Sunday, October 23, 2011

Solo Century

Last night I was excited and nervous about today's ride.  100 miles.  Alone.  New route.  My reliable rescue service (my wife) was out of town.

Yesterday I ate a lot of pasta and drank 3 beers (early in the evening), then drank lots and lots of water.  I stretched and prepped, developed my game plan, and hit the sack about 9:30.  I slept terribly.

I hit the road this morning at 7:35 and it was 57 degrees, with a slight northern breeze.   I made it without effort or issue to the town of Amado, the 25 mile point.  When I got there I noticed a huge bicycle event.  GABA was having their Tumacacori Century ride.  The riders had all left about 20 minutes or so before I got there, which left me a lot of people to catch, which I love doing.  I find I am a much faster rider with other riders around.  I did notice one thing; I am strong on the hills.  I'd follow a group for quite a while, until we hit the hills and then I'd pass them.  Hill work pays!

The GABA group turned around about 5 miles before of my turn-around destination.  When I reached their turn-around point there were two older gentlemen in volunteer shirts talking while their little dogs struggled to get at one another, their leashes tethered just about two inches short of an all out fight.  I wondered how the men just let that go on at their feet while they spoke.  About thirty seconds after I passed by, the volunteers yelled at me to stop and go back, one man in particular was in quite a panic.  It must've been one awesome conversation!

As I rolled down the three miles into Arivaca I forced myself to finish my fluids.  Once there I went to the store, bought more water and electrolyte drink, a granola bar and a king sized Snickers.  Ah, the perks of riding.

I found the road to be hillier than expected, but none of the hills as steep as I feared.  This is a beautiful ride, one of my favorites on my motorcycle.  On any given weekend, you'll find sports cars and motorcycles and cyclists riding here.  I hope you enjoy the pictures I stole from the web, none are mine.

I hit the wall shortly after the 60th mile.  I ate and drank some food, but it was getting hot outside, and the GABA group had moved out of that area in the extra 10 miles I rode plus the 20 minutes I took replenishing my stocks.  I pushed through it and hit a second wind between miles 70 and 85...I felt like a beast.  At mile 85 I stopped at the last GABA aid station.  They were packing up and I was running out of water.  I told them I wasn't part of the group but would like some water.  They offered me snacks and snacks and more snacks, perhaps so I'd have something for the water to chase!

I struggled from miles 95 to 100.  I had to do this mile and a half loop a few times to get to 100 miles. Silly chasing miles, but I didn't want to claim a century if I rode 94 miles.  I didn't want to say I rode 94 miles either.  All told, I returned home at 2:06, actual seat time exactly 6:00 on the nose.  My average pace was 16.8 mph.  Not bad considering the nearly 2000 feet of climbing.  When I was done, it felt every bit of the 93 degrees the thermometer read too!

I'm very thrilled to have done this today.  I am glad I had the conviction to head straight into the pain and discomfort I knew I'd endure because I know it'll pay off on race day.  I also know it'll pay off on my half marathon. 

Special thanks to the wonderful and helpful GABA people.  The riders were all pleasant and good spokes people for their sport and their volunteers were quite generous.

I can't believe I'm doing another century next weekend!

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