Little Red Riding Hood is a all women's bike ride held in Cache Valley. It's been around for over 20 years and, besides providing a well organized, FUN bike ride for 3000 women...also raises money for women's cancer research. With routes of 18, 35, 58, 80 and 100 miles, this ride appeals to women of all different types, sizes, ages, and fitness levels. I met one woman who was riding the 35 mile route with only one lung! She had survived a bout of cancer 8 months earlier and was here to celebrate. She was riding slowly, but she was riding!My friend and biking buddy, Mylissa, and I had come up to Cache Valley the night before. The ride started early on Saturday so we decided instead of waking insanely early that morning, to make a fun girlie weekend out of it all. A sort of pre-ride party was going on Friday night...a Women's Expo, I think they called it. We headed over and, after signing in and getting our official race packets with our racing number, free t-shirt and other such swag, we wandered through the various vendor tents. It was cold and rainy so after scoring a couple of good deals on biking jerseys and jackets, we headed out to dinner in a warm restaurant. The Iron Gate Cafe, I believe it was called. And there we met up with Mylissa's sister Rachel with 3 of her friends. We ate some fabulous food, laughed a lot and shared a gargantuan piece of the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted before deciding to call it a night and head to bed. Mylissa, Rachel and one of Rachel's friend's all stayed at the home of Aunt Kay who was visiting family in Texas and offered us the use of her beds for the night. I've never met her but bless Aunt Kay! It was so nice to wake the next morning knowing we didn't have an hour and a half drive in front of us!
Now as you probably know because I've mentioned it before, Mylissa and I had signed up for the 100 mile route. We had considered our 60 miles in Goldilocks, the ride we'd done last month, to be a kind of training ride for Little Red. But a week and a half earlier Mylissa hurt her back. How, she has no idea but at one point she didn't think she'd be able to ride Little Red at all. And that made us both sad. As she slowly started recovering she'd call me and up the miles that she thought she could handle. Over and over she told me to go ahead and shoot for the 100 miles. We had other friends from our neighborhood that we were planning to meet up with who also planned to ride 100 and Mylissa assured me that she would not feel bad if I continued on with them. Honestly though, I didn't want to. Mylissa and I had trained together and planned this ride for months. I wanted to ride Little Red with her, no matter what mileage we ended up with. At that point I was just excited to have a beautiful ride in a unique atmosphere and have fun with my sweet friend.And have fun we did! There was no evidence of the rain from the night before. The sun was shining and it was warm enough to wear the new matching tank top jerseys we had bought at the expo. By the morning of Little Red, Mylissa had decided that her back could handle the 35 mile route. But at the mile 18 turn off where the 35 mile route started circling back, she decided that she was feeling fine and nowhere near ready to be done. We decided to shoot for the 58 miles and hope that her back continued to feel as happy as her biking spirit. Luckily for us, it did! Funny enough, remember that Goldilocks ride that we considered to be a training ride...with all of it's ginormous hills? It was much tougher of a course, overall. The hills in Little Red were, what the organizers called "rolling hills." I remember last year riding those "rolling hills" in Little Red and thinking to myself, "Rolling hills, my &*#$ !!!" To an inexperienced biker...yes, hard. But this year...yep, they were right. Happy, rolling hills. Which gently and slowly put us up to the top of the best downhill I have ever, ever biked down! As I was racing down that hill, with a HUGE grin on my face, exhilarated by my speed...morbidly, I did have the thought that if I hit something and flipped, I would probably die. As quickly as that thought entered, I dismissed it once again...but also made sure to be equally focused as I was exhilarated.We did the 58 miles easily. We were nowhere near as achy and tired as we had been at Goldilocks. Luckily, because that meant we were able to take advantage of the finish line party. Each year the Little Red organizers come up with a theme. Last year was a Hawaiian theme. This year it was a superhero theme. So when we rolled over that finish line we were handed a Wonder Woman crown to wear and a strawberry lemonade with a fun firecracker looking decoration coming out the top. A huge spread of party food greeted us a little bit further into the park. We especially enjoyed the chocolate fountain. But after hanging out and enjoying the atmosphere for a little while, we decided that what we REALLY wanted was more of that fabulous chocolate cake from the night before.We made our way back to the car, strapped our bikes back into the bike rack on top of the car, (Thank you Rob for wisely adding a stepping stool to the list of things we would need so that we short ones could actually reach the top of the car!) and made a bee-line for The Iron Gate Cafe. The employees seemed to get a kick out of our biking attire, our sunburned arms and shoulders, and the story of why we felt like we really, really deserved to eat such a big piece of chocolate cake. And oh! Can I just say...as good as that cake was on Friday night, it had nothing...I repeat, NOTHING...on how truly amazing that cake was Saturday afternoon after 58 miles of biking!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
So, with happy hearts and bellies we headed for home...passing numerous cars, trucks and SUV's that had similarly racked bikes. We found ourselves spending the great majority of the way home discussing all the various bikes we had seen. Everything from colors to componentry and frame. And after awhile it occurred to me that the way Mylissa and I were discussing bikes was the way Bryan discusses guns with his brothers! It made me smile.(Seriously, isn't Sardine Canyon gorgeous??)
It was an amazing weekend. I'm so glad that I made the decision to buy a bike. Thank you, my sweet, wonderful Bryan...for supporting me in this and being willing to hold down the fort while I do these big rides even though you have absolutely no desire to ride yourself and sometimes think I'm a bit crazy. :) I love you!