A couple of weekends ago, my husband rode in the Bike MS Bay to Bay Tour. It was his third year participating, and the second time he committed to the 150-mile route. The Saturday leg of the ride was 100 miles (aka a century); it started in Irvine and traveled south to Solana Beach, then east through Rancho Santa Fe to Lake Hodges, north to San Marcos and the 78 highway, and then west to the Sheraton Carlsbad. The Sunday leg was 50 miles and ended in Mission Bay.
I’m damn proud of him.
His training began some time in June and consisted of riding to work while the summer days were still long, riding on Saturday mornings with a local Trek Group, and riding on his own on Sunday mornings. The rides would take between one to a few hours, depending on the length of the course and whether or not there were hills. And, yup: He trained through the crazy summer heat waves, when the temperature at 7:00 a.m. was a muggy 75 degrees and went nowhere but up and up (and up) as the mornings turned into afternoons.
When the Bike MS weekend finally arrived, my husband prepped that Friday night to reduce the amount of thinking needed Saturday morning. You see, he and other SD riders who didn’t book a hotel in Irvine had to catch a charter bus at 4:30 a.m. that Saturday to get themselves, their gear, and their bikes to the starting line. And, when you aren’t used to being somewhat level-headed at that hour, you devise a plan the night before that’s, hopefully, foolproof.
He cleaned his bike, oiled its gears, and placed it in his car. He set up his water bottles on the kitchen counter to remind himself to fill and pack them in the morning. He packed three bags, one of which included his breakfast and went up with him while the other two went up with me when I drove up to Carlsbad later Saturday morning. After checking, double-checking, and running it all by me in case I could think of anything he’d forgotten, we went to bed at 10:30 p.m.
On Saturday morning, my phone alarm went off at 3:30 a.m., followed by his clock radio five minutes later. He dressed, then prepped the water and sports drink he’d later pack onto his bike. After graciously posing for a few photos, he left for Mission Bay to catch the charter bus, and I went back to bed to sleep until a reasonable Saturday morning hour.
I made it to Carlsbad around 11:00 a.m. and was joined by my parents and in-laws at the Day 1 finish line to cheer on the riders and keep a look out for my husband.
After starting the ride around 8:00 a.m., my husband flew past us and up to the finish about six hours later!
He and I stayed in Carlsbad overnight so that he could sleep in a little longer on Sunday morning, i.e., until 7:00 a.m. After a quick continental breakfast at our hotel, I dropped him off at the starting line at 7:30 a.m. and then took a leisurely drive down the PCH, eventually heading to Hospitality Point in Mission Bay to wait for him to cross the final finish line.
I admire the man I married. When he makes up his mind to attack a goal, especially one meant to take its toll physically, he’s all in. He doesn’t flake on his commitment no matter how hard it becomes to reach the finish line. He has an amazing ability to push through self-doubt in order to visualize the end, not because he feels entitled to win, but because he trusts himself to work hard to get where he wants to go.
My husband described the 150-mile ride as a challenge that was often times what-the-hell-was-I-thinking painful, but overall exhilarating. So, of course, he plans to relive that bittersweet feeling next year. Come the end of May 2015, he’ll participate in AIDS Life Cycle, a 7-day journey that starts in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles. Joining him on that trek will be his older sister, Anne, and our friend Dre.
And cheering with me at the AIDS Life Cycle finish line will be our baby boy! My husband and I can’t wait.