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  1. #1
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I posted my experiences during the last organized century I did, the NYC Century and I thought I'll share my experiences of the MS NYC/NJ Century I just did to raise money for multiple sclerosis.

    Granted I found out about it last minute and registered without raising any money (yet).

    I registered for the 100 mile version and my gf registered for the 60 mile version. I'm actually quite proud of her cause there's this 1/16th mile hill in prospect park that she used to struggle to get over and she managed to climb this 2 mile hill that was halfway into her ride.

    So we woke up at 4:30 and headed off at 5:30 after some last minute preparation and got to the check point at 6am but registration didn't start until 6:30 (the subway's most dependable when you plan an extra 30 minutes for the train to arrive). It was about 45 degrees and so here we were standing around in tight spandex for 30 minutes in 45 degree weather freezing our asses off. 6:30 they let us in to register and I bumped into this girl I went to college with. My gf posed for a picture for the sponsors.

    We registered and went to get breakfast, which at this time consisted of 45 degree cold doughnuts that I had about 1/8th of. Then we went off to our respective starting lines. We were so early that we managed to get in the front of the line. And that's where I bumped into NYCommuter and his friend Josh. So we stood around taking pictures and screaming at the "warm up" lady that we were cold and to let us start. After she laughed at us and subsequently we laughed at each other for about 30 minutes and subsequently everyone laughed at me cause I was the only idiot there on my moutain bike, some guy's Trek 5200 (or something or another) fell off the post it was leaning against (hahaha, go kickstand), and jammed his front brake. We tried to fix it with NYCommuter's tool but couldn't get it working before the start.
    EDIT: I just remembered, there was a roller blader who rode with us on the west side highway and made it to the tunnel before the organizers stopped him. I wish he would've stayed to the side and they let him through the tunnel.

    After some introductions from the local news crew and the commencement speech, they cut the ribbon and let us off. I was getting so cold that I bolted when the count was down to 2. My gf 's section started second and she said that I was the first one out of the starting gate. It was fun because they closed down the FDR highway on the east side and the west side highway of manhattan for us. So we rode up manhattan on the FDR and made pretty good speed all the way to the first rest area in the bronx, which is mandatory. We took a couple of pictures with the disposable camera along the way.

    After the first rest area, we proceeded though the cobble stones in the bronx and down the west side highway and that's where the fun began. The pace car and police motor cycles that were clearing the highway, IMO, were going way too slow. We found ourselves, close to a thousand of us, mostly pumped up road bikers, only going around 20 mph. Soon, the whole peleton found ourselves packed within inches of each other about 30 bikers wide. I made it off to the right side where the potholes were knowing very few of the roadies would follow me there. About 5 minutes later I heard a loud squeal to my left, looked over just in time to see a rear wheel in the air and about 20 people collected up in this huge mangled pile, dura-ace, ultegra, bottles, and computers flying. Another couple of minutes later, the roadie next to me at around 25 mph now hit this small bump which sent his bottle flying only to land balanced between his left shoe and the left chainstay. He balanced it there for a couple of seconds before letting it drop and off of us started screaming BOTTLE!! and the several hundred in the peleton behind us made a hole, luckily I didn't hear anyone going down.

    We made it all the way to the Lincoln tunnel and waited a few minutes for them to clear the way. As we were about to start, Josh's chain fell off so we stopped to help him fix it and went into the tunnel last. Everything was a blur from then on as I accelerated to 42 mph through the windless tunnel and made my way pass a lot of the guys struggling to get back up the other side. I kept going for about 15 minutes to the 2nd rest area with the lead peleton but when I got there, I turned around and didn't see NYCommuter, and Josh (whom I assumed was right behind me). Turns out later on they were stopped at the entrance of the tunnel by a cop for a couple of minutes. By this time, it was a little too late and the group had passed me already and I lost the draft, it took about 10 miles of chasing to catch up to them again. By the time I got there, I was wasted and had this pretty hairy 2 mile climb ahead of me. We made it through and got onto the road and I opened her up, pushing up to 30 mph with a couple of guys until the 3rd rest area.

    When we got there, the main peleton had already left so I grabbed about 5 power gels, some water, and had a sandwich and a bag of granola. It was there that I met up with a fellow by the name of Dmitry. We said hi, commented on how cold it was, and I went to get my bike looked over by the reps from a bike shop I won't mention. I saw Team Mojo (who had raised the most money) leaving so I tagged along with them. About 5 minutes into it, we hit this nice tailwind and I shifted into my highest gear (least tension on the wire). Well when I went to downshift one, POP!, my click shifter just depressed all the way in (which normally would've downshifted 3). Looking at the indicator, I was now in my middle cog on the largest chain ring which didn't feel right since we were at 34 mph.
    Looking down, I realized the mechanic at the rest area loosened up the nut holding my derailler cable and the thing had slipped off, essentially turning my bike into a single speed. I did the only thing I could and screamed F**KKKKK!!!! and kept following Team Mojo. Then I realized, ha! I had a front derailleur, so I shifted to my middle chainring during the slow up hills. We hit this huge hill and one of the team members went to downshift and his chain fell off. I went to shift into my little ring and it wouldn't shift. So I stopped, and manually moved my chain onto the small ring and made it up there only to see another hill. At that point I decided to stop with a marshall from the ride to fix my bike. Whipped out my tool kit and we put the cable back in place and realigned everything. As we were finishing up, Dmitry showed up pass the bend and stopped to wait for me. I'm forever greatful that a total stranger had stopped to wait for me. We headed up the hill and we took turns pushing on the open road until we hit rest stop 4 at the 60 mile marker.

