Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Amishland and Lakes Weekend 2014

Well, it's now Wednesday and I haven't updated you on the Amishland and Lakes event this past weekend.  We headed out Friday morning for Howe, Indiana with plans to make a quick stop at the meat and cheese shop in Shipshewana before checking into our hotel.  We got there and the skies started clouding over and it looked like rain.  We grabbed lunch at The Bread Box and then headed over to Yoder's Meat and Cheese Company to pick up some different burgers to take home with us.  I love all the different kinds of burgers they make including such things as buffalo burgers, bacon burgers, jalapeno and blue cheese burgers, and more.  I was going to be riding all day Saturday and they aren't open on Sunday's, so I knew I had to get it early.

We then drove to our hotel and got checked in, driving through really heavy rain.  I was rather concerned that I wouldn't be able to ride because of all the lightning in the area.  We checked in and hauled all of our stuff to the room, packing all the frozen burgers into the little hotel room freezer/refrigerator.  I checked the radar and saw that there were a few clearings in the rain, so I got changed into my cycling clothes and drove down the the event location.  I got my bike unloaded and headed out, not knowing whether I'd ride the 14 or 32 mile route.  I rode to the first SAG stop, getting very wet about 4 miles in.  I waited for the rain to slow a bit and headed out, settling for the 14 mile route because I wasn't interested in getting any wetter.

I loaded up my bike and headed back to the hotel.  After cleaning up a bit and changing clothes, our family headed out to have dinner at the Essenhaus in Middlebury.  We got to sit inside the buggy booth.  It was pretty cool.  We love their food and especially the buffet.  Knowing I'd be riding 100 miles on Saturday, I loaded up on carbs...and a lot of other food.  After dinner, it was late enough that our youngest was tired.  We headed back to the hotel and all got ready for bed and laid down for the night.  I didn't feel like I slept very well, partially thinking about the long ride ahead of me.

Saturday morning, I woke up around 5:00 A.M. and laid there for about 45 minutes before getting up to get dressed and head out.  In the lobby, Hampton surprised me with an amazing complimentary breakfast that included eggs and potatoes.  I didn't get into the sausage or a lot of the sweet options as to not upset my stomach.  I drove to the event location and got my bike all ready, strapping my rain jacket under my saddle just in case and headed out for a long day of riding.

I felt really good throughout the entire 100 miles except for a couple miles near the halfway point where I experienced some very mild cramping in my thighs.  The SAG stops all offered fresh Michigan blueberries and other great snacks.  One of the highlights of the ride for me were the Amish family that offered Balsam Mint tea and pumpkin bars to riders for a donation.  I looked forward to that stop after stopping there last year.  The Balsam Mint tea is some of the best tea I've ever had and you can't go wrong with pumpkin bars!  I really enjoyed all of the scenery and especially all of the friendly Amish that we passed whether in their buggies or on bikes.

There was one Amish home where the children were out on little two wheel carts behind a miniature horse.  They were racing cyclists along the side of the road until they reached the edge of their property.  Another highlight was stopping at another Amish home that was offering root beer floats and doughnut bars to cyclists for a donation.  I didn't make this stop last year because I was wearing down and the wind was really wearing on me.  I'm really glad I stopped this year.  That root beer float and doughnut bar really hit the spot.  I think the sugar was good for me.

From the root beer float stop, there was only about 11 miles left to make the full 100 miles.  I made one more SAG stop to use the bathroom.  I think I used the port-a-potties more this ride than I ever have on any other ride.  We rode through Shipshewana and then back to Howe.  I've gotta say those last 8-10 miles were really difficult for me for some reason.  I ended up stopping and eating a NuGo Stronger bar and a Vanilla Bean Gu Energy Gel to get the boost I needed to finish.  I had been texting my wife over the past several miles to let her know when I'd be at the finish.

At just barely over 7 hours (on the bike), I completed my 100 mile ride just as my wife was getting out of the car.  My father-in-law and our 8 year old were right there waiting on me.  Climbing off the bike, I was feeling way better than I did when I completed the same ride last year.  I will admit my backside was very tender.  I went in to get water and ice cream and then we headed back to the hotel.  The family went to the pool while I showered and laid down for a bit before dinner.

We went to Iannarelli's for dinner after having great food last year.  We were not disappointed.  The food was wonderful again this year.  I had jumbo stuffed shells with garlic bread.  We headed back to the hotel and I was definitely ready for an early bed time.  My wife and boys headed down to her parents room to play for a while and I laid down, falling asleep quickly.

I woke up around 5:30 A.M. and considered whether I'd ride any of the Sunday ride options, deciding that my backside was way to tender to spend another day on the bike saddle.  I went back to sleep and woke back up a couple hours later.  I stood out of bed and just about fell over because my Achilles tendon in my left leg was very painful.  I took it pretty easy Sunday until I could purchase an ankle brace to support it.  Then late in the afternoon, I noticed my knee started hurting, so I put on my knee brace too.

Thankfully, by the next morning, my knee was feeling better.  By today, my ankle is feeling a lot better, although I still wore the ankle brace to support it.  Now, I'm on to preparing for 65 miles this coming weekend at the Rally Point River Ride in Lima, Ohio.  I'm looking forward to this ride because it has a different starting point than previous years I've ridden it and because it has been a few years since I've been able to ride it.

Goal Update

My goals for this year were to ride at least 800 miles and two centuries.  I have ridden 700 of the 800 miles so far this year (87.5%) and just completed my first century.  I think I have two more organized events that give me the opportunity to complete a century, so I still could make that goal too.  I had hoped to ride the Ohio to Erie trail this year, but it doesn't look like I'll be able to squeeze that in with school starting back up for our son.
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