We Came, We Saw, We bRambled!

Back ShotFull disclosure; I am not an avid cyclist. If you read my 5 Reasons Why Cycling is for Crazy People post last week, you know why. But thanks to some peer pressure from a few of my fittest co-workers, I decided to give a big cycling event a shot. So, along with a team of PacificSource riders, I hopped on my rock hard (utterly painful butt destroying) bike seat, and rode in Eugene’s Blackberry bRamble.

For the bRamble, I had the option to ride 100 miles (nope), 62 miles (nope), or 40 miles (still sounds dreadful). While there was a 20 mile community ride at the event, almost all of the PacificSource cycle team were doing one of the long rides, so I figured I could handle 40 miles. That was my first mistake, I had no idea I worked with people who are half bike riding robots. Here was my tale of the day:

The start

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The PacificSource Cycling Team

At 8:00 a.m. our 40 and 62 milers gathered at the start. We did have one maniac from PacificSource do the full 100, but he started a few hours before us. We took a quick team photo, and off we went!

I felt great for about 3 miles, then we hit our first hill. Whoever designed this course must have thought that putting a monster hill in the first 5 miles was hilarious. I did not find it amusing. But as it turns out, I’m actually built for climbing. I’m a runner at heart, so the cardio was no problem, and skinny guys like me can attack hills like gangly mountain goats. So by the time we reached our first summit, I was feeling pretty good. Then we hit the downhill, and I watched the pros blow past me. I always thought downhills were for resting, but I was wrong, because these guys kick downhills right in the face. I was left in the dust.

Rescued by a freight train

As the ride progressed, I realized that flat country roads are very pretty, but unforgiving to a solo rider. After I got smoked on the downhill, I was left trying to catch the pack. When you ride solo, the wind beats you down, and it takes everything you’ve got to keep pace. Luckily, Martin, our unofficial team captain, had hung back, and rescued me on the flat land. Here’s what you need to know about Martin; the man is a train! He’s big, he’s strong, and he can absolutely power through flat ground. He’s also generous, and he let me ride in his draft  so we could catch the pack. I’m 90% sure that if Martin hadn’t found me, I’d still be out there somewhere.

Rest StopThe halfway mark/the greatest sandwich in the history of sandwiches

At the 20 mile mark, we hit my favorite part of the ride; the rest stop. The Blackberry bRamble had loads of volunteers ready to feed starving riders, and I can say with confidence that I’ve never enjoyed a sandwich more. When we got back on the road, the 40 milers and 62 milers went our separate ways. Lucky for me, 6 of my teammates were also doing the 40, including Martin who destroys flat ground, and Rowan, a master on hills. I was in great hands.

The “looking like an idiot” crash

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Martin putting on a tire changing clinic

The last half was definitely harder than the first. We got a little lost (turning our 40 miles into almost 50), I blew a tire, and had a good old-fashioned “I’m not moving, can’t clip my feet out, look like an idiot” crash. But my crew had me covered, and Martin showed how quickly a pro can change a tire. It takes me about 4 days to change a flat, Martin had me back on the road in about 10 minutes. It was beyond impressive. In the last 10 miles, as my legs were burning, and my stomach was growling, I gave a thought to Chris, the lone PacificSource lunatic that rode 100 miles. The fact that he rode twice as far as we did absolutely blew my mind. The man is nuts.

The glorious finish

The Reward

The Reward!

Finally, we hit the home stretch, and finished at Amazon Park. After a much deserved team high-five, we mingled with riders of all distances. The cool part about the bRamble is that it offers a community ride to mix hard-core cyclists with casual riders and families looking to get their kids moving. It was awesome to hear everyone’s tales from the day. And of course, the reward of blackberry pie made everything worth it!

The day was a blast, and I can’t thank my fellow riders enough for carrying me to the end. And, a huge kudos goes to Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARS) for putting on such a great event. All of our community riders, our 40 milers, 62 milers, and Chris, our 100 mile crazy man, had beautiful, safe rides. Not sure what my cycling future holds, but I definitely had a great time at the bRamble.

Here are some more pictures from the bRamble:

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Related Post: 5 Reasons Why Cycling is for Crazy People

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4 Comments

  1. Megan Smith

     /  August 14, 2013

    Kenny, great story! I very much enjoyed the humor.

    Reply
  2. Please join us for our team “Fundraiser & Lunch to Support Youth Riders” on Sat. August 17- https://www.eventbrite.com/event/7567242827

    Reply
  3. Eugene is a beautiful area!

    Reply
  1. Descend Like A Pro | RD-Tech.net

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