I'll be honest, I'm posting this because it ended with a good result for me. The NYC Populaire featured a hilly course of about 110 miles. The controles were at Bloomingdale (~36 miles), Greenwood Lake (20 mile later), and Congers (25 miles to the finish), along with the start/finish controles at the George Washington Bridge (NYC side, naturally). Conveniently, the start was on my street, less than two blocks from home.
The plan for the day was to start it off with three ride pals, including BF's own odemirmen. He's a beast and had floated the idea of riding this brevet fast. I was into it, but our other two ride companions were a little more reserved.
At 7AM, off we went. The GWB south walkway is closed so we had to carry our bikes up and down those @#$%ing stairs. The ride thus really started about 7:10 on the other side of the bridge. The first section is very easy and I had the route memorized for maybe the first 25 miles or so. It's around the end of that section, near Ridgewood, where the difficulties began. There are some short, but very steep climbs which, coming early in the day, stay with you the rest of the ride. I'm too heavy to be a great climber but I was ready and managed well enough.
Just before the Bloomingdale controle (Dunkin Donuts), our little group of four missed a turn so we got there 30 seconds after the first group, a couple of women riding together. They left before we did as did one fellow riding solo. I took down a chocolate milk and some of my homemade ride food before we took off and started the real challenges. The section of the ride after the controle, for me, is the hardest. The terrain is what I might call very strongly rolling. Others (like our RBA) call it flat out hilly. I was definitely suffering and dropping back. The rest of us told odermirmen to take off if he wanted (he climbs like an angel) which eventually he did. With the hard rollers, over, though, we recovered and I pulled hard to get the now three of us to the next controle. Incredibly, odermirmen had taken a wrong turn so we nearly caught him! He, like us, had passed the other riders ahead, but only arrived at Greenwood Lake two minutes ahead of us. A cold Pepsi was welcome after my hard pull to get to this controle.
It was nice to have the group together again for the 2.5 mile climb up route 17A right out of the controle. I managed to stay with my ride companions for the most part and even crested the hill with odemirmen, leaving a small gap between us and our ride companions. That was the last time we rode with them. Odermirmen and I are more aggressive descenders than our friends so we made it to the 3 mile climb into Harriman State Park with quite a decent gap. Odemirmen was nice enough to hang back with me for a bit during the first part of the climb as it looked like our ride companions were gaining ground but eventually he was too strong so I let him go. I recovered well, though and kept him in sight while at the same time leaving our two friends behind. I gave it all on that climb, as had been my plan from the start (if I felt good when I got there).
At this point the rest of the route I also had memorized so odermirmen slowed enough after the climb to ride with me. I hit 50mph on the descent out of Harriman and waited for odermirmen to catch-up to ride on together to Congers. By the time we got there, the heat of the day (~90 degrees) was hitting hard and I was cramping badly in the right hamstring. A little pizza at the controle, some San Pellegrino and a bunch of electrolyte tablets got me going again. Shortly before we were to leave our two friends arrived in good spirits followed by the two women who we had last seen at the Greenwood Lake controle.
The rest of the ride was on very familiar territory, which was a good thing, as odermirmen and I were pretty cooked, though still maintaining a good rate of speed. In fact, we were first to arrive and got to the finish two minutes *before* the RBA pulled in! Total time, 8:15. Our two friends arrived 10-15 minutes after having done a great last leg, and were the first two women finishers of the day, in addition to forming the second group to finish.
All in all, a super day for me, considering that my weakness is in the climbs, and I was managing a couple of nagging injuries. For one of our ride companions it was also a great day, as it was her first ride of this distance.