Tomorrow it starts - century season. Actually the first opportunity was today but Hannah has messed it up. Tomorrow I am planning for a moderate paced century on rolling terrain through Saratoga and surrounding counties. Next weekend there are century opportunities on both Sat & Sun - I will try to get in on one of these. Then there are centuries almost every other weekend through mid November. One I have already signed up for is the Seagull in the first weekend in October (anyone else?).
This is the culmination of all the work I put in over the spring and summer - all those hills I sought out and climbed - sometimes repeating just to beat myself up real good. All those 5:45 AM morning rides done at full tilt just to build up areobic endurance. All those 65 mile + rides to toughen up the rear end and make sure the nutrition/hydration strategies work.
This first ride will not be an assault on the 5 hour century - my riding partner has not been able to put the training time in to ask that of him and I have not been able to sustain that speed even when working with a team for a ride longer than 20 miles. We should be able to do this century in just under 6 hours though.
One of the century options next weekend will have the right terrain for an attempt but I need to find a riding partner to work with. I did this century route in late July - the leader ran the ride slow (13 - 14mph) - so if I do it fast I will be on my own.
The Seagull is the next obvious opportunity to knock off this goal as it is flat and if the notorious head wind is not present I could probably tap into a fast pace line and make it happen - but I have set this time to ride with my brother who is 10 years older and not ready. After that ride my fitness will be dropping as the weather and sunlight will force me on to the trainer. The last of the season centurys will be slow and painful. So I guess this goal will need to wait another year. In reality - I am not at the fitness level required to hit this goal so it gives me something to shoot for next year. I am afraid that if I don't get this one within the next few years my deteriorating body will make it harder and harder to achieve and as with so many other goals - I'll have to let it go.
Next year I will probably start riding with a lunch time group who keeps a faster pace than my current riding group - this group could probably pull me through a 5 hour century next summer if I keep training for it and don't loose too much over the winter. This group will not take pitty on a weakling though - everytime I have ridden with them in the past they drop me on the first substantial hill and I complete the ride on my own - usually totally spent.
Isn't this a great sport!