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The cycling strength of one hundred kilometers, plus more!
I rode at the Tarwheels Bikefest in Hillsborough, NC this morning. I couldn't have asked for better whether, especially as its been 100+ every day this week -- it was cloudy and relatively cool, probably topping out in the low 80s. What a great day to ride a metric century, meaning one hundred kilometers, approximately sixty-two miles.
I rode with Marc, a friend from work. We arrived at the race with enough time to get our things in order, and were ready to go to the starting line, when we realized we'd each forgotten something. He forgot sunscreen and I forgot my sunglasses. We hurried back to the car, but when we got back the riders had already left. It wasn't a big deal to be a minute or so behind the pack, but it also meant we didn't hear how you were supposed to know which turns to make. (You do get a printed list of the turns, but who can read that while riding?) We figured we'd just follow any cyclists in front of us.
The first ten miles felt a little hard, in part because I hadn't gone riding in a few days (see the weather note in the first paragraph). There were a lot of hills as well. We tried to join a paceline with a few different groups of cyclists, but they each turned out too fast. At about twelve miles, we finally found a husband/wife pair going our speed. We offered to ride with them and they were happy to have the help. I think the husband had been pulling the whole way so far! Over the next ten to twelve miles we picked up a few more riders and had a proper paceline, with everyone taking two to three minutes in the front. Now that's how you're supposed to ride! We kept together until the first rest stop at mile 25.
There was water, Gatorade, cookies, Fig Newtons, and slices of PBJ, not to mention brownies and other assorted goodies. That's the right way to do a rest stop! Although there were a lot of people at this stop, the riders leaving did not form any large groups. After the turn separating the 100K and 100mile routes, there weren't many cyclists going our way, and therefore it was hard to know where to turn. That was our excuse anyway. We'd gone about two miles in the wrong direction before guessing that we were not where we belonged. When we looped back we saw other riders making the correct turn and we learned how they did it. All of the turns were marked on the road with spray-painted arrows. Wish we had realized that earlier!
Coming into the second rest stop at mile 43, I was feeling pretty tired. Unfortunately, there was still a lot of cycling in front of me! The rest stop goodies were roughly the same at this stop, so I loaded up on some good stuff. I don't have a lot to say about the last set of miles, other than that it was pretty hard and it pushed my legs to approximately their maximum cycling effort. I also should have been drinking more water, which would have kept my legs happier. In retrospect, using my handy-dandy interal effort calculator (3-4 miles of cycling to 1 mile running), today's ride was about as hard as one of my longer marathon training runs, which sounds about right. In the end, we finished in 3:45 of riding time and 4:30 of total time and a riding average of ~17 mph. Then I went home and took a nap.
Posted by Andrew on August 11, 2007 at 3:26pmPermalink