Atlas Ride 2011

My dad (a.k.a. Superfan) signed us up for The Atlas Ride.


Given the choice of 20, 50, 0r 70 miles, we chose 50. Mostly because if you went only 20, you didn’t end up finishing at the finish-line party at a winery, and if you did 70, well . . . you did s-e-v-e-n-t-y. Even though it was the first really good, long distance ride I’ve done all year, I didn’t train. Not to worry, though, because Dad didn’t either. Not at all. So at least if one of us was going to topple over from exhaustion, dehydration, or general blobishnees onto the sun-bleached, tire-poppingly hot asphalt, clipped-in to our pedals and pretzled around a road bike left helpless to be sidewinded (sidewound?) by a wayward desert snake – at least the other one wouldn’t be too far behind.


We didn’t really know what we were in for, or even what the Atlas ride was all about, until we got out there. We hung around at the start line for a while, taking in all the free Power Bar Gummies our burgeoning jersey pockets could hold and posing for what would become our cameo in the background of the even footage on the local evening news. (“No papparazi!”). Once we started out, it seemed that we reached the 20-miler turnaround way too soon – we felt great. Not wanting to jinx ourselves, neither dared to mention that we were already 20% percent through and feeling fine, but we rolled on by the rest stop sans re-fuel or restroom.


By the halfway point, where the hulking 70-milers branched off from the puny 50-milers, they had peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches and smoothies. Now THAT, my friends, is ride support. Keep your Gatorade and Gu, just gimme the good stuff. We still felt fine, but at this stop we dared to admit it. Could it already be mid-morning and the cloud cover had not yet burned off? Did we really just ride 25 miles?


By the 3/4 point we stopped for water and orange slices because, really, you can’t find good orange slices anywhere besides a little league soccer match, and good luck trying to get in on that action without coming off like a TOTAL creep. (Don’t ask.) The clouds had burned off, but only just. We weren’t too hot, too thirsty, or anywhere near bonking. The PBJ-Smoothie combo had been the mid-ride snack of champions (or at least of persistent finishers). From that point on, it was easy to settle in for the end of the ride knowing we’d soon be rolling into a winery, flashing our finisher’s writsbands, and enjoying all the free BBQ, beer, and glory we could handle.


When we finally rolled in to the party we realized that 50 miles isn’t that hard, after all. We’d spent the last leg of the ride marveling at how much fun we’d had, how great we felt that our pace has increased since last summer, and how next year we would DEFINITELY do the 70 miler. In our post-ride euphoria, we even tried to sign up for the Atlas 4000 (70 Days, Texas-to-Alaska, bragging rights forever). Alas, that ride is only for UT students, so we are forced into our new campaign to convince Mom to let us ride our bikes to the family reunion next year (7 days, Texas-to-Kansas, bragging rights forever).



  1. Sounds like you enjoyed it, survived it & had fun doing it – Congrats on being FP! My spouse and I take a cycling class twice a week and do about 12 to 15 miles in each class – just maybe a road bike trip is in our near future. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. awesome!!! keep it up! thank you for sharing. this is very inspiring!!! one day i would like to take my family on the seattle to portland bike ride. thank you !!! bless you! – debi intha

  3. So let me get this straight – you and your dad for the first time ever, biked 70 miles without any training or preparation and thought it was easy? Aack!. I will no longer blog about any biking I have done, and will have to change my name from Huffygirl to Lazygirl or Uselessgirl. I will now swear off all the training I’m doing…FOREVER!

    Congrats on being FP’d BTW.

  4. @huffygirl: We only went 50 miles; 70 is next year! 🙂 Oh and I only meant we didn’t train for 50; we’ve been riding 15-30 for a long time.

    @Debi: Seattle-to-Portland? I’d be so jealous!

  5. I did my first half century on this past 4th of July and I must say that it felt great and I can relate to everything you mentioned in your article. I wish you both the best of luck next year on the 70 mile ride but I know you will do just fine! Great article and thanks for sharing.

    Arnold Watson
    (Avid Rider)

  6. I’m so glad you were Freshly Pressed because it’s always good to meet a fellow cyclist. Great job on riding 50-and how cool that your dad rode with you! I’m part of Team Fatty and yesterday I rode 70ish miles in the Davis LiveStrong Challenge.

  7. I am so glad I came across this blog. You and your dad are inspirational. I am a bike rider myself, vintage one. I was having mixed feelings about a ride I am going to do next March in the south of my state here in Western Australia. It is a 9 day ride with the longest stage 105 kilometers. Your story has given me encouragement to know I can do it. Congrats to the both of you and thank you for sharing. Good luck in your future rides. Just love my bike.

  8. At this stage I am going it alone. Of course there will be I believe around 5000 riders on the ride so I am really looking forward to meeting people that like doing what I like doing.
    I must say I am stoked to get you to answer my comment Thank you! I didn’t think I would ever get to know someone on this bloging. Happy riding.
    Just love my bike.

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