If this post comes off as whining, and I should just HTFU, I apologize in advance, but I wanted to get this off my chest. It's way too long too, so skip it if that kind of thing bugs you.
Last weekend I did a hilly organized century ride a good distance away from where I live. I won't mention the name, because it's for a good cause, but it's easy to figure out if you're interested, or you can PM me.
I'd been looking forward to this event, because it was in an area where I used to live 20 years ago, and it involved some nice hill work including a 2500 ft climb on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway that I've always wanted to do. The century was 10000+ feet of climbing, and the metric was 6500 feet.
The ride was smaller than I expected. There were only about 100 riders. I don't know how many of them signed up for the century option originally. The day was very rainy. No downpours, but steady rain almost the whole way.
On the way off of the BRP it was very, very cold and the rain was as heavy as it had been all day. I seriously considered just doing the metric. We were advised that if we didn't make the "decision point" for the metric vs. the full century by noon, we should just do the metric anyway for time reasons. I made it to the turn-off by 11:15am. I'm not the fastest rider in the world, but I thought that was respectable. I was certainly riding in front of as many riders as were riding ahead of me.
I stopped for a minute to think it over, and then decided to go for it and push on. I was feeling pretty hard-core frankly. I was riding in the hills, in the rain, and was actually enjoying myself immensely.
Because of the rain, apparently only 5 or 6 people chose to do the full century option. Needless to say they were all faster than me (and 20 years younger.) By the time I got to the rest stop at about 60 miles, the SAG guy came up to me and asked me "the ride organizer wants to know how you're doing. Think you're OK to do the last 35 miles?" I thought that was kind of an odd question. I didn't think I looked all that bad. I was feeling fine. I said no problem, and took off a few minutes later.
At about mile 77, I was flagged down on the road by the SAG guy, who informed me that I was the "last one on the road". He said the ride organizer was complaining that everybody at the remaining rest stop and at the finish was ready to go home (it was only about 2:00pm at the time.) Nobody wanted to wait around for me to limp my way in. I was given the "option" of finishing the ride on my own, but there would be no remaining rest stop or other assistance in case I had problems.
I was pretty p*ssed. I didn't know the area well enough to take my chances on finding my way back. And why should I? I paid my money like everybody else. I felt like I had no option but to get in the SUV and drive back to the start. Here I was feeling pretty good, pretty hardcore for riding in the rain, and I ended up having to SAG in which I've never, ever done before in numerous organized century rides.
When we got back to the start the ride organizer was apologetic. She said, "I'm sorry you weren't able to finish the ride." I just said "I was able to finish the ride" and left.
I think this is really cheesy behavior on the part of any organized event like this. I won't be doing the ride next year, which is a shame, because it was beautiful country and a beautiful route.