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This past November, I rode in a four day bike ride called, Festivelo, in the Low Country of South Carolina. I learned about this ride from a new friend I met on my first ever bike camping trip over Labor Day on the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia. Yes, it was a year of firsts for me as I embarked on my adventure in Velo Culture, in particular, touring on a road bike.
After my recent divorce in June, 2012, I decided I was going to get more serious about my true love, cycling. I purchased a beautiful Bianchi road bike from Pedal Chic in Greenville, SC (a women’s specific bike shop). And so it began, my quest to become a better cyclist and to find fun on a bike.
I arrived at Short Stay in Monks Corners, SC in the dark the night before the ride started. It was cold and windy and I could tell that we were staying on a tiny peninsula with the ocean waves crashing against the retaining wall. The townhouse faced west and I could envision a sunset view from the deck of the house. I was starting to get really excited and was a little nervous about the ride the next day. I had planned to do 25 miles the first day but my riding buddy talked me in to trying the 50+ mile route. The longest distance I had ever ridden was 40 miles. The route looked flat so I agreed.
The morning of the first day of the ride I awoke and looked out the window. The view of the ocean on all sides was incredible and the sun was shining brightly. This was it! It was time to get up and get layered. It was again a windy day and a chilly morning (40 degrees) with the promise of 70 degrees by the afternoon. Layering is extremely important, I learned, for a ride of this many miles and a day with a huge temperature variation. The first, most important layer was chamois butter! Really, TRUST ME! If you are going to spend the day in the saddle this is a must. Having a warm core is also very important. I found these great wool base layers at the Hincapie Sportswear tent sale in October. LOVE THEM! They breathe and dry nicely and keep you really comfortable. I dressed well and was pretty happy all day, except that my feet were cold in the mornings. I later discovered toe warmers that do a nice job of blocking the wind.
Now I had to think about fueling my body for a day of riding. I recently found this great whole food shake mix called Vive! A friend told me about this new product because I was having a problem with high blood sugar. Vive is great for a low-glycemic diet. I talked with the developer of Vive and learned that not only was it packed with organic super foods but it also had all the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, pre-biotics and supplements I was already taking. All this was in the drink mix.
I had been using it for a week already and wanted to test it to see if it could keep me fueled on this ride. Also, it was easy just to bring my canister of Vive and not have to worry about packing a bunch of food. I mixed the chocolate flavored mix with 10 ounces of almond milk and then put another two scoops in my pack to mix in my water bottle if I started to get weak. I was pleasantly surprised that I felt full and had great energy and only refueled at the rest stops with the great food they put out for the riders. Vive was very convenient, delicious and did the job! My friend who had oatmeal for breakfast was bonking!!
The ride was beautiful. We crossed rivers, passed cotton fields and travelled through quaint towns. Lunch was served in the town square of Summerville, SC. It was so much fun to see over 500 riders congregate in their neon yellow jackets on the lawn and park benches and just soak in the sun and eat the delicious, home made cajun food. The hospitality of the Festivelo crew was incredible!
We actually rode 62 miles that first day and arrived back at base camp on a real high. I only fell once, which was a miracle as I was just learning to ride clipped in. I actually fell three times the week before at the Hincapie Gran Fondo. Ouch!!
I was tired but extremely pleased with the day. My bike performed well and made the ride easy! My body performed well and I felt confident I could do another 60+ miles the next day. This was a great bike festival and I strongly recommend this ride for cyclists of all levels (25 mile, 50 mile and 100 mile routes each day).
Oh yeah, as we were sitting on the deck basking in our first after ride beer waiting for an oyster dinner to be served in the mess hall … this happened!!
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By: Wendy Lynam, Greenville Marketing Lab LLC
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