I participated in Tour DaVita to raise money for The Kidney TRUST, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of kidney disease through public education and testing programs.
The theme of the tour was 'The Spirit of the Ride'. We were asked to 'Create the Spirit of the Ride', 'Respect the Spirit of the Ride', and 'Remember the Spirit of the Ride'.
Tour DaVita Day 1 consisted of a loop around Great Barrington, MA, that actually took us through three states - Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.
The morning was cool and crisp as we headed out.
Since I had to ship Lexa out ahead of time, I hadn't cycled in over a week and it felt good to ride again.
Lunch was at the Norman Rockwell Museum.
I had planned on visiting the museum but Mr. Green Garmin let me know I was well under my expected 14 mph average at just below 10 mph so I opted to keep going.
All the Tour DaVita riders were incredibly supportive and encouraging along the route. It's amazing how a few positive words can be so powerful.
I was pleased with how strong I felt at the end of the 86.5 mile ride.
It was another beautiful day with clear skies and pleasant breezes.
According to plan, Lexa and I took it easy.
At each Rest Stop, I did yoga stretching to relieve the tension in my lower back.
They would make comments like 'Oh, you're the girl who sends out all those Reggie* is up, Reggie is down, oh, Reggie is back up emails!' and a few riders asked me if I ever sleep since I'd been sending a number of emails at odd hours.
We rolled through miles and miles of open fields spotted with barns and grazing cows.
We even went by a giant wooden structure filled with hanging hides.
Aside from my increasingly tight back, I felt good at the end of the 75 mile ride. I didn't feel fatigued and my legs still felt strong.
I yearned to go for a run but I told myself I needed to conserve my legs for the century.
I could not have asked for a better way to start off Tour DaVita Day 3 when Stephanie from Running to Health offered to come and start off the ride with Lexa and me.
I immediately asked for a Dunkin' Donuts Boston Creme. I mean what more could a Green Girl ask for?
I was grateful for the tasty breakfast and the company. Chatting with Stephanie helped take my mind off my lower back and it was good to ride with a fresh pair of legs.
Drizzling rain dampened Day 3. Lexa and I had never ridden in the rain before so I was somewhat apprehensive but there was never a downpour.
I ate quickly, stretched out my lower back as much as possible, and headed back out with Lexa.
My legs were still feeling good but each uphill made my lower back even tighter. I spent a lot of time trying to do 'sitting' Marjarasana (Cat Cow) to ease the tension.
I had taken some ibuprofen at lunch but it didn't ease the back pain so a few hours later at a Rest Stop, I popped a couple acetaminophen.
I dug deep. I took a number of stretch breaks. I really focused on breathing out the tension.
The stretch along the Long Island Sound was exceptionally windy and I tried my best to maintain a respectable speed.
Aaron was there cheering on the riders as they crossed the finish.
He snapped some pictures of Lexa and me and walked me to the table to get my finisher's medal.
Lexa, we did it. We rode 260 miles and completed our first century together!
* The Green Girl is the support girl for the Reggie application