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I did my first century and it was brutal

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I did my first century and it was brutal

Old 10-03-11, 06:50 AM
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jbholcom
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I did my first century and it was brutal

I did my first century over the weekend (October 1st) and it was brutal. It was the Sequatchie Valley Century. What made the ride brutal was the weather. It started at 42 degrees and wind gusts over 25 mph. Most of the field either didn’t show or didn’t ride the entire course. I was determined to finish and I did.

The winds blew into our faces for nearly 60 miles! I knew riding by myself would be suicide, so I recruited, begged, and pleaded with others along the way to work together. Working together is a must in those conditions. I think I would rather climb a few mountains that face those weather conditions for a century.

After riding the entire course, I felt good about what I accomplished. I finished right at 5 hours and 50 minutes (ride time). The first 20 miles and the last 20 miles helped my averages since the 60 miles of head winds were in the middle. This course had lots of rollers, so it broke up the constant wind, but you couldn’t sustain much momentum either. With some better weather and more riders to work with I felt like I could have broken 5 hours on that course. I’ll use a phrase from my favorite football teams, “maybe next year”.
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Old 10-03-11, 06:57 AM
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Nice job. Definitely be proud - finishing in under 6 hours in those conditions is excellent.
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Old 10-03-11, 07:01 AM
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Good job with that! Those conditions sound tough, indeed.
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Old 10-03-11, 07:55 AM
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Congrats on your first century! The first one is always hard, but under those conditions...whew!

I also rode a century that day. (Second this year, and seventh overall.) Starting temp was 48, and winds were sustained 10-13 mph, but I know gusts were higher than that. We had headwinds for roughly 40 continuous miles, then maybe 20 miles of tailwind, then a mix of head, tail, and cross winds for the rest. Lots of rollers, and some pretty hard hills in the middle of the ride.

We were working with a group of only four: a Cat 1 woman who weighed like 95 lbs (i.e., no draft benefit ), a Cat 4; and the other rider and I who are about the same ability. We kept up with the better riders until at mile 75 they decided it was time to pick up the pace. There...was...nothing...we...could...do, except watch them sadly as they went on ahead.

They finished with a ride time of 5:10 and we were at 5:25. Our total ride time was 5:56 or so.

I was also hoping for under 5 hours. But, it was fun, and I gave it all I could, finally succumbing to the pace and winds. Next time....
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Old 10-03-11, 08:42 AM
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Where I live we don't deal with the wind much. Mountains yes, wind no.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:45 AM
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Congratulations on the ride.
So fast....
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Old 10-03-11, 08:48 AM
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Always nice to finish a ride when it's been extremely difficult like that. Makes it that much better.

Also, very impressive time for a century, especially with the conditions!
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Old 10-03-11, 08:52 AM
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3 State 3 Mountain Century in the spring, start training now! =) amazing ride and one of my favorites. I do the metric option unsupported many Sunday mornings.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:35 AM
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Very impressive!

Especially the fact that you did it solo. Now reread your second paragraph and then delete it(except for the first sentence) from your post because it is groveling AND you proved it wrong! Doing it solo with the conditions you had is a lot more impressive than finishing with a better time but in a group with support. Nobody else to help you out but your 3 buddies "me, myself and I."

All of the longer rides I do solo because (1) I expect to drop slower riders and (2) I expect to be dropped by faster riders.(more of #2) At the end of the day, as you experienced, you can look yourself in the eye and truly say you did it!

I did a century on the weekend before yours. Hard winds the whole way and raining off and on. Tell me how do you like the mental grind when you look around for help and there is not any there! Then those feelings of doubt creep in particularly during the middle of your tough stretches. Thoughts of abandonment surface. You are talking to yourself because there is no one else there to motivate you. But then you man up, dig a little deeper and make it to your next goal/station!

That is what it is all about.(at least for me) Not seeing how fast you can finish with a "team." It is in those stretches that you really find out about yourself. Great job on winning the battle!
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Old 10-03-11, 09:49 AM
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That's a decent time on a century in any conditions. If you did it in that time with drafting help, you could have easily done it solo as well, it just takes longer congrats
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Old 10-03-11, 12:45 PM
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OP, I also rode the Sequatchie Valley Century Saturday. Those winds were brutal! I pulled a group over 35 miles into the wind and nothing I could do convinced anyone else to take a pull. If I slowed, they slowed. If I pulled off the front to the left, they veered to the left right behind me. I think I could have done a track stand and they would have done track stands downwind of me. Frustrating.

