I had hoped to get in a sub 5 hour Century this year and I was able to do that today. I had the help of riding with a group and also a relatively flat route but I'll take it anyway I can get it. The ride was the Fletcher Flyer which was south of Asheville, NC.
I started with the front group and I'm guessing there was 100+ in our group. There were at least 200-300 more in slower groups and also doing shorter routes. I'm estimating that about 10 riders dropped off of the front group for each 10 miles we did. Although at 60 miles we probably only had 25-30 left.
Hoping to ride with the front group I did something I've never done. Normally I carry two water bottles in the cages on down tube and seat tube but today I put an extra water bottle in my back jersey pocket hoping I would not have to stop along the route.
Things were going great and about the 45 mile mark we crossed some RR tracks at a fast clip and one of my bottles jumped out of the cage. Unfortunately it was my completely full one and the other one only had a few ounces of fluid left. Wanting to stay with the group I kept going. I was so thankful I'd put in the extra water bottle in my jersey. I moved it down in the empty cage and life was good........at least for 5 more miles.
You can probably see what's coming. Yes, we crossed another RR track at 50 miles and out came the bottle that was full!! Once again things were going so well with this group that I decided to stay with them and get as many miles with them as I could and refill the bottle at the best opportunity I could find.
At 60+ miles I was second guessing myself. While it wasn't terribly hot it was pushing 80 degrees and pretty humid. The group was working harder and I was down to my last few drops. We finally came to a water stop at 65 miles and to my surprise 25 guys pulled over. I quickly filled my one bottle and took off ahead of the rest.
Stupid me, I was so thirsty I drank 1/2 the bottle in the first couple miles after stopping!! I should have at least got a good drink back at the rest stop so I'd have full bottle........
Anyway, we regrouped and I stayed with them until the 90 mile mark when I stopped again for gatorade. I might have been able to make it but just didn't want to take the risk of total dehydration. There were only about 10 of us at that point. Most of the others went on in together and I probably finished 3-4 mins behind them.
Except for the water shortage it was a great ride. The new gearing worked well. Plus we had a motorcycle that rode ahead of us the whole way. He pointed out hazards in the road, cautioned oncoming cars of the pack and and also warned slower riders ahead of us to move over. He also stopped at every intersection and controlled traffic so we could roll on through. That was sweet!!!
My total time was 4 hrs 50 mins with 2 mins of that for stops for the 101 miles. I think my average speed was right at 21 mph with about 4400 feet of climbing.