If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember my challenge on my dad’s 50th birthday: to ride a Half-Century together. The fifty-mile bike ride would prove that age is just a number and not an excuse to stop challenging yourself physically! I’ve been at school and training for track, so it’s a little over-due. But we made sure to get it done before he turns 51!
Our bike path was a 25-mile stretch of the Santa Ana Bike Trail from Yorba Regional Park to the Huntington Beach Pier. We stopped briefly at the beach before turning around and riding right back. We started out weaving back and forth with some jacaranda trees on the sides. Just to keep things challenging, we went under at least two dozen freeways, like little intervals of building up momentum on the down hill and pedaling hard back up the other side. We also had a few surges to pass some slow-pokes, but mostly we were the slow-pokes being passed. Even though I thought our 14 mph average was pretty solid, most of the other people out that Saturday morning were serious riders with road bikes (and polka dotted spandex suits….). We used our mountain bikes, which is at least better than my beach cruiser that doesn’t even have gears!
Fuel: this is one area where we failed. I’m so ashamed! Knowing we were going to be intensely riding for approximately 4 hours, we should have packed some better energy-providing snacks! We both downed a cup of coffee before jumping in the truck, and ate a few apple slices one hour in. But as we approached the pier, I realized we should have brought some sort of gel or shot blocks, plus some oranges/bananas. We at least had a protein bar, which kept my belly from growling until we finished. A cold bottle of Powerade waited, which I know contains an excessive amount of sugar and wouldn’t have been my first choice of post-workout nourishment but we needed something in our bodies! When we arrived home we had chocolate berry protein smoothies and a nice long NAP.
Half way in, we were along the beach; I LOVED being among so many people out walking, running, biking, skating. It smelled like campfires, easily one of the best smells in the world (up there with fresh coffee ;) ) we stopped for a protein bar and some fruit but didn’t sit down. We didn’t want our legs a chance to get tired or sore yet with another 25 miles to ride!
Total Distance: 50.26 miles. Total ride time: 3 hours, 45 minutes (I forgot to pause my Garmin watch while I stopped to take some pictures). Total time with breaks: 4 hours, 15 minutes. We weren’t looking to break any records, so we’re pretty pleased with our time!
The half century was also just an awesome experience to do with my dad. We were on the struggle bus that last ten miles, mainly out of discomfort rather than exhaustion. (Bike seats are not ideal for sitting on for hours!) But there was never a moment we considered stopping. Neither of us would have let the other! A few years ago we finished a Mud Run in Irvine together, going through different obstacles and getting dirty. And I’m sure we’ll have another “challenge” in the near future! These will totally be some of the memories we look back on together.
Can’t wait to do the full century when he turns 100! ;)