The winds hammered and never let up!

Thankfully, it didn't get warm.

This is the first year they've run the century in that direction. With last year's routing, it would have been 46.5 miles with a 25 mph tailwind, predominantly downhill. The upwind half would have been sheltered by the valley wall. Might have been a very fast century.

Last edited by FlashBazbo; 10-03-11 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 10-03-11, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Very impressive!

Especially the fact that you did it solo!
I read it that he was with a group.
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Old 10-03-11, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MrTuner1970 View Post
I read it that he was with a group.
I went back and reread. My bad!
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Old 10-03-11, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MrTuner1970 View Post
I read it that he was with a group.
don't worry, he'll go back and do his bikeforums editing and will have done it all solo and in an hour less than it really took once he reads some of the comments.
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Old 10-04-11, 05:56 AM
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I was in a group most of the ride, however I pulled a lot. The course was weird since there were 2 centuries, one with a mountain climb and the other without, and a metric. Each course had a different routes and crossed paths multiple times. There were people that I passed something like 4 times as they were doing the metric. It was very frustrating finding others to work with.
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Old 10-04-11, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
OP, I also rode the Sequatchie Valley Century Saturday. Those winds were brutal! I pulled a group over 35 miles into the wind and nothing I could do convinced anyone else to take a pull. If I slowed, they slowed. If I pulled off the front to the left, they veered to the left right behind me. I think I could have done a track stand and they would have done track stands downwind of me. Frustrating.
Not cool!

Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
This is the first year they've run the century in that direction. With last year's routing, it would have been 46.5 miles with a 25 mph tailwind, predominantly downhill. The upwind half would have been sheltered by the valley wall. Might have been a very fast century.
This was the main topic of conversation. I believe the reason for the change was the addition of the mountain climb and the rough roads heading to Pikeville at the beginning of the ride. Heading south towards Jasper was fast and spread the field out quickly. However, I'm just speculating.
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Old 10-04-11, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by GamecockTaco View Post
don't worry, he'll go back and do his bikeforums editing and will have done it all solo and in an hour less than it really took once he reads some of the comments.
Not!
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Old 10-04-11, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jbholcom View Post
Not cool!



This was the main topic of conversation. I believe the reason for the change was the addition of the mountain climb and the rough roads heading to Pikeville at the beginning of the ride. Heading south towards Jasper was fast and spread the field out quickly. However, I'm just speculating.
In the past, the climbs were (of course) late in the century. That made it a bigger challenge. (It wasn't always on the same straight up- and down-valley course. Some years it has gone across the valley and up both sides.)

And yes, the roads are rough to Pikeville. (And, this year, they were rough coming in from Pikeville.) Were they just concerned about a big pack of riders hitting the bad spots together? I'll admit that it was a little sketchy a time or two last year -- and there were crashes.
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Old 10-04-11, 09:18 PM
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nice work! those conditions are tough to ride in period. To finish a century in those conditions on your first attempt is honorable. Be proud!
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Old 10-04-11, 09:27 PM
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Long rides in head winds are demoralizing.
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Old 10-04-11, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by gbiker View Post
Long rides in head winds are a daily Hudson Valley experience in winter/early spring.
Fixed.
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Old 10-04-11, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gbiker View Post
Long rides in head winds are a daily Sacramento Valley experience, full stop.
Corrected.
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Old 10-04-11, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by gbiker
Long rides in head winds are a frequent Colorado experience, especially on The Plains or up canyons in the evenings, plus you're a mile or more above sea level.
For the win.
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Old 10-04-11, 10:41 PM
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Anywho, nice job. That's a great ride.
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Old 10-05-11, 04:30 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Were they just concerned about a big pack of riders hitting the bad spots together? I'll admit that it was a little sketchy a time or two last year -- and there were crashes.
It was just us speculating out on the road. I'll eventually find out the real story, especially since I ride by the race directors house 3 or 4 times a week.
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