Well gang here is the ride to test what you are made of!! If you ever have the chance go do this ride, it is spectacular. It is well run and the setting is just amazing, and let me say it is d--m hard! Hogpen gap, the climb of the day and what the century is all about, has got to be the most grueling 7.5 miles you will ever face, it took me 45 minutes to climb that monster and I told those around at the summitt that I never want to see that mountain again (well maybe not until next year anyway). You are never on any road that is flat or straight for more than a few hundred feet and it is the only ride where I never saw a single pace line the whole day (there was no point since there was no flat or straight sections) and the century had what was said to be 2000 registered riders but only 1100 finishers. This ride takes it's toll on people!
The start is a mass send off that must take nearly 15 minutes to get everyone out on the road. Then we must take up nearly 4 miles of road for the first hour to hour and a half. I started about middle of the line up and learned the it is better to put yourself in the front and let people pass you, than it is start in the middle and to try and pass 30-40 cyclist at a time, you spend a little too much time left of center for my liking, so next time I'm lining up in the front. I figure I passed close to 1000 cyclist in the first 27 miles.
You ride over 6 mountian passes and do lots of other climbs for a total of just over 12,000 ft of climbing, there are 10 rest stops and you need them all. I never stopped for longer than 1-2 minutes and that was just to fill bottles and grab something to eat, and boy do you need to eat! The volunteers are great and will do anything they can to get you back on the road as fast as possible. I never actually unclipped from both pedals, you rode up to the tents and someone would come out and bring you what you needed and fill your bottles for you, and off you went, just amazing.
So how did a guy from the flat lands of OHIO do; Well, 105 miles in 6:42 official time (bike computer showed 6:30) so 12 minutes was in the rest stops. Finished in 160th place out of 1100 official finishes(16th in my age group, 50-54men). There was a KOM competition too and I placed 207th with a total climb time of 1:11 on two climbs one was hogpen at 10km and the other was wolfpen at 5km. I am quite happy with the result, I was a little slower that I hoped but this ride was far harder than I expected, I climbed as hard as I could and never had to set a foot on the ground. I doubt that I could have done any better, my training was just about perfect and the taper into the event was just a little off but not bad, with no way to train on that level of mountains I think this is about as good as it could get and I'm happy with it.
BTW there was another Ohio guy that kicked my a## and he is in the 60-64 group so I have some time to work on my ability if I choose.
And if any of you wonder how my wife Tina did, well that girl is as good as I have always thought she could be. She did the 3 gap fifty (59 miles actually) with 6400 ft of climbing over three of the same passed I did. There was 476 official finishes in her event which started and hour after mine did, her official time was 3:58 (computer was 3:50) she finished 52nd overall, 6th women overall and 3rd in her age group of 45-49. The smile on her face when I saw her at the finish said it all!! She had a blast and is already thinking of how to better her time next year!