08 November 2014

Ride 2 Recovery - Honor Ride

Today was the Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride in Las Vegas. Sarah and I opted to do the longer of the two rides:  the 63+ mile ride...our first metric century ride.


We loaded up the car with the bikes and gear and headed downtown to the start line which was across from the Luxor on Las Vegas Boulevard.  Once we got there, we unloaded our bikes and went to check in.  We filled out the standard waivers and got our bibs and t-shirts.  After that, we went back to the car to switch shoes and put on our bibs.  One small problem presented itself.  We forgot out bib belts which meant we had to use safety pins and put holes in our shirts.

Waiting at the start
After that, we took our bikes over to the start area where I racked mine while Sarah took her's to the mechanic from Pro Cyclery to knock out some minor pre-ride maintenance on the chain.  Once that was done, she racked hers next to mine and we went to look for and talk with friends who were also riding.  Eventually, we walked back over to the racks to find out that they had fallen over.  Sarah's bike had been moved along one of the walls and mine had been moved to another rack.  That rack eventually also fell over and I moved my bike to the wall by Sarah's.

Before the race started, there were a lot of munchies available.  I ate a bagel and a muffin and scratched a bit on a Great Dane while we waited for the time to tick down to the start.  At approximately 8 AM, the organizers began to usher the approximately 650 riders to the start line.  While we waited with our bikes, route instructions and safety tips were given and at approximately 8:30, a color guard from a local JROTC unit brought the flag forward and the National Anthem was sung.  Shortly after that, we were off.

The Course

Nearing the finish
The start was interesting.  It was slow going so I kept a foot down and shuffled along until we turned onto Las Vegas Boulevard and I was able to clip in.  The first six miles that we were on the Boulevard were pretty neat.  We rode north through the Strip with our northbound lanes closed to traffic and police were blocking traffic at all of the intersections. At the 6.4 mile mark, we turned onto Washington and headed east through a series of stoplights.  At that point, the course was no longer closed to traffic and rules of the road applied which meant that there was a lot of stopping at intersections as we continued east.  At the 12 mile mark, we stopped at the first aid station but after seeing the wait for the port-o-potties, a decision was made by the group to continue on.  At 12.5 miles and after a short climb, we turned north on Hollywood for a short mile before heading east on Lake Mead Boulevard.  Once we turned onto that road, we began a 2.5 mile climb, our first big climb of the day.  However, once we reached the top, we were treated to primarily descents over the next 8 miles. Shortly after Mile 24, we turned onto Northshore Road and began a series of road changes that had us mostly climbing until Mile 39.  At that point, we were treated to a mile of downhill before climbing for the next nine miles.  Shortly after Mile 49, we began a mainly downhill or level ride to the finish.  Shortly after Mile 54, we turned back onto Las Vegas Boulevard to finish our bike ride north.  The right lane was blocked of for us but there were still some issues with drivers not making the smartest decisions as they entered/exited the restaurants/shopping areas around Mile 60.  As we reached the finish, we made a final right turn off of Las Vegas Boulevard into the chute and received our finishers medals.

Post ride photo
Aid Stations

I can't speak for the first one other than to say that it was crowded.  However, the next two (Mile 33 and 53) were well stocked with snacks and drinks.  A suggested improvement for the organizers is to have a sign at the turnoff so people actually know that it is the aid station since both were a little ways off the road and were missed by a few riders.

Post race

After we got our medals, we went over to a Ride 2 Recovery backdrop and got some photos of us with our bikes.  Once that was done, we loaded our bikes up and switched out of our cycling shoes.  Next, we went to enjoy some post race refreshments.  The post race meal consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, chips and Gatorade...clearly the lunch of champions. There was a live band playing while we ate.

Overall impressions and final thoughts

Overall, it was a well organized event.  The aid stations were well stocked and the support was great.  Personally, this ride was a challenge because I have never rode that far on a bike and I am really not a fan of extended hill climbs.  However, it went well and I see me doing more organized rides in the future.  Physically, I feel alright.  I don't have any saddle soreness and my legs feel good with the exception of my right calf which feels like I may have strained a tendon.  I noticed it after my ride last Sunday but it feels like I definitely aggravated it today.

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