This was my second year doing the Katy Flatland Century, BUT this was Willie’s first “big boy” bike ride ever. I’ve really wanted him to ride with me but road bikes are expensive. He was kind enough to let me get my bike first. He really wanted to make sure he would love the experience before he dropped that much money on a bike. So we borrowed a bike from our good friends for the occasion.
Luckily, Rodale sent me some books on cycling for beginners which we both looked through. Yes, I got my bike last year but I’m still a newbie. I know nothing about bike maintenance so I was thrilled to get these books. The Big Book of Cycling for Beginners was the biggest help for Willie. This book really broke down the basics of the bike (moving and not so moving parts), gear, technique, etc. I was really more concerned about Willie riding in a group setting and knowing the proper riding etiquette which was also covered in the book. I really made him read that chapter so he knew what to expect and how to react while we were covering the Texas roads. I also liked the chapters on nutrition because it was easily broken down for everyone to understand. Fueling is an important part of any endurance sport and this book covered it extensively. After having Willie spend some time with this book, I really thought he was ready to hit the road.
The bike ride was really fun. Last year, I had a flat in the first mile and I really could have used The Essential Road Bike Maintenance Handbook to be prepared. I knew nothing about the moving parts of the bike or how to fix them. This year, we were off and cycling. We did see a lot of people on the side of the road fixing their bikes and I knew that I couldn’t do that type of stuff but having this book will help me get there a little faster. The handbook talks about all the moving parts of the bike and how to maintain those parts. The brakes, patching tires, brakes, chains and everything in between. It’s just a nifty book to keep with you as a guide to your bikes.
Willie was getting use to the bike in the first 10 miles so he was riding a little cautiously. He was getting a feel for the whole riding culture too so I know he’s glad he did read through the books first. We were having a great time. It was pretty and not too hot yet.
30 miles in he was still smiling. This was the halfway point, obviously, and he was still having a good time. He wasn’t taking in enough fluids though. I did start to worry about that but he was still pushing through. Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about the bike and the shifting of gears. It really helped out because I was able to move a lot faster on this ride. This year we finished the ride in a little over 4 hours. The entire time I was riding I was thinking about eating a sandwich though.
When we made it to an aid station I was looking for PB&J. I spotted it! I had a bite and it was soo good. And there I saw something else I wanted…
You couldn’t keep me away from the watermelon. It really hit the spot on that hot Texas day. By the time we made it to miles 45, it was hot! Everyone was lingering at the rest stops but I was reaching for the watermelon. The best rest stop was the 3rd stop but no one stopped there because it was only 4 miles from the previous rest stop.
Some of the road was rough which made it a little hard to take. For the most part, it was flat but there were some hills to dig deep. I would just grunt and think “sexy legs” as we climbed to the top. It was just really nice to be out there with Willie and enjoy the surroundings. The roads were still live so we had to watch for cars but there wasn’t that much traffic. I never understand the need for drivers to honk when they see you running, biking, etc. It really does nothing!
What a difference a year makes because last year I struggled through this ride but I still had a good time. This year I really enjoyed the ride and that’s probably because I did it with Willie. I was so proud of him because he hung in there like a trooper. He kept up with me most of the time until the last 15 or so miles. I ended up leaving him the dust without knowing it and I had to wait for him. But he still pushed through. His first bike was 62 miles, how freaking amazing is that?
Apparently people think it’s a BIG deal that Willie and I do this stuff together. People think it’s amazing but it’s really nothing to us. Some couples go out to dinner and movie, but Willie and I cook together and do things like races and bike rides as dates. That’s just who we are and we love it. He’s my best friend and there’s no other person I would love to share these experiences with in life.
What do you and your significant other like to do for dates?