It did not begin well. My stomach had been bothering me since Thursday because I was so nervous about the ride. When I went out to gear up and start the bike on Saturday morning, a steady rain began to fall.
Rain. I hadn't ridden in the rain before.
So, I sucked it up and MJ and I headed off to the meet-up spot with Nora following behind. I was a nervous wreck. Every little shiny spot on the pavement terrified me and I did not want to be going even as fast as we were going-- and we weren't going all that fast. We made it to the gas station and then to breakfast without incident, but I was so freaked out that when i got off the bike i left keys in and the lights on.
We kind of waited out the rain hoping it would stop-- it didn't, so we set out on the way to McHenry. There were 8 of us riding together- 2 Furies: Sue and MJ, 3 ladies from the HOG group, a regular city rider and then me and Joanna. Joanna had been riding 3 weeks and had never ridden in the rain or very far, and of course I have only done one long-ish ride an that was last season. So, yeah, we were quite a crew.
Sue led the way, i was the second bike, and somehow I managed to keep up despite being terrified out of my gourd. I didn't calm down until the nice long DRY straight stretches on route 12. But I still didn't want to go much over 45 mph.
Somehow though, we made it. I made it all the way to McHenry.
The blessing went great. It was a wonderful experience to have over 20 bikes and women there wanting their riding seasons blessed. Click here for pictures!
After the blessing however, I was NOT ready to ride back. I was so nervous I seriously thought I was going to lose the most excellent lunch McHenry Harley Davidson had provided. And then once we got on the road, the wind was blowing across the road and kept jostling me on the back of the bike which completely and totally freaked me out. I had no idea how to deal with the wind.
It was a long, slow ride home. I was a nervous wreck the entire way home. I was more nervous because there weren't as many bikes with us and because I was worried about the wind and about getting home on time and I just felt nervous. There was no part of the ride home that I actually enjoyed and that bothered me.
I had actually enjoyed parts of the ride out to McHenry, but on the way home I just couldn't get past my nerves and the desire to just get home and get off the bike.
All in all i rode 85 miles, had my first ride in the rain, my first group ride and my first long ride. It was a good day of firsts, but I wish I could get past the nerves and enjoy the ride.