    I made a note of how tired I was getting and grabbed about 15-20 gels and we headed off since we didn't want to stand around. The whole time we were facing 20 mph 45 degree winds and I wasn't wearing much. And the pain started. There were nothing but hills for the next 20 miles. Some that seemed to go up at almost 15-20 degrees (maybe only 15 but it sure seemed a hell of a lot steeper). I thought it was really getting bad when I noticed dmitry in his lowest gear and I was down to my little ring and like 3rd on the back. Having made it 60 miles had reduced me to taking hills at 1-3 when I used to take them at 3-5, what used to climb at 14-15 mph, we were now doing at 8. I was having a gel every 10 minutes or so (yeah right, 100 calories don't take me that far) cause I was starting to feel my legs going numb, cramping, and having uncontrollable twitches. All that time my hands were going so numb I ended up punching the down shift lever at hills; my thumbs were absolutely useless. Dmitry pulled me through a lot of the flats and slight downhills that I just didn't have the energy to go through.

    Eventually we made it around the 20 mile loop back to the 3rd rest stop at mile 75, collected food and water, and the two of us headed off again. Just minor hills in the way between new jersey and getting back into new york. Made it to the george washington bridge, crossed over, and we made it through manhattan down the west side bike path to chelsea piers. We took some pictures and went out separate ways. I met up with my girlfriend and we went down the bike path to lower manhattan to drop by star bucks for a hot drink and say hi to the guys at the LBS. Then we took the subway home. I got home, threw my clothes in to soak and crashed.

    All in all I finished the century at 5:50. It was a fun humbling experience, especially the hills. Next time I'll definitely take my road bike instead and maybe do it in sub-5. And I'll never forget the stranger that stopped to help pull me through the ride.

  2. #2
    switching to guns ch0mb0's Avatar
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    good read, glad that you had a good time too. congrats!
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  3. #3
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    Here is mine:

    BTW, I was at the starting line 20 minutes before the start.

    This is the windiest century that I have ever did. Added with the cold temp made it not adviseable to standing still. The food at the end was OK. Last year was better. We had sandwiches. Today, we had hot pasta with tomato sauce. Seriously, pasta is cheap and so as tomato sauce. Where was the chese???

    I bet many 100 milers turned back given the cold and windy condition of today. About 3 guys, cat 5 to cat 3, was driving the pace pretty fast once we were in the NJ side. About 24 mph most of the time. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be seen once we hit the River Road. Once we were at the River Road, again, some big dude was driving some fast pace as well. About 22 mph to 24 mph.

    Some of these guys needed to chill out a bit. They think this is the Tour?? I said hello to few of them they just looked at me. One of the same guy having only a "21" doing the River Road climb didn't reply to me when I joked about his "21." I liked last year MS Ride better. There was a pro team driving pace all the way to the finish. With this one, I ended up riding by myself from the Japanese resturant to the Rockland County STate park. Eventually, there was a small group coming up and I joined and finished with them

  4. #4
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I thought it would warm up too but I never warmed up through the entire day until I got home. Standing around was the worst. Even when I was pushing it, I couldn't get my body to warm up, the wind just cut right through my cheap lycra spandex. I would've turned back too had it not been for sheer arrogance and Dmitry who was willing to stick with me and pull me through.
    What was your time for the century? Some of the guys up front must've been doing it in 4:30 if not less.
    Were you at the front of the line during the start? Maybe I saw you.

  5. #5
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    slvoid - another one with the mtb bike, eh? how did your knee hold up? i was a bike volunteer at PP this weekend for the cancer walk. i was freezing just riding around the loop at 10mph.

  6. #6
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    If it helped I rode, from Ave U to South Street, to the starting line. That got me warmed up a bit. I have great mistrust for the MTA. All I had was two jerseys. Tights and shorts. Arm warmers and cold weather gloves. I was feeling good and comfortable, temp wise, throughout the whole ride. All the standing around wasn't good. I got back to the starting line about 1:30 PM. I assure you the guys in the front didn't finish it under 4 hours and 30 minutes because I was with them either early on or later. The most memorable part was when I dropped the front group on the second climb. At the River Road, the front pack splitted the entire front group. So, we had about 12 or so riders at the front at the River Road. When we approached the second climb, I was the 10th or 11th rider. The pace was somewhat slow at the beginning of the climb and I rocketed to the left and to the front, the third rider. About 40 sec later, I decided to stretch my legs. Out of the saddle, drop down one gear, and off I climb. Once I got a big gap going and my legs were about to anaerobic, I sat down. Shifted up 2 gears. And finished off the climb at 10 mph. The front group regrouped at the second rest stop.

    Not sure how "front" I was because I remembered I had to go 24 mph from the starting line to the FDR in order to bridge to the pace car. I did the same thing when we were heading to the Henry Hudson parkway. I didn't know where was "my group." For some reason, once the tour started moving again, "my group" was somehow all the way in the front.


    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    I thought it would warm up too but I never warmed up through the entire day until I got home. Standing around was the worst. Even when I was pushing it, I couldn't get my body to warm up, the wind just cut right through my cheap lycra spandex. I would've turned back too had it not been for sheer arrogance and Dmitry who was willing to stick with me and pull me through.
    What was your time for the century? Some of the guys up front must've been doing it in 4:30 if not less.
    Were you at the front of the line during the start? Maybe I saw you.

  7. #7
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan
    slvoid - another one with the mtb bike, eh? how did your knee hold up? i was a bike volunteer at PP this weekend for the cancer walk. i was freezing just riding around the loop at 10mph.
    The knee hurts a little cause of all the hills, it's murder trying to lug this thing up all those hills when it weighs twice as much as some of the carbon road bikes and the derailleur doesn't work all too well. I think I'm going to take a few days off commuting to give it a rest.
    The cancer walk was just a walk around the loop? That's crazy.

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