This Saturday was meant to be my first century but unfortunately did not happen. I had signed up for the tour day Perris, a part of the cities centennial celebration, at the coaxing of some co-workers who knew this as something I wanted to do. I had trained for this since late July progressively increasing my mileage to a peak last weekend of 79 miles. All of my training had been based on the advertised elevation profile of the ride, 100 miles, 3 #5 rated climbs and 2400 ft. of elevation change, no more than 4% grade. First lesson learned: Pay attention when they say route subject to change. I had gone into the ride slightly nervous but confident I could pace myself and be fine. I consciously raised potassium intake over the previous week since I had cramping at about 68 miles on the pre-century ride, went to bed early the night before etc., etc. I made it through the first 60 miles to the lunch stop (54 official miles, lesson two learned: mile markers on the route slip can be wrong, this caused a 6 mile “detour” to get back to the ride) without issue, feeling all right and making decent time. I was a getting a bit concerned however as I was just starting to realize just how much the route was changed from the advertised route. The route slip showed “prepare to climb” at two spots, 29.87 miles and 56.41 miles and at this point of the ride I had climbed no less than 4 challenging hills some of which I now know exceed 10% grade, lesson three learned: I need more climbing practice on steeper grades. I left lunch still determined to finish. I noticed I was starting to get some chafing so before leaving I went to the restroom wiped up, dried up and re-lubed “the equipment” with the small container of udder butter I had packed . Official mile 56.41, my 62+ brought the beginning of the end. I started up the next “marked” climb. This was longer and steeper than I was used to. I was passed by a few riders on the way up but still made it to the top to be rewarded by a fast descent, I though the pain was over until I turned the next corner. The climbs did not stop coming and just got worse. I had to stop multiple times on each which was frustrating to say the least. Lesson four learned: the 11-28 rear cassette is nice but on real hills I need a compact. At mile 63+ (my 69+) I was beat, I was cramping, it was F****** hot and I had to walk the hill. Lesson 5 learned walking on asphalt in spd-sl cleats will quickly destroy them. I made it to the next rest stop (one not listed on the route slip) and learned I was the last one to make the stop. My legs where burning and no one was sure what the remainder of the route had in store. Jeepseahawk, whom I had met at the beginning of the ride and had caught up with me in these suffer fest hills, had a Garmin 500 which reported the climb thus far at over 3300ft, I had not trained over 2400 so it made sense that I was dying. At that point I was looking up what looked like at least another ½ mile of climb and with great distress made the choice not to continue. My speedo reported a hair over 70 miles, Mapmyride running on my droid reported 75.48, and the route slip reported somewhere around 64. I took what felt like the longest car ride in my life back to the start. I was genuinely depressed by the failure as I felt I had let down everyone who was cheering me on. I have been fortunate in life in that most everything I attempt I am successful at so this while not a new feeling, was a rare feeling. Many people knew of my plans and where waiting (and some calling) for a report of success. Every time the phone rang I sunk deeper and ignored them. Lesson six learned: keep personal challenges close to chest (however see lesson seven) My hour long drive home was hard. I pretty much broke down talking with my wife, no fun. I was focusing on the failure. I posted the results on my facebook page hoping the calls would stop. I had no desire to look at the bike again let alone touch it or ride it so it stayed on the rack when I got home. Fast forward to Sunday morning. I woke up and at my wife’s prodding checked my facebook. Friends and family had all commented on my “success”. WHAT?!?!? It took a while to sink in but once it did lesson seven revealed itself: I am my own worst critic. Sometimes we need friends and family for accountability, but sometimes we need them to point out what we cant see. I reflected back and realized: I had ridden a bicycle over 70 miles and climbed over 3300ft of hills, something most people I know would never even attempt.
I got out of bed and presented my 14 and 11 yr old children with the opportunity to “help me jump back on the horse” .We racked up the kids bikes and went down to our local river trail. We stopped for lunch at rubios about 14 miles in. Sitting there one of the other patron’s stated dialog regarding the ride. He asked how far we had ridden and had far we had left to which my daughter responded we had ridden 13-14 miles and had about 11 to go but that I had ridden over 70 miles the day before. They were amazed and asked me about it to which I responded that I had attempted 100 but only made the 70. They gave me once of those looks and sarcastically said “oh only 70” Lesson eight learned: add strangers to lesson seven.
The kids paced me out a great 25 mile recover ride and I felt good afterwards.
I am looking for my next century attempt and given that I live in southern California which is anything but flat, I am adding more hills to my training rides. With that I have a few questions:
Can anyone suggest a good second first century attempt?
Would money be better spent on a compact crank to ease the hills or a garmin edge 500 with hrm to better monitor the difference between perceived “max zone” vs actual plus better route info?
I am still getting chafing on these longer rides(both rides this happened on where around 70+ miles and both were after I had a pro bike fit) I tried udder butter on Saturdays attempt but it did not seem to help. I am using L2P bibs . Suggestions? ( side note, I noticed that my l2p bibs which are a hair over three months old and worn 3-4 times per week are starting to wear through at the point of the worst chafing, don’t know if this illustrates anything)
If you read down this far thank you and hopefully lesson seven and eight will help spark something in someone else.