Last night, Jenny came over and we went bike shopping before meeting Alyssa for Pho in Schaumburg. We went to a new place and it was fabulous. We tried spring rolls and I had beef ball and sliced beef loin pho. It was the perfect pre-ride food.
Next, Jenny brought me this shadowbox for my 70.3 Ironman Racine mementos. I think it turned out really nice! I'm going to eventually buy all the official photos, too, but that will be a battle for another day.
Jenny bunked at my house and we got up at 4:45 a.m. to leave the house by 5:15. We made the hour-long drive to Lake Forest and had no issue snagging a great spot. We racked the bikes, picked up our packets and shirts without incident and met up with the Chicago Running Bloggers for a photo.
I also met with my fellow Venus de Miles ambassadors. While I received a comped entry for my involvement with the ride, the opinions are 100 percent all this kid. I did the inaugural Illinois Venus de Miles ride last year and loved it so much that I started working with the organizers to improve upon the event.
|Jess, Erin, Alyssa, me, Lauren and Amanda|
The ride started a few minutes late because Trek was negotiating a trailer near the start line. No biggie, it's a ride, not a race, so I was raring to go. Jenny, Lauren, Erin and I set out for our 60-mile jaunt and found ourselves at the first of four rest stops. The rest stops were catered by Whole Foods and had amazing food. I actually overheard a woman say, "I actually gained weight on this ride last year." True, true. We had a few snacks and hit the road again.
There were a few bumpy patches and certainly a few hills. My Garmin told me I hit 29.4 miles per hour, but the bike computer topped off at more than 30! I didn't even crash ... except for at one of the aid stations. A rider stopped suddenly and I veered off, righted myself, then fell on the other side. Sigh. It's not a ride without a new bruise, I suppose. We also got yelled and honked at near Lake Zurich, which was annoying. I wore my hydration pack, which was nice to have water on demand, as well as a place to stash all the goodies I collected on my ride.
We made it back into Lake Forest College just after 1 p.m. for a total ride time of 4:30. The morning was chilly and I was glad I had arm warmers, but when we got back, it was quite toasty. The finish line this year was a bit strange - we looped around past the bathrooms and there wasn't any fanfair, which is fine, but a bit anticlimactic after 64 miles of pedaling.
However, the post-ride party delivered again this year. We had adult beverages, a catered lunch and ice cream. I had a blueberry basil lemonade that was lovely, along with a lunch of pesto smoked turkey on ciabatta with a side of house-made parmesan potato chips. It hit the spot. We also got facials from beauty school students, which was lovely. I hear there were massages, too, but that they left at 1 p.m., so we just missed out. I was disappointed and drown my sorrows in Luna bars and salty caramel ice cream.
We actually spent a great deal of time visiting vendors, snacking and chatting. Again this year, we were the last people to leave, which was fine by us.
Time: 4:30:59 for 64 miles
Cost: $79 for early registration with a $75 fundraising minimum (free for me)
Pros: Fully supported ladies-only ride with clean and plentiful bathrooms, great food at the aid stations, fun post-ride party with a catered lunch and cocktails
Cons: Massage people cut out early, there is a fundraising component to entry, it's not timed, if you're into that sort of thing, I liked last year's shirt better
Would I do this again? Yes! I hope to do it every year.