As I write this, the couch is my friend, letting me lay on it, rest while my fingers are at workbut my eyes are slowly getting heavier and heavier. Cant wait till sleepy time! What a day it was.
Last night, everything was packed. All that needed to be done was to air up the tires, get a few things together and head up. I surprisingly slept well and when 3:15 AM came around, it was shower time and time to get ready and be gone.
After the shower, I aired the tires. Back one first always and then the front. Both tires aired up, check. As I headed in the kitchen I hear a loud “pssssssssssssssssssssssss”. ****. No worries I
thought. I played around with the tire and found it was the valve. I brushed it off as an easy fix and changed it and since I have not had to change it for a long time (the front one that is), it was no issue. Grabbed a tube I recently patched, put it in, aired it up and done. Ok, kitchen time. “pssssssssssssss”. Dammit. Ok ok ok…. so putting a patched tube in before a century might not have been the right idea. Luckily, there was a brand new tube sitting over there. Grabbed it, changed it, air it and walked SLOWLY into the kitchen, keeping a keen eye on the tire. Once it was all good and everything packed, it was time to head out the door.
The drive was peaceful but tough to find good music on the radio. I use the music to get me in the mood, the right frame of mind if you will. Oh, I should mention before the drive out, I had to make a stop at WAWA to get some breakfast.No eggs in the house but WAWA fits the bill!
I arrived in Dover, Delaware pretty early which gave me a chance to get everything organized and packed. And the ladies were so nice, the let me sneak in and register an hour before they officially opened. Loved chatting it up with them.
Waited around until 7 AM and notice the wind picking up. The Weather Channel phone app gets used all the time to plan rides and I knew it was going to be windy and windier as the day progressed. On a good day the century “in saddle” time was at least 6 hours and some change so I needed to get going.This was a hard decision for me because last year, the Amish, with the horse and buggie, lead us out and it was a great experience. To ride with 2000 plus other riders while being lead out in an old style buggie was something you don’t get to do much. But at the end of the day, I needed to get going.
The wind was strong but suprisingly I was holding good speed, averaging 15.8 mph which is pretty good for a fat guy!
I was waiting… and waiting… and waiting for the first rest stop. They said it was like 12
miles in which was way to early but 29 miles later, I pedaled upon it. Good. I needed water and a little fuel. Five minutes later and back on the bike.
Some tunes sounded nice so a quick stop fixed that and it was time to pedal on, again andsome more.
I remember this clearly: the woods were to my left and open farm land to my right. I hear this strange noise on the left and it sounded like an animal going quickly through the branches. I gently swerved out of the of something and I almost took a hard fall. The wheel slipped out in front of me. I slowed down quickly just to find the front flat…. AGAIN. So lets go through this process again but this time a motorcycle pulled up with an older couple who were working for the Amish ride. They chilled out next to me and we talked while I changed the tire. Dave and Helen were very nice and I was thankful for the chat.
Ok, pedal. Lets do this! The wind was picking up and to be frank, it was tough. All you can do is try to think of something else, change into an easier gear and try to get through it. I was riding solo and tried to tag on to some pacelines but they ended up being too fast for me. You have to be very careful who you latch onto because if you are putting out too much energy, you actually are doing yourself no good! Working more then saving energy and pacelines are about saving energy.
The next rest stop was the pie stop. Yes folks I said it… pie stop. This is where 2000 sliced pies wait for tired and hungry cyclists to come and get their slice. In the past, it was said, that you could have unlimited pies but now you can only take one. Thanks for watching our waste line! But seriously, thanks to Bylers (click here to find out more info) who supplied the pies. I had one last year and it was delicious. This year, the line was too long and I decided to grab some cookies and pedal on. I do have to try to keep my skinny figure!
The two biggest drawbacks to the Amish Dover ride: 1) The cue sheets suck. Yeah they had the road names on there but no mileage. You didn’t know where the rest stop was (in mileage) and that makes it hard to plan out how much water to keep back and such. 2) The rest stops were not evenly placed like a lot of other rides. Century rides really do require 5 rest stops about 20 miles apart. And if there is any truth to that, today would have proved it, especially with the wind.
I could have used some M&M’s about now!
At mile 60, I was feeling week. The demons (aka the wind) were getting to me. My muscles were tired and had a lot of lactic acid build up and I was drained. I ate OK on the bike and also drinking a lot too. But for some reason, it was still hitting me.
At mile 71, I had to stop and did so at a school. It was time to throw in the towel. Once you are past a certain level of tired and no energy, there is no way to recover. And I knew that but had a hard time grappling with the idea of letting go of the towel. I have done two centuries this year and was looking for the third but I knew it was time to call it done. I called the SAG car, a car specially dedicated for picking up riders and helping out when needed. But they had no clue where I was even when I told them what street I was on. Great. Stuck out in butt freak Egypt. Maybe if I slept here overnight, the wind would stop. Ha!
I called my good friend Nadja who rode with a few others and did the metric century (62 miles). She picked me up and I was so thankful.
I think it was just because I didnt eat enough on the bike and my body was using so much energy to fight the wind. Thats all I can think of. I ate right the day before, loaded up the morning of, drank a lot of water pre and during the ride so I think it was eating on the ride. Good learning!