I did this ride last year with 2 friends. This year, we had a team of about a dozen women riding in the event!
I stayed the night before the ride at the Holiday Inn Express in Edinburgh with Christy and another friend. I have to take a moment to rave about this hotel experience. It's so easy to vent about negative customer service experiences... I want to make a point of sharing positive ones, too. From the moment we walked in, we were wowed. The building is beautiful. The lobby is open and inviting and nicely decorated. The front desk staff were smiling and happy and eager to greet us. We asked if they offered late check out as we were hoping to be able to return to the hotel after the ride for quick showers before being locked in a car with our sweaty, dirty, riding selves for the hour+ drive home... and it was no problem. In fact, they extended the late check out just a smidge more than they "should" to help ensure we would get our showers. And he also said that if we didn't make it back in time, we could use the lobby restrooms to clean up as much as we could. Up to the room. We got a 2 bed junior suite so it had a little sitting area and a larger TV and a microwave and fridge. This room was spacious and clean and nicely decorated and very comfortable.
As we settled in for the evening, we realized we wanted to order a pizza or something for dinner. The front desk had ample menus and even coupons to offer us! Then we realized we had forgotten the corkscrew for our bottle of wine. Front desk had one. Out friend had forgotten her charger- but guess what? When she went to ask the front desk about finding a store nearby so she could buy one... they had a charger she could use! The hotel served breakfast in the morning and this was the only weak part of the stay. The eggs and the sausage gravy weren't very good. Very salty and a weird texture to each of them. But the rest of the offerings were awesome- yogurt, cereal and milk, typical breakfast breads. But the coolest thing was the automatic pancake maker. You seriously just set down a plate and pushed a button and this contraption made 2 pancakes in less than 1 minute!
So after a pleasant evening in a hotel that exceeded our expectations, we headed to the starting point for the ride.
Last year, it was gray and rainy for the ride. This year, it was full on heat, sun, and humidity. When we got back in the car after the ride, temps were around 91 degrees! I really enjoyed the ride. Last year, I struggled a bit by the end. This year, I was just starting to feel tired and done when we reached the end. And I think that was partially mental- I knew we were at the finish line. Had it been another 10 miles, I think I could have done it.
Last year, I got better pictures. This year, I tried getting pics with my phone while riding and the results were sometimes humorous...
In this one, I was trying to get a picture of my friends riding behind me with a big tractor riding behind them.
And another attempt at a shot of that tractor...
Thankfully, I have great memories of the beautiful farm landscape so the few pictures I did capture are of other fun things.
And "old" ladies making their riding outfits... fun...
And best of all, girlfriends to ride with.