A Mountain Biker on Super Skinny Tires: Me and the Venus de Miles.

Part II - Part I, Venus de Miles: It’s Not Just for Women with Road Bikes Anymore.

When I signed up for the Venus de Miles ride I did all the right things. I tried to talk myself out of it. I had never ridden a road bike or ridden more than 25 or 26 miles in one day. So I did what all normal people would do. I emailed FasCat Coaching for a training plan. The training plan was a benefit of signing up and so I figured I’d see what kind of training I could squeeze into eight days. It turns out not much.

The Venus de Miles celebrated its fifth year this past Sunday and I would say they did it in style. I signed up for the 67 mile ride but thought better of that at about 5 a.m. on Sunday. Did you read the part about the fact that I’ve never ridden a road bike? So I opted for the 51 mile ride. Right off the bat my not so inner dork came out. I thought I was riding to the venue, the place where I needed to get my bib. But then I realized that I had somehow gotten mixed in with the 100 mile ride that had already started. Typical me. Can’t find the starting line. So after I extricated myself from the peloton (that’s what they call it right?) I found the real start line.

You are probably wondering if I used my pink Gary Fisher. Nope. Trek and my buddy Chris Johnson lent me a sweet 5.2 Madone. Don’t worry if that means nothing to you. You’re take away is sweet, carbon and pure lusciousness. I was afraid to go to the bathroom. Sure that someone would steal “my bike.” I wanted to lean it up against the port-o-potty but I couldn’t figure out how to get inside with the bike blocking the door. The ride start went off without a hitch. The crew at Venus de Miles has it down. Breakfast and coffee at the start and three fresh faced girls to sing the national anthem. We also got to hear from an actual Greenhouse Scholar who blew my mind with her three science majors and her hopes to go to medical school. I mean when does she find time to ride and drink coffee?

The ride was amazing. And I know some of you want to know the skinny. I wasn’t afraid on the super way too skinny tires (of course I wasn’t racing). I went faster than I thought I would. I didn’t get lost (once I found the start line) and yes, parts hurt. At about mile 17, my sits bones starting saying things like, “I’m not sure this was a good idea.” At about mile 30, they became more direct. “You dumb nut! I hate you.” Speaking of body parts talking to me, I think I started to hallucinate a bit from being a wee bored at about mile 26. The rest stop saved me from a full LSD-type trip. The rest stops were great; food, music and of course the port-o-potty. Still having not figured out how to lean the bike up against the door while inside, I gave up and used the bike rack like everyone else.

Venus de Miles did a spectacular job. We were kept safe and I was sure to say thank you to every single volunteer and officer of the law on the road. Those people make rides like that happen. Once back to the finish line, we were greeted with what can only be described as a spa like experience; cycling specific vendors, sports massage, hand massage, a beer truck and more food than I can name. It was all included for the riders for the price of their registration. I immediately went for sports massage and managed to drink an entire New Belgium beer before even laying face down and answering the only question with, “Hamstring.”

Final thoughts? When I wasn’t hallucinating or hoping no one would steal my bike or enjoying the scenery, I kept thinking, “I’m going to do this every year for the rest of my life.” Oh and that training plan? I’ve got it if you need it. I’ll be spending my time trying to figure out the whole bike propped up against the port-o-potty thing.

P.S. I’m totally joking. My bike was always safe and sound.
Over and out.

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5 Comments

Venus de Miles

Congratulations on following through and doing the ride. It was a great day to ride. I was not part of the ride, but came up on it as a friend and I were heading north on 36. It looked like riders were thoroughly enjoying. I do have suggestions for the organizers, though. I saw a tremendous amount of double or triple wide packs, chatting away, oblivious to fast-moving traffic and other, passing riders. Not safe. Many of the riders appeared to be newbies to riding (awesome, keep getting out there), which means they move from country road (say Neva) to 36 without recognizing the auto danger. It's real. We were pushed into traffic several times, and my friend became the stern schoolmaster constantly reminding ladies to get out of the road. A possible solution: have riders view a short video on road safety etiquette when they sign up. Second, if I were a bike shop, I might offer pre-ride "quick fits." Many riders are on ill-fitting set-ups, which seems to make them work twice as hard. We want to have them keep riding, so let's help them. Why would I do this as a shop? Because I gain exposure and loyalty with folks getting into the sport.

Keep riding.

G zenius

Really like your idea about a brief, instructional video on pack riding safety. Maybe Bicycle Colorado could produce one and make it available to any event promoter to show at packet pickup sites.

Venus

Thank you for taking the time to read my account of the Venus. I agree with what you said and I wanted to put a plug in for the organizers. At the start line they were very explicit with instructions about riding safely and riding single file. I like the idea of a video. There are so many talented videographers around here I'm sure that would be easy to do. Any opportunity to teach safety and courtesy is a great opportunity for us all. Thanks again!

Venus Rider Critically Injured

303Cycling just received word that Venus rider Laura Baker was critically injured this Sunday and is currently in a coma at Longmont Hospital. According to local authorities, Laura crashed on the downhill of 79th Street as she approached the stoplight. Laura was wearing a helmet and no car was involved. Laura crashed face down and has suffered a serious brain injury. Fortunately, emergency response was excellent and Laura arrived at Longmont hospital in seven minutes. You can read updates on Laura's condition at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/laurabaker/journal/2

As a local cycling community, let's keep Laura and her family in our thoughts and support her as she begins the long journey to recovery. You can send encouraging words to Laura on the above mentioned website.