Today was the 33 annual Florida FreeWheelers Horrible Hundred in Clermont, FL. Most riding in central and south FLA is pretty darn FLAt, but the Clermont/Lake County area is and exception. Besides the highest point in FLA (Sugarloaf Mountain) there are dozens' of other hills of various sizes, lenghts, and grades. While it's nothing compared to real mountain cycling, it's quite a challenge for us FLAtlanders.
The ride started in downtown Clermont at 8 AM. It was overcast, pretty chilly, for us unprepared Floridians, in the upper 50's, and a stiff north wind at 14+. I arrived at 7AM, thanks to Colleen of the Winter Springs Cycling Club. I was able to catch a ride with her from NE Orlando area, which spared my wife getting up at 5 AM.
The rest of my club arrived at 7:30 from local hotels, and the ride started at 8 AM. There was several thousand riders there, and it seemed most started for the 100 mi ride. It was a bit exciting with all those riders until things started to stretch out. I was with our A/B+ group, and we settled in to a 20 - 22 mph pace. At first the 8 of us found many other groups to hang with, pushing the pace up now and again. But as the hills came, the lines stretched out, and Felix and I started to drop off the back as the rest of the groups sped up the hills. We were able to catch them on the descents in most cases, and in all cases we met up with them again at the rest stops.
We skipped stop one, but stopped at 2, 3, and 4. At stop 3 (45 mi) I thought Felix got left behind, so slowed and finally stopped waiting for him. He never showed, so I took off, riding solo for most of the next 20 mi. At about 16 mi a group came by and I jumped in, and rode them to rest 4. There I was able to hook back up with my group, and hung with them almost to the end. My legs really started to burn on the hills of the last 10 mi, and I was afraid to push too hard, fearing cramps. I tried to drink as much as I could, and I never did cramp.
Felix flatted at about 15 mi out, and after the fix, he flatted again at 10 mi out. He was at the back, and we never hear him call flat, so we inadvertently left him behind. His tire was ripped but he did a McGiver and was able to mend it well enough to make it back, finishing about 30 min later.
I was really happy with my performance, esp not cramping. I would like to understand why my legs burn on heavy exertion in the late miles, and how to overcome it. I hope it's just a remnant of the statin drugs I got off of about 3 months ago. If so, perhaps it will subside with time.