Sunday, August 26, 2012

Venus de Miles Finisher!

Hello Friendly Bloggers,
It has been quite a day!! I finished the 67-mile ride of the Venus de Miles, with an increase in elevation of 2600, and up and down so many hills I lost count. I rode in a little over 6 hours with starting temps around 59 and last two hours 95 degrees with a strong wind. I made it up the hardest part, the Jamestown Canyon, and was met at the top with my honey ringing a cowbell and cheering on all the other riders, not only me. The last 7 miles until the finish were honestly the hardest for me. I think I got very close to bonking, but I made it to the finish, albeit kind of shaky from heat exhaustion and well, riding 67 miles over hill and dale.

There was excellent support for riders throughout the course. When I go on these long rides, I have a very hard time eating anything because I have no appetite. I generally drink plan water because I have no tolerance for sporty type drinks because of all the sugar in them. At the top of the Jamestown Canyon one of the medical support women asked me how I was doing. I said “great” but like usual had no appetite. I learned that having no appetite is quite normal in long distance cycling because the food just sits in your gut and is not digested because of the cycling position you are in. She gave me some great tips,  including information about a wonderful new concoction for endurance sports called Skratch Lab that they had at all the rest stops. One of the rules in endurance sports is not to eat or drink things on event day that you have not tried before. She recommended trying the Skratch Lab mix and diluting it with water to see how that worked for me. That diluated solution worked quite well for me. There are two kinds of Skratch labs:  an electrolyte fuel (which I tried) and an “energy mix.” In that heat, I really needed the electrolyte boost. It is now several hours after the completion of the ride, and I am on the road to recovery and have downed 5 bottles of it now so am on the road to recovery. My hubby and I went out for a great dinner and I had a long soak in a hot bubble bath.

The Venus de Miles is one amazing and unique experience. First it is an all women’s ride (this is what drew me to it) and a celebration of the sisterhood. All the SAG (male bike mechanics) were required to dress in drag. And they did: many of them created super fun outfits decorated with sequins and other bling, lots of chiffon were used and many wore tutus and hair do-dads.
Men in drag at Venus de Miles

Part of the spread for riders at one of the stops

Inter-generational riding team right in front of me at the start
The start was flat, but check out those mountains in the distance!
The spirit of fun was not just on the men, many of the women riders dressed up too with chiffon skirts, feathers, tutus and fun helmet head wear. I cannot tell you what a great an uplifting experience it was to ride with such a wide variety of women of all ages. There were several multi generational riders (grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters), too. Despite all the fun atmosphere, the riders were serious about their rides and rider safety. Because I rode alone, many guys in drag and women riders would stop and ride with me to make sure I was having a great experience. I did. Yes, I am sore and will be I am sure for a few days. But what a great experience and what a great cause, too, the Greenhouse scholars. All of the funds raised by this event go to Greenhouse Scholars, which provides funds for college for high achieving, and under resourced high school students, all of whom are First Generation College bound seniors.

I was emotional a few times during the ride just because I was “doing it.” I have come along way in my health fitness, still a ways to go (and shedding an extra 30 pounds will make next time easier), but wow, I DID IT!!!! I would never have known about the Venus de Miles without Jackie. Jackie aspired to ride the Venus and she inspired me. I hope Jackie will come back to blogging. Thank-you, Jackie for sharing this event via your blog.Finally, than-you to my beloved hubby for being my support team and encourager throughout my preparations and today, during the event. I am a lucky woman!
Looking out at Boulder, CO from our Royal Arch hike
Hubby and I will end our trip to Colorado by taking in a ball game at Coors stadium: Rockies vs LA Dodgers (my hometown team!) on Monday night. I can’t wait. We will head home and back to beautiful Minnesota after the game. My academic year starts on Wednesday with meetings… Summer for me is waning, just like it is for all of you. I enjoy my work tremendously, but love my summer, where I can spend my time working on research and writing, cycling, and being with my family...

A brief update for the Summer Sizzle Challenge:
I met all of my goals last week in terms of tracking, exercise and fitness. I will weigh in next week, which is the last week of the challenge. I rode 90 miles on my bike, but I also hiked 7 miles, so definitely exceeded my week 10 exercise goals.

And Yes, Sharon, we did go to the Boulder’s farmer’s market on Wednesday evening. It was lovely. We bought a number of fresh fruits, including one of the best peaches I have had in years. So, thanks for that great recommendation!!

Looking forward to catching up with all of you once I get back home. Have a great week. Stay strong. Remember, you, too, can do more than you think you can. TTFN,


  1. That looks like such a fun race! Great job!

  2. Congratulations, Michele. That's really a remarkable achievement that I think you'll be proud of all of your life. And I have to tell you, you look great in both of those pix--vibrant, happy, and young! I 'm sitting here with a big smile on my face. I'm very happy for you. Thanks, btw for the very complete race report.

  3. Your post made me cry Michele. I am so very proud of you. Oh you did it and did it so well, congratulations!!!
    I love the pictures you shared, I love that your hubby cheered you on. YEAH!!! for Michele!!!
    You are such a great woman and your students will be so lucky to have this happy healthy professor teaching them this year.
    Take care Michele. Blessings!!

  4. I felt a bit emotional reading this post! Congratulations on completing the ride as well as coming so far on your journey. It's been wonderful reading you progress and improve on your bike riding :) Terrific work! :)

  5. Wonderful ride! What an accomplishment. Enjoy Coors Field - it is a cathedral.

  6. You rock! And I love that Farmer's Market. And Pearl Street. Okay, I could live in Boulder if it wasn't so darn expensive:)

  7. Michele, like so many others, I am almost speechless in knowing what to say. I never doubted you could do it, but oh my goodness, am I ever proud of you. What an amazing accomplishment. I think I'd be tempted to wear that t-shirt every day for the next month! And that pic of you and your hubby needs to be framed in an 8 x 10 (or larger) and hung somewhere in your home. It is priceless! Way to go, friend!

  8. Oh Michele, I am so proud of you and know how hard you have worked to reach this milestone. You do indeed look happy in the first photo. Keep up the good work and I will be cheering for you!

  9. You are AM-MAZ-ING!! As always you inspire me and so many more. So so happy for you. I just love being along for the ride on your rides. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip. you look great!

  10. Yay, Michele!! You are fabulous! And by the way, you're looking very good! I am so proud of you, my fellow Minnesotan. What you have accomplished in the way of fitness, health, and perseverance is something to be proud of. Have a great week!

  11. Congratulations on a great ride! It looks like a beautiful place to race.

  12. Congratulations on your ride!!! What a great story! You must be so proud (and for good reason). Best of luck starting the new academic year. We are back on Tuesday! Let the fun begin!

  13. First Holy crap and congratulations. I don't think I have ridden my bike that far in all my adult years put together. You ARE a goddess that looks fabulous in neon orange!

    You HAVE come a long way - heck even I was getting emotional just reading it.

    Just me or do those men in drag sorta look um - alluring?

    I need to go out and get some fresh air. Clearly.

  14. Hey Michele - I have been out and about a lot and well, have not had time to post on your blog. Have wanted to say that you are looking GOOD!!!! Awesome job, in fact, on the ride and all the accomplishments you have had in your weight loss journey - so happy for you!!!

    Keep up the good work - in all that you do!