Updated: Nov 18
I had my 50th birthday on the horizon and I knew if I wanted a party, then I would definitely need to organize it. My daughter, Jill was
17 years old and a high school senior and my son, Cameron was 19, was working and taking classes at SRJC. I wasn’t in a relationship so it was all on me! I love planning things especially parties so I was happy.
Since this birthday was a Big one, I needed to go all out. I do many athletic events so I felt the need to make this a part of my celebration. I decided on a 50-mile bike ride on the Saturday before my actual birthday. It was to be on November 1st and I was really hoping not to
be rained out. My friend Tommy had done something similar for his 53 rd birthday so of course he was invited. I went out on rides every weekend before for about a month. Tommy
would come and my friend Julie. We added miles until we reached 50 the weekend before the party. I had a great route selected that would bring us by Hop Monk in Sebastopol at mile 34 and we could have a light lunch and a beer before finishing. I invited everyone I knew. I sent out a facebook invite to all my friends. I made up a flyer too. My son drew this awesome picture of a lizard riding a bike. I used that picture and had commemorative t-shirts made up to give to everyone that participated. On the back was my slogan, “Smarter than a lizard since 1964!” I had about 50 shirts made.
I also had the trophy shop make my personalized finisher medals too!
In addition, I privately challenged myself to running 50 miles in 5 days, starting the following day. I practiced pushups for almost 2 months, adding more each day until 4 days before my 50th birthday. I was upstairs at my gym on this day, when I decided it was time to see how far I could get without stopping. These were full push-ups, not the girlie kind either. I got to 30 rather easily. I started slowing down a lot at
37. Sometimes at the top, I would rest an extra second or two. 42, 43...Oh my God, these were getting hard. I decided then I would finish. I have to confess, the last four were pathetic! I was happy that no one was looking but then again..... no one witnessed my success either. Then around the corner came Al! I had to tell him! I was so excited to share it with him that I hugged him! Bonus! So now, the push-ups part was successfully completed.
I was getting excited for Saturday and the bike ride. I had about 20 of my friends tell me they were riding with me. My daughter’s sophomore English teacher committed to riding the first 34 to Hop Monk. He would have lunch and a beer but needed to grade papers. I planned to have a party after with food, beer and cake. If my friends wanted just to come to the party, the bike ride was optional. I made a lot of my favorite salads and other yummy treats. Tracy wanted to be in charge of my cake. It was a surprise.
Everything was ready for Saturday.
The weather was great! I let everyone know that I wanted to leave at 10am so I could be home in time to shower before party guests arrived at 5pm. Out of the 20 folks that committed to the ride....not all showed up. I was sad when Tommy and Julie didn’t show because they were my training partners. My good friend Johnny showed up. My daughter Jill borrowed a bike to go with us. Sarah came up from San Francisco to ride. Francis came but admitted he did no training and it had been awhile since he was even on a bike. Mr. Steinglass, the English teacher was dropped off by his girlfriend. Out of my 20 committed biking friends, only 6 showed
up.. I was happy when we started the ride. We made a big production with pictures of course! We rode down east cotati to Petaluma hill road and turned right. We rode through Penngrove toward Petaluma and then up Stony Point to west sierra. I kept looking back to see if all my friends were still coming along. Francis was back there and I was worried about him. He did not even wear a helmet. Just before we turned on West Sierra, I got a flat tire! Oh, man! We were able to change it on the road and that gave Francis time to catch up. We rode up the hill on West Sierra and on the way down Francis let me know he was turning back to my house when we got to Cotati. He said he would be back for the party. We lost one!
We continued on East Cotati and we were even passed by Mo from campus and she honked. When we got to Petaluma Hill road again, we turned left this time to head to Santa Rosa. Sarah’s friend Patti wanted to join in on the ride and we found her at Petaluma hill road and expressway. We added one! Shortly after Patti joined us, Sarah got a flat. Patti and Sarah changed it and I hung out with them. Mr. Steinglass didn’t wait and he rode off not knowing the route completely. We met up with him at Hop Monk. Jill and Johnny were riding slowly, and we eventually caught up with them.
We rode into Santa Rosa and got on the Prince Greenway creek trail. No traffic now.
It drops us off at Willowside road and we then took some country roads to get back on the Joe Rodata trail into Sebastopol. My daughter Jill did not like the big hill that we had to climb to get back to highway 116. She made it but not without complaint. On the country road, Johnny got a flat now. This many flats never happen. Why today? We didn’t have the right tube for him. We called Julie, Sarah’s girlfriend to drive and pick Johnny and his bike up. Julie and Johnny went to a bike store to get a tube. They met us at Hop Monk. Tracy came to have lunch with us. Now we were all together and almost done. Well, Jill was done at this point. Patti was close to her home and after lunch broke away. Mr. Steinglass had planned to leave at this point too. After lunch Johnny, Sarah and I, the last of the elite biking core mounted our trusty bikes with fresh tubes and hopped back on the Joe Rodata trail. This is always my favorite part of the ride. I have a couple of beers in me and no traffic until Santa Rosa Avenue. We do the route in reverse except we were a tad bit behind on time because of the flats. It was getting so close to 4pm when we got to Snyder. I decided to shave a bit off as we were very close to the mileage.....I might have missed it by a mile. We were rounding Snyder to turn on east cotati about two miles from home when I decided to stop and text my daughter. I stopped without letting Johnny or Sarah know. That was bad because when Johnny tried to stop Sarah hit him. They both went down. OOPS! Sorry guys. No injuries. I texted Jill to let her know we were on the way.
We rode down Lanyard court at 4:40pm just 20 minutes before the party was to start. Cameron and Jill had unrolled toilet paper to make a finish line. We all crossed it at the same time! What a ride! I took some pictures and then parked my bike. I had to dash in the house to shower and get pretty in 15 minutes! I never got ready so fast ever! I had a fabulous turn out for my 50th shindig!