Good luck to all of the participants in tomorrow's (today's, actually) 50 States/13 Colonies Ride! I really wish I could be there, but I gotta work. I will be with you in spirit, though. Hopefully, I will see some of you pass by.
If you like, you can read about my first time doing the ride last year here. I see that you will have much better weather this year than last year (I'd rather take overcast/rainy & in the 70's, than blaring sunshine in the 90's!).
Here are some tips that I wish I had known about last year:
-Bring more water and snacks than you think you will need. Last year I was expecting to be able to re-fill/re-fuel at corner markets & convenience stores fairly often, since we were in a city. Unfortunately, a good deal of the course was in residential areas where stores were infrequent. It's also an unsupported ride, so there's few staffed rest-stops.
-Ride with a friend. The cue sheet is super-long. If you are not very good at following directions, you might want to find a group of cyclists to latch onto. There are some lonely stretches & tricky turns out there ;-/
-If you have loved-ones that aren't cyclists, see if they can meet you along the course to cheer you on. That smiling face & cheer will go a long way at mile 50.
-Yes, there are hills. They won't kill you. It might feel like it sometimes, but trust me. If I could get up some of those hills (and I'm looking at you MLK & effing Alabama Ave) on Betty, you can do it too. Also, there is no shame in walking either. I did that too.
-Remember this is supposed to be *fun*. If you aren't having fun, stop! Do the 13 colonies course instead. Or go to a bar and have a beer. Either way.
-Pay attention to your body. I was getting dangerously dehydrated/hyperthermic last year. I had all of the classic symptoms of heat exhaustion: nausea, dizziness, confusion & headache. If you find yourself having a hard time going any further, stop! Rest. Don't chance it.
-Did I mention have fun?