My first century.
Taking last week's lesson to heart, I drank lots of water leading up to and during the event... and boy I'm glad I did.
But, the day before, I had to go help a friend move to a new house. I knew that wouldn't help my performance during the century, but they've come through for me before, so it was the least I could do... friends are important, right? Then we had pizza and beer (I know, I know).
Got up at 5 am, got there early enough as to not rush to pick up my packet (it was an organized ride) and prep my bike and gear. Met up with my group. Nothing interesting in the beginning, except that my group decided to stay together and go at a 20 mph pace.
I was thinking, "WTF are they crazy? This is a 100 miler we're doing!" I was hoping we'd pace at 17 or 18 mph to save ourselves for the last 50 miles (this was basically an out and back century). We did have a minor tailwind though. 19.4 mph avg for the first 50 miles with 1 rest stop - just like the first 50 miles of that 75 miler I did the week before. I know, I know, I promised myself that I'll pace myself. However, I was in a paceline and had I solo'ed the first 50 miles, my avg would've been lower.
By 50 miles, I was already feeling a bit cooked, and the winds were increasing, gusting to 20+ mph. And it's time for us to turn around... into the wind. Never had done 50 miles with the wind in my face the whole way. 10, 15, maybe 20 miles into the wind - yes, but 50 miles of suffering? I was about to check that off the list that day!
At 60 miles with the group, the group leader kept accelerating and making us all suffer by us having to close the gaps he was creating, I decided, "Eff it, let them go, I'll go on my own pace", slowed to a 13-15 mph slog into the wind, or 6 mph up 6-8% climbs that seemed to go on forever. Against the wind.
Temps soaring into the upper 80s, humidity so thick you could slice through it with a butter knife. Thoughts creeping into my head about throwing in the towel and sagging it home. Negative thoughts about how I suck at cycling, that I'm not a good climber, that I'm just a lazy wheelsucker in my group, that my group has been getting faster and I'm getting slower, blah blah blah.
Then I told my voices to "shut the **** up and let me ride!" Kept going, albeit slowly. One rest stop at a time. Regrouped. Ate. Drank. Made sure I didn't get thirsty or hungry. Kept checking to see if my piss isn't getting a shade too dark yellow.
At 80 miles, thoughts about giving up intensified almost to the breaking point. The SAG trucks with riders and bikes filling into them became the Sirens as they were to Ulysses. The tug pulling me to the SAG trucks were ever so strong, and there was no tying me to a mast or telephone pole to keep me away from the SAG trucks. But I was stubborn.
At least there was one final and hardest climb and the rest of the way would be relatively flat. Figured if I did that one last climb, I'd just roll to the finish. No SAG. After that brutal climb, things actually became easier and I caught up with my group and we finished the 100 together.
Moving time read 6 hours 20 min (15.8 avg), total time a little over 8 hours including time spent at the rest stops. The hardest part of the ride was between 50 and 82 miles, that was when I was really hurting. Being with the group really made it worthwhile, too. Several people in my group actually took shorter routes, or took the SAG back to the finish, and yet others who had completed the full 100 said it was the hardest ride they had ever done.
Hey, it wasn't supposed to be this hard