Just thought I'd drop a note as a follow-up to: this thread...
Here's the details, It was pretty ambitious, but I made it, and thats all that matters.
My roommate and friend Ben decided he wanted to tag along, he's in better shape than I am, but I'm better on wheels. He rides a Trek MTB, and we decided to split our time 50/50 between his ride, and my older steel racer .
I ate a decent breakfast (veggie omelet, wheat toast) and we headed out a little after noon, perhaps a little too late, but I have full lights, and the last few miles of the planned loop are very familiar to me.
The first leg of our loop took us 30 miles to Lake Michigan each on our respective bikes, into a steady headwind. We stopped after the first 10 miles which feature at least 3 long tall climbs for power bars/hydration purposes, after which it was relatively flat all the way to the beach. We averaged about 17 mph.
After a quick dip in the lake, and a few minutes to dry, we switched bikes and continued on. Made sure to stay hydrated, and together. We knew we still had a long way to go, so we took our time, and stopped twice for more water before the 50 mile mark. Eventually we reached a series of rolling hills that were too much for Ben, even though he had my road bike (the seat of which was admittedly a little low for him, and we were sans tools). He soon dropped back, and I lead for a mile or two, when we decided to switch back to our own bikes. I had ridden his MTB for about 40 miles by the time we switched.
It felt nice to get back on my bike, although I had been experiencing a fair amount of saddle discomfort around my sit bones. Apparently Ben's discomfort was more significant, as he dropped further and further back. I waited for him after a couple miles, and we stopped shortly thereafter. He had gone about 33 miles on his MTB and 40 on my road bike, a valiant effort, but decided he couldn't go on. He called his girlfriend to come pick him up, while I ate another power bar, drank a Gatorade, and pushed on.
At the 85 mile mark, I stopped at the coffee shop I frequent on long rides, and got a small black coffee, drank it with a power bar, and went on. In the last 8 miles or so, I found another road biker to draft off for a couple miles, saving me enough energy to do one of the more torturous habits I've picked up lately.
As you approach Downtown Grand Rapids from the North, there is a large hill that overlooks the city (aptly named lookout hill I believe). There are two paved paths that traverse the hill, at a steep pitch. The best pictures I could find are: here . Needless to say it is a relatively short, steep, tall climb, and absolutely punishing after my usual 30 mile ride. After 98 miles, it's whatever is worse than punishing... masochistic maybe?
I charged up the hill with everything I had left, and upon reaching the top stumbled to a picnic table, and collapsed flat out on top of it gasping for air. The one thing about that hill is that the harder it is to get up, the more you appreciate the view. The sun had just set, and the city was awash with a warm dusky glow.
As I cruised down the other side of the hill, along city streets, I realized that my route would leave me about a mile short, and I wouldn't have it. As dead as I was at that point, I needed to finish, so I rode up another (smaller, less steep) hill to a Chinese restaurant I knew would be open, ordered a gluttonous amount of take out. I rode home with my food, finishing at a total distance for the day of 100.7 miles, 40 of which were on a big heavy MTB with huge knobby tires, front shocks, and a bad bearing in the peddles that produced an annoying clicking any time I pushed too hard...
"Ouch" is about all I have left to say, thanks for the tips