Yesterday's Summer Solistice Century ride turned out to be one of the toughest I've ever done. Fortunately, it was also incredibly beautiful, and had much better roads than the Sierra Century I'd done earlier this month.
I thought I was pretty well trained up for the double metric option, but it whipped me good. After the ride, I was so mentally and physically out of it I didn't feel safe behind the wheel...it took a shower, a chicken pasta dinner, an ice cream, 4 cans of Pepsi (I *never* drink sodas!), and a 45 minute nap before I felt safe enough to drive home!
Here are some of the details:
Distance: 135.9 miles (my longest ride ever)
Elevation gain: 13,733 feet
Avg. Speed: 14.2 mph (quite respectable..thanks more to my descending skills than my speed going up!)
Max Speed: 51.3 mph (sorry, Mom!)
Ride Time: 9 hr, 36 minutes
Total Time: 10 hrs, 30 minutes (started at 6 am, finished at 4:30 pm)
Temperature range: 40-96 degrees F
Calories burned: 6,632
Wildflowers: saw dozens of different species, including sweet pea, lupine, bear grass, leopard lily, skunk cabbage, red columbine, and California lilac (aka, blueblossom), buck brush, and many more. It was surprising to see so many, this late in the season, but I think it was due to the heavily forested region we were riding through.
Smooth, trash-free roads, with very little traffic.
The 12-27 cassette I put on the bike on Wednesday really helped by giving me some lower gears to work with on those steep slopes...although I still spent a shocking amount of time in my lowest gear going 4-6 mph. The 39/25 would not have been low enough for some of those leg-breaking steep sections.
Great support - sag vehicles out on course, plenty of rest stops, and friendly volunteers.
I knew I was going to be in for a tough day when I checked my altimeter at the 17 mile mark...it showed that we had already done 3500 feet of climbing, with extended grades between 12 and 17 percent! And the "century" hadn't even started! Thankfully, the temperatures were still cool, and we had great views of the Feather River canyon.
At the 75 mile mark, while climbing back over the Sierra crest from Lake Oroville (our low point), the temperature was 96 degrees, there was no shade, and heavier traffic due to the nearby lake. We'd been climbing for about 45 minutes, when I came upon rest stop 5a. Normally, I just fill my bottles, grab some food, thank the volunteers, and go. But, this rest stop was different - the organizers had set up a large swamp cooler, powered by a generator on a trailer! So, while the nice volunteer woman filled my water bottles and got me a slice of cold watermelon with salt, I put my head into the outlet of the swamp cooler and tried to drop my core temperature. What a treat that was!
At the 92 mile mark we had 2 miles of dirt road due to construction. Uuugh!
At the 100 mile mark: I was cursing like a sailor, as I tried to weave the bike back and forth, in an attempt to keep the bike moving on a lengthy section of 15% grade.
It took over 30 minutes to go from mile 100 to mile 103...talk about discouraging!
Thankfully, once we hit the crest, we had good roads and tail winds for the last 20 miles.
Bottom line...a really great "first ride of summer", but I'm not sure I want to go back...that was one long hard day in the saddle!