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  1. #1
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    So I skipped my first century and did a 200k instead

    Yesterday I did my first 200k! And about 29 miles before the finish was my first century!

    It was the Princeton Classic 200k with more than 8,000 feet of elevation gain and grades up to 21%!!!

    AND

    My previous longest ride was somewhere around 65 miles.

    But I'm young, ride everywhere in the city and it took me a bit under 12 and a half hours.

    I had to take the train from Philadelphia the night before and stay at a hotel; the earliest train would get me there an hour late for the start. The Hotel was near the starting point but about 10 miles from the station, so I had to go off a cue sheet emailed to me by the organizer. Of course, I got lost, and rode almost 20 miles before finally making it to the hotel at 11 pm. And my light was barely adequate, but it was my first time riding on dark country roads (Philly has a lot of lights) so that was interesting.

    I got into my room, took a shower and proceeded to have the crappiest night of sleep ever. Then, in the morning I thought there would be breakfast but it was too early and I didn't have time to wait, so I just rode down to the start of the brevet (which I now know has a silent t). I crammed a cliff bar in my mouth after registering and started the race. I felt good early on and was in the lead pack for the first 10 miles when they lost me in the hills. Around mile 15 I bonked from not enough food, pulled over and ate another cliff bar and a granola bar. I started riding again and caught up with a nice older guy and rode with him for maybe 10 miles until I bonked again! So, I stopped, ate another cliff bar and drank some more water. I then started riding with two older guys (I should stop writing older, I'm pretty sure EVERYONE was older) and they were nice enough to let me draft until the first control.

    I was feeling better after having plenty of food and met up with two women I had met at the start so I started riding with them. We kept a pretty moderate pace and ended up having some great conversations and I rode with them the rest of the ride! Unfortunately around mile 60 my knees started hurting, but I kept going anyway; it hurts to go up an down stairs right now but I can walk just fine. Pulling up on the pedals helped, but another 40 or 50 miles and even that was hurting. But, the three of us made it through the remaining controls, up incredibly steep hills and through the nicest countryside I've ever ridden through. We also kept passing the same people as we rode a little faster but took our time at the controls. Towards the end of the ride my knees hurt so bad I wasn't sure how much further I could go, even though only 10 or 12 miles were left. Accelerating hurt bad but spinning around 100 rpm it was just bearable. Finally we got to the end, the feeling of being done was fantastic and everyone was extremely nice and congratulated me about a hundred times. Fortunately another woman was nice enough to drive me back to the train station.

    Now I'm staying in bed all day. Well, maybe I'll take a hot bath..

    I couldn't have done it without the people I rode with, especially the two women from NYC it was fantastic motivation and having other people that knew the route prevented me from getting lost. I was extremely humbled by people 20-30 years older than me finishing well before me. Everyone was friendlier than I expected and pending a professional bike fit, I'd like to do the (hilly) 300k in two weeks.

    I will never underestimate a grey haired cyclist again.
    Race-o-meter:
    Broken until next season

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    From one of the grey-haired women (premature, I'm only 41!)....
    It was a pleasure to ride with you. Thanks again for helping out with my wheel problem and for your great company.

    This is one of my favorite things about riding brevets. You can start alone, but you always end up with new friends. We hope to see you on the 300. Just add 100K and 3000 ft climbing to what we did yesterday, no problem.

  3. #3
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Hey K!

    I didn't say grey haired women, just grey haired cyclists!

    Don't mention the wheel thing, I always enjoy fixing bikes and helping other people fix theirs. That bike co-op I mentioned has a website: http://www.neighborhoodbikeworks.org/index.htm

    I'd like to do the 300k but it's a 4 am start, midnight finish. That means I'd need a hotel room the night before and after the ride. I'm going to try and get in touch with a couple here in Philly that did the Eastern PA 200k on a tandem who're friends of friends of mine, maybe we can work out a ride or hotel thing. Between the new build (getting the frame tonight!!) and all these hotel costs, I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it but we'll see.

    It was great riding with you both, like I said I couldn't have done it without you. I take it you got your internet up and running?

    -Mike
    Race-o-meter:
    Broken until next season

  4. #4
    Senior Member oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
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    Good job! Sounds like it was an overall positive experience.
    Jim
    Make a BOLD Statement While Cycling!

  5. #5
    Spinning like a gerbel spingineer's Avatar
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    Great report. And congradulations ... 200k at 8000 feet of climbing is nothing to scoff at. Glad you made it through ok. Food is so important ... bonking twice ... Lessons to be learned here
    I'm in it to finish it.

    My Cycling Blog

  6. #6
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I'm definitely agreeing with the bonking lessons. I'll be bringing breakfast from now on and not relying solely on the hotel.
    Race-o-meter:
    Broken until next season

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