. I did keep going, at about 10 mph for a good 10 miles. I was miserable. Dad stopped and got me to try drinking some Gatorade, but that made it worse. I thought I was going to vomit. Actually, I was hoping that I would vomit because it might have made me feel better.
I struggled up the hill to the picnic area and thought long and hard about taking the SAG wagon, but I decided to keep going up the hill to the 40 mile rest stop. At the rest stop, I stood under the misters and then laid down on one of the cots for a few minutes. That’s when I decided that it didn’t matter if I was sitting, standing or on the bike, it all hurt the same and I might as well finish the ride.
Besides, I wanted to see the planes. Dad always talked about how Sheppard AF base put the planes out on display for the HHH and I wanted to see them for myself. The planes were cool, but the best part of going through the base was having a large crowd of people cheering you on. It was incredible. I had a patriotic moment. Those are few and far between for me but I was proud to have the military cheering for me and I thanked them all as I went by. There were probably 1,000 soldiers out there cheering. It was incredible. I even forgot I was hurting for a little while.
By the time we hit the finish line I was acutely aware it was hurting again. The ride back to the hotel was faster than I had gone for most of the ride. I got back took a muscle relaxer and slept like a brick for three hours. When I woke up my stomach wasn’t cramping anymore, but I was still nauseous. We went to dinner with (most of) the family and after eating I felt better. I still have no idea what caused the illness. It may have been the orange I ate at the first rest stop or something along those lines because it did feel like food poisoning. When I woke up Sunday morning my stomach muscles felt sore from all the cramping the day before, but I had no problems eating. I’m just proud of myself for continuing and finally breaking the 50 mile barrier! Next year 100K.