The day after my big ole' failed tri, I accompanied my fabulous husband, Nathan, to my hometown to watch him compete in a 35 mile bike ride. I was certainly more nervous than he was, especially after seeing what he was up against.
Before we arrived, we both knew that most of the cyclists would be on some kind of team, but when we showed up 98% of the participants were on teams and looked super serious. The combination of that and the race disorganization completely added to my nerves. When Nathan finally started (5o minutes later!) it was HOT. Nathan had never trained in this kind of heat, and I was practically dripping with sweat just standing waiting for him to start.
About 8 miles into the 35, he called me. He was super discouraged because he was riding by himself at that point. The group he started with had taken off and the group that started after him had passed him as well. I told him that it was really up to him what he wanted to do, but he should just think of it as a nice bike ride by himself and try and enjoy it.
At this point, I was pretty sure he would be turning around shortly and going back. I mean, getting wayyyy behind that early in the race is pretty discouraging. Personally, I don't think I would have kept going knowing I was pretty out of my league.
I didn't hear from him for another hour, and I was going a little nuts. About two hours after he started I tried calling him and got no answer. A lot of the cyclists were starting to return, and I just hoped that he hadn't gotten too hot or dehydrated.
30 minutes later Nathan called me and the convo went something like this:
Me: (no hello) You ok!?!?
Nathan: I'm close to finishing.
Me: Finishing!?!? Like you did it?
Nathan: Yeah, I did it!
Me: HONEY!!!! You want so fast! It hasn't even been 2 and a half hours!
Nathan: I know. Bye!
Just a few minutes later, Nathan flew by!
(Thanks, sis, for the great pic!)
At this point, I had tears in my eyes. He had done it. He trained for this race while working 6 days a week, braved the heat, and didn't let being last get him down. He did amazing, and I could not be more happy and proud.
Unfortunately, Nathan doesn't think he is going to do another bike race. A big part of that is because he said he didn't feel welcomed at all by the other race participants. I think he and I were both expecting the atmosphere of the race to be one similar to those that we are used to with running.
In general, I've always dealt with runners that have been very welcoming and encouraging. The runners I've been around have always cheered me on, offered support, etc. And Nathan accompanies me to many of my races so he saw this too. The participants at this race were QUITE different. Nathan said that when he put his number on wrong, a group of bikers proceeded to make fun of him for it. And then they continued on by talking about his bike and how it wouldn't make it on the course. All in all, they were pretty much pricks.
And while I could write PARAGRAPHS on how terribly disorganized and poorly run this race was, I won't because obviously I'm not an expert on bike races, but seriously, you don't have water at the start or finish? And three bathrooms for hundreds? I don't think so.
Luckily, Nathan plans on doing some fun rides and helping me getting over my bike fear. I'm just so proud of him so I had to share!