Gone Country

Challenge:

Complete 25 miles of the Amish Country Bike Tour in Dover, Delaware.

I was pretty nervous the weeks before the event.

I have only been riding for just over a month now and I have never ridden 25 miles.

Being prepared helps alleviate anxiety for me, so I made sure to have everything I needed for the day of the race.

Bike?

Check.

Bib?

Check.

Backpack? Camera bag? Coconut water? Bottled water? Garmin? MP3 player?

Cell phone? Keys?

Check.Check.Check.Check.Check.Check.Check.Check.

Memory card for camera?

Fail.

When I got to the event, I hauled out my camera bag to snap some photos and was quickly greeted with a message indicating that I had no memory left.

Clearly, because I forgot to put the memory card in the camera.

Oh well.

I wasn’t here to take pictures.

I was here to ride bikes!

The Amish Country Tour offers 15, 25, 50, 62, and 100 mile loops.

I made sure to saddle up right next to the 25 milers.

Before the tour, I was worried that I would feel lonely since I couldn’t find anyone to bike with.

Well, it’s hard to feel lonely when you’re surrounded by 1500 other bikers.

I felt right at home and tried to pick some people that I could follow and pace myself with since I didn’t really look at the map.

The first few miles were exhilarating.

Everyone was having a good time and no one was going all Lance Armstrong on PED’s so it was a really pleasant way to start the ride.

When we hit the heart of Amish Country, I got lost in the scenery.

Perhaps a little too lost.

22 miles later I thought that maybe I did something wrong.

Shouldn’t we have looped back to the start by now?

AND OH MY GAWD I HAD TO PEE 10 MILES AGO.

At 23 miles I couldn’t take it anymore.

I stopped at some strangers house where some fellow bikers were getting assistance inflating a flat tire.

As I sheepishly pulled into the driveway, I overheard their conversation about needing a bike pump.

I think I have one of those, I said.

You do?

Um, maybe, I don’t know.

*The three of us stand around inspecting my bike*

Hmmm.

Is that it?

Yes!

Can we use your pump?

Yes!  Can I use your bathroom, complete stranger?

I threw my bike down and probably ran faster to that bathroom than I had peddled the whole morning.

Ahhh.

Back outside……..

So, um, where am I?

Maryland.

MARYLAND.

I wasn’t even in the right state.

Apparently, I missed the 25 mile loop turn and started following the 62 milers.

Oops.

My new bike pump friends informed me that it was 20 miles back to the start, but I could catch a ride to the Amish School House where the pie was being handed out, and then it’s only a few miles from there.

So me and my new flat tire friend loaded up our bikes and hitched a ride with the SAG truck back to the school house.

The pie line was long.

I went to grab my water for some hydration

and it was missing.

Apparently I lost my water bottle at some point.

I downed my coconut water and continued on.

It’s only a few miles, I told myself.

12

It was 12 miles.

Keep calm and carry on. 

I finished the last 12 miles at a pretty leisurely pace and made it back to the start where people were enjoying hot food, cold drinks, and each other’s company.

I made the final mile long journey home and smiled.

I did it!

I rode 25  30 miles, accidentally biked to another state, used a total stranger’s bathroom, hitched a ride to pie, and went whee whee whee all the way home. 

Some lessons I learned during this challenge:

1. Be prepared

Check and double check that you have everything you need.

2. Don’t be a follower.

You may end up going down a road you don’t want to be on.

3.  Use a map.

Life doesn’t always give you clear directions. Embrace the moments that it does.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Or the bathroom.

Complete the Amish Country Bike Tour as part of the 12 challenges of 2012?

CHECK!

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