It was a special day, not to mention a beautiful one, and a personal milestone in my "rebirth" as cyclist. 7am on Sunday I was on the road, riding to the start of the Grizzly Peak Century. I've done this century a few times in the past, before my "slip" from cycling, and the inevitable weight gain that eventually came with it.
I met up with another club member to ride to the start with en-route. He didn't do the century with me, due to his knee problems, but it was great having an escort to the start. On the way up, a perfect "postcard moment" presented itself as we started up the actual climb to the car free check-in for the event.
[Bay Bridge on the left, Golden Gate Bridge off in the distance]
Quite a few folks were already at the first reststop/car free check-in by the time I got there. I quickly signed in, got one of the souvenir water bottles, had some coffee (great idea for the early stops on a supported ride) and hit the road. By that time, I was already well warmed up by the climb to the start.
The first bit of road, being a bit rough and full of potholes, I took it nice and easy. As the course turned onto the flatter and faster section, I quickly got into my groove, not hanging on anyone's wheel for too long, making sure to call out to those I was about to pass, and generally just enjoying the ride.
I made sure to take advantage of the rest stops before lunch. This century is known for providing a good selection of food at their stops, and a nice hot meal at the lunch stop 70 miles into the ride. In fact most people call it a day there. At the lunch stop I ran into another member of my club who was helping out with the ride that day. We talked for a while before I collected the swag that I ordered when I signed up (Jersey, t-shirt, extra water bottle)
From lunch, I continued on the afternoon loop, which just happens to pass within blocks of my home (I love it when a plan comes together!), where I called it a day. I ended up with 101 miles on the day, with 10,000 ft (give or take), of climbing. And you know what, I think I felt better doing this century this time around than when I've done it in the past. At no point in the ride, did I feel like I was suffering. Sure, I had to drop into my granny gear (love those triples!) during the steepest climb, but then again, so was everyone else that had more than two chainrings, so I was in good company.
A wonderful day to be out. Rode the course in 7hours 42 minutes, with an average of 13.05mph. Roughly 9 1/2 hours total time (I did mention I took advantage of the rest stops, didn't I??