Saturday, July 30, 2022

Anna’s Agony Ride 2022

Date/Location: July 29th/30th, 2022, Loyalton, CA
Distance: Goal: 112 Miles: Actual: 258 Miles
Money Raised Goal: $1000; Actual: $2147.40

(Story Below)


Loop 1 (1pm-4pm)

Today I'm going to be doing the Agony Ride for Christen Encounter Ranch. It is a 24-hour event and my goal is 112 miles. I think it is doable, but I definitely want to pace myself. We get there a little late and I’m rushing around trying to get everything done. I always like to have everything ready with about a half an hour before the event happens. By the time everyone's lining up I've just gotten my bike clothes on. I'm a little stressed out, but I know that God will have everything work out. Before I get my bike, my dad quickly makes sure all the gears are working. He then realizes my shifters aren't working and he quickly starts to fix them. As my bike is being fixed, they start to send out the special riders and are soon going to send out everyone else. The announcer then starts the event and everyone takes off, except me, because I’m waiting for my bike. I know God has a plan and I'm glad dad is able to fix my bike before I start. He quickly hands it back to me and tells me that I'm going to have to have it fixed next time around because the shifting wires are breaking. I thank him and take off trying to catch up to Amy. Amy said she is going about 15 miles an hour to start, so I'm going to try to hang with her the first lap.

After working really hard, I catch up with her and her group. I hop onto their group’s draft and enjoy the ride toward Vinton. Each section of the course is about 12 miles. We have to bike to Vinton then Beckwourth and then Loyalton. Loyalton is where the race started and where my dad is stationed with my stuff. In the group, everyone rotates and pulls the draft for a little bit. It's nice when you have a lot of people because you get more draft time than you do cycling time. We arrive at Vinton and take a quick stop to use the restroom. Everyone starts to take off and I quickly catch up. I enjoy talking to the rider and learning about their different backgrounds and stories. The ride to Beckwourth is really long. On the way there I bike in front for a little bit and help pull for everyone. It didn't actually feel that bad. We get the Beckwourth and take a little bit of a longer break, I enjoy eating the snacks and filling up my water as I get ready to head back out. I've made sure to be drinking a ton of water about every 15 minutes at the least. Water will help flush out my system and keep me going strong as it has in other races.

On the way back I enjoy talking to Julia, one of the really fast girls. Her goal is 300 miles! That is so many! We all arrive back in Loyalton and I'm so happy to see my dad again! That 38-mile loop wasn't actually that bad. A lot of people said it was really hot, but the Lord sustained me with a nice temperature and it felt fine. I now get to take a 30-minute rest. My plan is to bike each loop for about two and a half hours and then take a half an hour break and go out again. Amy takes this 30-minute break with me.

Loop 2 (4pm-7pm)

Amy and I hang out with this other kid who is 16 years old. We're doing pretty well, but Amy gets tired and eventually I break off from the group. I know Amy's okay and she's probably going to be resting at the next aid station in order to get her energy back. I rush to the next aid station hoping I can catch on to another group of bikers. When I get there I see Tom, Amy's dad getting ready to head out. I quickly use the restroom and join his group. I know Tom very well so it's nice to be able to ride with him. I ride with Tom's group all the way to Beckwourth and then back to Loyalton. I get to know Tom and Nate, heads up CER, very well as I stay with them the whole time. Other riders bike with us for a little bit and then take off or stay back. Tom is so funny as he enjoys mooing at the cows and saying “hey hey” when we go by the hay barn. I love his enthusiasm and I also try to encourage the bikers to keep biking with the Lord's strength. I'm also impressed with how Tom and Nate are riding in aerobars! I would get so sore if I rode in aerobars for 24 hours. Also, as we’re biking, we see some rain clouds off in the distance. Too bad they're not on top of us right now. It would be great to have a sprinkle of rain in this heat!

Loop 3 (7pm-10pm)

Once we get back to Loyalton, we take a shorter break than I did before and head out again. I'm really enjoying biking with Tom and Nate. They're great bikers and keep a very steady pace. We're hitting between 15 to 17 miles per hour. Whenever it's my turn to pull the draft for them, it takes me a while to figure out how to pull the draft at a reasonable pace. I keep going too fast because I don’t want to go too slow. At each age station now, I've been starting to drink more pickle juice. Pickle juice is supposed to help your muscles not cramp up and give you salt. At the aid station, I try to drink two small cups of pickle juice. Not my favorite thing in the world to drink, but I'll do it to help my muscles out. I also started having some hard-boiled eggs to give me some protein. At every aid station, I’ve been making sure to always eat and drink. I want to make sure I have enough energy. The sun is also starting to set now. It is very beautiful to watch as we bike off into the sunset. Nate and Tom talk about how you get to bike from sundown to sun up. I've never done that before and I'm so excited to do that for the first time. It also encourages me to bike more at night so I can say that I biked from sundown to sunup. Even though the sun is down, it's still pretty light out and we don't have to turn on our flashlights till about the last 12 miles. I finally get back to Loyalton and get to have a baked potato that my dad prepared for me. It's delicious!

