Monday, September 28, 2009

Ride of the Century

Fifty Miles In

This weekend concluded my last big training block before Pisgah and probably for the rest of the calendar year. For Saturday, I was charged with riding a road century, which was interesting for me as I'd long kept the dirty little secret that Lindsay Rodkey: Wannabe Endurance Stud had never ridden more than 70 miles on a road bike. The major reason for this had to do with my propensity for solo riding and the difficulty presented by trying to carry seven hours worth of food and water with me on a road bike. Long mountain bike rides are a bit easier, since I'm used to multi-lap formats, so I'm never far from the car and I don't feel like dork wearing a hydration pack on a mountain bike.

So when my September FasCalendar arrived with a road century on it, I searched the internet for a organized ride that would provide me with food and water stops along the way. I found that the Falling Leaves Blue Heron Bicycle Tour was the closest ride with a 100 mile option that day.

Unfortunately, "closest" still meant that it was nearly three hours away, but at least I had until 9:00 a.m. CDT (10:00 a.m. EDT) to sign in. I left around 6:15, but I had to stop at a gas station for a nap, because I was having trouble staying awake. Then it took me a while to find the place, because Rocky Point, IN is not on any map that I could find, so I basically had to get to the closest town that WAS on a map and stop for directions.

I was dressed and ready to start riding at about 8:45, but when I went to sign in, I got a bit of, "You're really right on the line of when we would recommend starting the 100; otherwise we'd probably tell you to do a shorter distance, but you look like an experienced bike rider." Eh, we'll see, but I drove over three hours to ride 100 miles and that is what I'm going to do. It really worked out for me, because I was determined to chase down some other 100 mile riders and not be the last one in.

I pulled out of the registration area with an "endurance pace be damned" attitude after riding hard for six hours the previous weekend. I has caught and passed some of the shorter distance people by the second aid station, and there was one lonely bike on the ground when I got to the third. It belonged to another 100 mile guy, so I knew I was no longer going to be the last one in or at least not by any significant amount of time. He rode a bit faster than me, but took longer stops, so we kept regrouping at the aid stations. By the last 15 mile section, we had caught four more guys, so I successfully avoided SAG wagons and sweepers.

It took me just a tad over seven hours, although the official route came out to be about 98.5 miles on my PowerTap. A couple of guys went past the finish to get the full 100, but that seemed a bit silly to me. I figured that finishing what was advertised as a century was enough.

After getting some free food and driving another exhausting three hours back home in the dark and rain, I had to get back up and do it all over again on Sunday. Well, not all. I only had to do four hours on Sunday, which came out to be about 52 miles on my tired legs. I'm still a little scared of the four days of major accumulated fatigue that I will experiencing in a mere 2.5 weeks, but hopefully this weekend has me a bit more prepared and after my taper I will be rearing to go.

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