So how does one follow up an almost 10k pr? Why they go and cycle 46 miles on the Tour de Toad of course, lol!!!!!
This is a relatively new tour, I believe it's in its third year but unfortunately it's not very well publicized. Which is a shame because it seemed to be very well run. Great volunteers and good food with a challenging route, what more do you need for a tour? Sadly I think the threat of bad weather kept a lot of people away yesterday but it was their loss, it turned out to be quite nice except for the downpour that started immediately after we took off, lol. Thankfully that only lasted for 5 minutes and we had wet road for maybe 10-15 miles after that. Just enough to get you looking all hardcore and stuff with mudsplatters!!!!! However due to the inclement weather, the organizers (wisely) took the 66 mile route off the schedule.
The Conway police department motorcycle cops provided the out of town escort service. Ooh that sounds like we were bad guys being railroaded out of town doesn't it? Yep, lycra'ed hooligans on bicycles, lol. Very cool though, getting to run all the red lights in one big cycling group legally :-)))). I was kinda worried since nobody I knew was riding and it was a smallish group and very few women (3-4 of us?) but I managed to fall in with a group that was close to the same speed that I wanted to go.
It ended up being an excellent ride, as I wrote earlier, very challenging with the hills. Most of the motorists gave us plenty of room, although you always have the handful that are going to crowd you no matter what. Oddly enough, that's usually a few elderly drivers who think we have no business being on THEIR road or the redneck obnoxious guys who just think it's funny to see how close they can get to us.
The cloud cover kept it cool enough to make the majority of the ride a pleasant, comfortable temp, it was only the last 15 miles that the sun started to peek through and it started getting hot. I also ended up sunburned on my shoulders from those few miles :-(. One of the guys started falling back around the 20 mile mark, so his friend slowed down with him. I found out later that it was his first longish ride so he was doing great considering how hilly it was. I continued on with Larry who is from the Memphis area and rides an old Schwinn because his regular bike, a Quintana Roo was stolen recently, grrrr. I'm not embarrassed at all to admit that I drafted off of him for the majority of the distance, lol. He hadn't run a 10k just before!!!
We only took advantage of one of the rest stops and that was the one at around 24 miles. The ladies there were awesome!!!!!! I love people that take their time to volunteer like that 'cause you know it's got to be boring most of the time and they have things to be doing too.
So rest stop done and we tackle the hills again. Larry jokingly asked me if I wanted to make the loop again when we got to the turnoff but I laughingly told him I'd really rather not. I was starting to tire a bit here and so was he and it wasn't long after that the sun came out, blech....talk about a strength sapper :-(. We had the last big hill back just before town and this is where I ended up dropping Larry because I was just a bit stronger on climbing the hills. Sadly we didn't have the police escort back through the red lights so I ended up having to stop at 3 of them amidst all the other traffic. Each time I was dreading it that much worse because my legs would try to cramp up with each stop. I was never sure if I was going to get rolling again. Finally made it back to the church where the tour started & ended and it was such a relief to get out of the cycling shoes and into my flippy-flops!!!!!!!!!
Final stats 46.22 miles in 2:38:59, a 17.4 mph average that was pretty darn good considering my tired legs and all the hills.
I would love to see this tour become better attended, it really does have some great scenery and awesome volunteers. They even had grilled hamburgers and Italian sausages for the riders afterwards and we all know that we do this for the food!!!!!!! Well, that and support the community and great causes ;-)