Loop 4 (10pm-1am)

By now I have biked 114 mi! Thanks to God I've completed my goal! Originally I planned just to hang out, go to bed, then wake up in the morning, and try to do more loops. But Tom and Nate are going to head back out again, so I follow them back out to try one more loop at night. By now I’ve started to really feel my legs getting tired, but the baked potato my dad made me has been giving me energy. I go back out in the dark of night with a bar of chocolate to keep me awake and a flashlight to light my way. We are biking with a few more people now and they have tons of energy and shout, “We’re the night-riders!” Every section of the course now feels longer because I can't see that we're making any progress in the pitch-black darkness. There are stars in the sky, but no moon tonight. It's also gotten pretty cold, but I have enough layers to keep me warm. I get some hot soup at Vinton and Beckwourth to keep me going and warm. Even with the cold, I enjoy biking with Tom and Nate and watching little mice as they pick their heads out at our flashlights. The chocolate also works to keep me awake and going. When I started the ride the chocolate had melted from the hot car. Throughout the ride, the chocolate is slowly getting harder from the cold weather. I eventually get back to Loyalton and I stop to take a nap. Tom and Nate decide to go out for another loop and I tell him I will join them when they get back. I go lay down for a 3-hour nap.

Loop 5 (4am-7:30am)

I wake up at 4:00 a.m. in the morning so refreshed from only a 3-hour nap. I can't wait to see Tom and Nate come in soon. However, it's kind of daunting to wake up and try to get back on that bike and keep biking. But I know with God's help I can get back out there. I see Nate and Tom and they look exhausted. However, instead of resting for a little bit, they're ready to go back out again. I get ready with some more chocolate and head back out. As we get close to Vinton the sunrise starts to begin. I can now start to see the landscape around me better. Also, as we get close to the Vinton aid station, we get a whiff of bacon and eggs! Breakfast! We curve around the aid station and sure enough, they're cooking breakfast! I get some eggs and a hot biscuit. Yum! We then head back out and I take some photos as we're biking away from the sunrise as it comes up. The next stretch is well lit as the sun comes up, however, the sun is being blocked by the clouds so it's still pretty cold. I know it's going to get hot later, but it would be nice if the sun could shine on us a little bit right now. We can also see a little bit more rain clouds this morning, however, now I don't want it to rain on us at all now! We get to the next aid station at Beckwourth and Tom and Nate take a 5-minute nap. I don't know how they do it. We then hit the road again with a few more friends and pick up our pace again. By now I’m just staring at the bike ahead of me in order to get through the long stretches. I also start to stand up a lot on my bike because my seat is no longer comfortable in any position. We finally make it back to Loyalton.

Loop 6 (7:30am-11am)

We head out for my sixth loop hoping to get one final loop before we go for extra miles. Everyone's quite tired now, but we've gotten a bigger group of riders together as we head out. By this time, I've biked this loop so many times I know all the landmarks on every single lap. I've also developed a new way to get through so many miles of biking pretty fast. I tried to safely stare at the biker’s breaks in front of me and try to zone out by just staring at them. It makes time go by faster. We all also enjoy talking to other riders we see riding and telling them “good job” to encourage them to keep going. It's also nice to look at the scenery around me. There are so many fields with so many cows and calves, it's cool to watch them enjoying themselves in the fields. We are biking at a good pace, but are taking longer breaks. I've been really appreciating every aid station with all the volunteers. They are so helpful, grabbing my bike and all I have to do is sit there while they get me whatever I need. I’m very appreciative.

Loop 7 (11:30am-1pm)

Finally, we make it back to Loyalton and we were almost done with the ride! We all decided to head back out and just zoom through Vinton without stopping. I tell them that I'd like to get 30 miles in this hour and a half we have left. I've now decided that I want to try to get 258 miles because friends of mine did 257. We head out at a fast pace. When we get to Vinton, I quickly use the restroom and head back out with my group. However, a few other people made some stops and we had to wait till they caught up. I'm about to hit 12:00 p.m. meaning I have to bike about 18 mph this last hour just to get my goal. I asked Dave, who hasn't been biking the whole 24 hours, if he'd be willing to help me push this last hour. He's up for it, and Dave and I take off on the highway. He gives me a great draft for the highway section and then I give him a draft for the next road section. He seems pretty tired though and has trouble staying in my draft. He gives me one more draft and then I take over again for him. This time he can't stay up with me and falls back a little bit. I'm very appreciative that he helped me get this far and I keep pushing on to see if I can hold this 18 mph. I continually ask God for strength because I don't think I can hold this pace forever. I get close to the next aid station and I see a bicyclist on the side of the road. I realized that if I take time to help this lady, I won't have enough time to make my goal in the end. However, I know that God would want me to help this lady more than get my goal. I stop and realize that she's suffering from heat exhaustion. I give her a rag that is around my neck and make sure she has water. I then call my dad and ask him to have someone come pick her up. Just about 30 seconds later, a truck is driving by and stops to help out the lady. After verifying that she is good, I take off on my bike. Thanks to God, my stop took no time and there is still a chance I can get my goal. I'm biking as fast as I can and bike right through Beckwourth aid station. I head back out with about 15 minutes to go. I'm biking as hard as I can and wave to Dave, Tom, and Nate as they're biking by. As I’m biking, I realize I'm probably not going to hit my goal, and might just be only able to get 257. However, I know that I'm not going to give up and I will give my best effort until the last second. I think about all students and how I want them to never give up on God's strength, even if it looks like the goal will never be completed. As I’m biking super fast with God's strength, I start to realize that there is a small chance I can get my gold. I hit 256 and then 257 with a few minutes to go. I hit 258 I with 3 seconds to spare before it hits 1:00 p.m., the closure of the race! It was totally God and I give him thanks as I stand there done with the race. My dad later comes by and picks me up. It was a great way to spend my 24 hours helping out the ranch and the kids. At that moment I didn't feel too tired, but it all caught up to me later. What a hard, but a great event!

Praise The Lord For He Is Good, His Love Endurance Forever!