On March 1 I entered and completed my first brevet and it was quite an adventure. Although it was only a 200k it had its share of interesting moments. As we all know, this winter has made it hard to get out and put the miles on but I felt fairly confident in my fitness going into this event.
Mile 0: Surprisingly nice weather at 37 degrees at the start.
Mile 25: I am already feeling fatigued. I decide to drop off the 4 man pack that i have been riding with in order to save energy but this means riding alone.
Mile 37: First checkpoint. Time to take stock in the situation and evaluate my strategy. After filling my bottles and eating a banana and a granola bar I leave the checkpoint with one of the members of my previous group.
Mile 45: We have settled into a nice, steady pace that seems sustainable. As I am leisurely taking a drink, I catch something out of the corner of my eye-DOGS. I am caught in the wrong gear. As I hurriedly attempt to slide the bottle back in its cage it slips. Almost in slow motion, I helplessly watch as the bottle glides past the crank and onto the pavement. I look back, the 2 German Shepherds don't pay the sliding bottle any attention, they want me. I finally manage to tire the dogs out and they go on their way. Now it is decision time, do I go back to face the dogs in hopes of retrieving my lost water or try to ride it out on one bottle. I ease my way back up the road to the spot where my bottle went missing but there was no sign of it or the dogs. As I turned to ride off I spotted it, it had rolled off the road, down an embankment, under a fence and about 15 feet out into a field. The fence was barbed-wire but one section had a gap that I was able to shimmy under in order to claim my prize. Back on the bike I am left to face the road alone again.
Mile 48: As I am passing underneath as antique train bridge that is occupied with a string of fast-moving CSX cars, I am struck right in the helmet by a fairly large rock. No harm done but maybe this is a sign.
Mile 50: As I ride along the Kentucky River, enjoying the scenery I am dreading what awaits me. The Kentucky River has very steep banks and I know the big hill I just coasted down will seek its revenge. I spend what feels like an etertinity climbing out of that river valley that I will later learn has more than one section that is nearly a 20% grade. Ouch.
Mile 65: Halfway checkpoint. My legs are jelly and I need to eat. Is this really only halfway?
Mile 85: I have spent the last 20 miles riding and chatting with a nice lady. We rode at a decent pace and talked but after she mentioned her multiple PBPs I had the feeling she could drop my at a moments notice.
Mile 88: A faster pack overtakes us and we tag onto the back.
Mile 90: I am dropped.
Mile 93: Last checkpoint before the finish. Although I am quite weary, I have plenty of time to make the finish so I decide to try and maintain a slow but steady pace until the end.
Mile 110: I'm lost. Did i miss a turn? Where am I? This doesn't look right. I stop in a farmers field and pull up the map on my phone. After about 15 minutes i figure out where i am and set out to retrace my path and correct my error. Definitely a big blow to my morale.
Mile 118: Back on track, 12 miles to go. Every hill, no matter how small, becomes a major obstacle.
Mile 138: With just over 1 mile left, I sprint to the top of the last hill with what little energy i have left.
Mile 139: I roll into the parking lot/finish line of my first brevet. 11 hours and 7 minutes.
On Sunday I swore that i would never do that again, on Monday i started planning for the 300k at the end of the month.