A year ago I signed up for the Flint Hills Express, a 50 mile bike ride, with very little riding experience and it wasn’t the most favorite thing I’ve ever done! If you’re just joining my journey, you can read about it here.
Now, a year later, I decided to do the Express ride again, certain I could do a little better than last year. I have logged more than 800 pedaling miles and I upgraded to a bike roughly 25 years newer.
My usual group of riding friends were unable to join me for the ride, in the past I would have used that as an excuse not to go. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, so I packed up my water and snacks and headed out.
Even though there was a large group of riders, I rode much of the ride by myself. I listened to music for a while, but eventually turned it off and got lost in the experience. Taking in the scenery and enjoying the sound of my tires on the gravel and the breeze blowing through the grass as I rode through the more open areas.
The first 12 miles of hills were still tough and I gave a nod of acknowledgement to the many places I had to stop last year and try not to cry, but this year there was no stopping and no choking back tears. I even enjoyed the flat part of the ride, which sounds better than hills, but requires constant pedaling, for miles on end. This year, on the flats, my legs didn’t cramp and I didn’t have to stop and walk to give my seat a rest.
I felt a real sense of accomplishment and pride for having stuck with the biking this year and having the results be so measurable. My average speed last year was 8.2 mph, and our completion time was just over 6 hours. I averaged a speed of 12.3 mph and finished the ride in 4 hours and 11 seconds. It was really a perfect day and a fantastic ride.