Race Report (sort of)- Honor Ride & Beer Dash

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So, this past weekend was a little hectic!  Pretty much had three events going on: 1) Ride 2 Recovery Honor Ride, 2) Running for Brews 3K Beer Dash, & 3) Florida Beach Halfathon & 5K.  I’ll create a separate real race report for the 5K, otherwise this post really isn’t a real race report since the Honor Ride and the beer dash weren’t official races.

Honor Ride- what a great thing!  This was an event put on by the “Ride 2 Recovery” charity organization and they essentially have a few programs that are put on.  The Honor Rides are one of these programs which are organized rides focused towards the continued support for veterans.  Definitely head over to their website to take a look around.  They are a great organization focused on getting vets back into the community and creating an environment that allows a means to recovery.  This particular event started at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.  It was a pretty cool site to see what felt like nearly 500 or so cyclists from all walks of life preparing to ride either 20, 40, or 60 miles through out the southern part of Pinellas County.  There were people there on everything from cruisers, to mountain bikes, to $10K bikes.  And of course many vets that were wounded in hand cycles and recumbents.

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The timing for this event was perfect!  I happen to be at the point where I should be putting in 60 miles or so in my training on the weekends.  This was a great time to also play around a little with nutrition and fine tune what works and doesn’t for me.  The only expectation of this ride was to get the 60 miles in and of course contribute in any way I could to the charitable event.  I ended up linking up with a veteran (Luis) that was wounded in combat who came up from the Miramar, FL area on his own.  Since I was riding solo and he was as well, we became friends pretty quick.  We started near the back of the pack and went out with a really nice relaxed pace.  It was cool just to talk with Luis while being a part of a mass crowd of cyclists totally taking over all lanes of 1st Ave N in St. Pete for nearly a 5 mile stretch.

The beginning of the ride was the only time there was a police escort and the remainder of the route we were to follow local traffic laws.  However, being in a pack of cyclists makes visibility much greater and safer to ride in the lane.  There were a total of 3 SAG stops every 15 miles that were stocked with drinks and food.  BTW, in case you ever wondered SAG stands for support and gear.  There was also a SRAM branded SAG vehicle that rode along the route providing additional mechanical support.  Around the first stop Luis and I ended up linking up and riding with another group of people- Jamie, Kyle, Vicky, and another female who’s name I can’t for the life of me, so I’ll call her Jane for the sake of this post, lol.  The next SAG stop was Fort DeSoto.  With less than 2 miles to the stop Vicky ended up getting a flat so we ended up resting a little longer than usual.  Once Vicky and Jane arrived after the SAG mechanic helped fix the flat Jamie, Kyle and I decided to head out since by this point we were probably averaging less than 15 mph and I personally had another run (beer dash) after this ride in Tampa.  I was just about to let everyone know that I was going to head out on my own becuase of this, but Jamie and Kyle wanted to head out so this worked out perfectly.  I ended up crossing paths with someone, who was also riding the event, I met about 6 years prior in a photography class at the Morean Arts Center so their group of 3 joined our group of 3.  We were now a lonely group of 6!  We all rode from the exit of Fort DeSoto until 54 Ave S and 31st St S deep in St. Pete- a solid 9 miles from the exit of the park.  I pretty much pulled for the group up front of the pack for majority of the 9 miles- the wind was kind of weird, not full on head wind, but definitely coming in at an angle.  At this point the other people who joined us broke off and decided to head back.  Jamie, Kyle and I were all game to ride the full 60 mile route so we continued on.

At the last SAG stop we all joined in with a much larger Project Hero team and rode the rest of the way in with them.  This last stop also had some PB&J sandwiches that were pretty much the most amazing sandwichs I had in a while.  It was all relative I guess!  🙂  Either way, the Project Hero team was traveling at a slightly slower pace than what the 3 of us were generally traveling at.  But at this point it was much safer to ride with the larger group, especially since the remainder of the ride was totally on city streets.  This group also had one wounded vet in a hand cycle that the team was assisting by pushing a handle that extended out from the hand cycle.  Once we got back to the Trop I decided to knock out another 2 miles in downtown St. Pete so I could hit the metric century distance (100 KM/62 miles) and I parted ways with Jamie and Kyle.  Once I got back to the Trop, again, I ended up seeing Luis, Vicky and Jane, so I had the opportunity to catch up with them and see how the rest of the ride went with them.  This was definitely a good ride and hopefully it comes back to St. Pete next year!  Jamie was also riding with a GPS bike computer and since we pretty much rode majority of the route together Strava grouped us together, so we’re now following each other on Strava.  Maybe we’ll end up riding together at some point in the future.

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So, this post is already getting pretty lengthy, but on to the beer dash!  I kept thinking this was a 5K, but it was actually a 3K!  This was kind of nice since I rode 60+ miles in the morning.  This was also supposed to be a pre-event to the Gasparilla Criterium in downtown Tampa- which was the real reason I was going to this in general.  But, the Crit got cancelled!!  I was a little upset this got cancelled as watching a criterium can be extremely exciting!  I did have the opportunity to get a refund for the beer dash, but I decided to go anyway.  With the Crit getting cancelled the dash also lost it’s venue.  So, this was extremely last minute scrambling to change things up.  Running for Brews is who put this on and they did a pretty good job of last minute changes.  This ended up taking place at the Pour House in Tampa and I feel like the route was totally created within minutes before it starting!  LOL  Since it was a 3K, I decided to just go balls to the wall and see what would happen.  I ended up finishing in 3rd, but this really wasn’t anything official anyway.  There was at least 300 people there (a really rough guess).  One free beer was included with this and we also got medals, which was a surprise. I guess the real reward was literally being the first person to get a plate full of chips, guacamole, nacho cheese, ceviche and some other delicious toppings all from Taco Bus.

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