I completed my first century this weekend. Things started off well at the start line with the temps at a cool 73 degrees and it got even better as we made our way out of the city just before sunrise and the temp drops to 69. From there on out however it got nothing but worse for me.
I managed to reach Hell's Gate - mile 60 - at 9:53 AM which was 7 minutes before the 100 mile route was closed and riders would get redirected to a shorted 80 mile route due to the heat. I, along with the other 17 riders I was riding with, took the turn and went on the 100 mile route. I was feeling good and had a 17.1 MPH average going at that point but the temperature was 102 at that point and continuing to rise.
At the rest stop at mile 70 the group I was riding with stopped and I was still feeling great. Shortly after starting again the group decided to split into faster/fewer rest stops and slower/all rest stops groups. For a moment I considered going with the faster group but realized that even though I felt great now I might not in a little while. Turns out that was one of the best decisions I made as five miles later I hit a wall. The last 25 miles were excruciating - the heat and lack of sleep the night before (3 1/2 hours) finally took its toll on me.
I ended up dropping down a 13 MPH pace and by the time I crossed the finish line I was down to 10 MPH. But hey, I finished and even though the official high (right about the time I was finished at 4:06 PM) in Wichita Falls was 109 my Garmin was reading 115 on the road in the sun. I'm not happy with the way I finished but I'm very happy I finished.
Good news was I didn't cramp and wasn't really sore. Bad news is my muscles just had no power after about mile 80. I'm pretty sure part of that was not eating quite enough near the end because of the heat and fatigue but I'm sure most of it was I simply haven't gotten in enough long rides to build up the necessary endurance to finish 100 miles with gas left in the tank. I did one metric century last month. Apart from that 51 miles was my once-a-week long ride. Time to start getting in some longer rides - especially before my next century.
Here's a link to the data from my Garmin: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/110086805