Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Completed my first Century

Kevin, Jeff, Javier and Kallie
Gil our rolling SAG wagon
I belong to a couple of wonderful bike groups, but my primary group is Hammerin Wheels and every year the wonderful founder Jeff Sanford puts together a beginner century. It is a bit of a challenge to find 100 miles of not to scary, flat roads to take a large group of riders with varying experience on. This in not an officially supported ride, but we did have help from his family and another rider who is just returning from injury and couldn't do the full route and our rolling SAG, Gil who pulled the tool trailer the whole distance. This century is also unique in the fact that he really tries to keep the group together as much as possible. We had about 60 cyclists riding a double pace line down the levee at one point, it was really a sight to see. We had kids waving and pointing, cars stopping out of courtesy and for the most part a warm reception from all those we interacted with on the road. It really was a great experience.

I was surprised that there were only a handful of us that this was their first century and 1 person who road part of the route, it was her first metric. To see 50+ strong riders go out on a leisurely ride just for fun was really wonderful. I have to say, there were a few places on the route when we drove within blocks of my house that I really considered bailing. Fortunately I had a couple of great people distracting me with witty conversation to keep me going.  It was super nice to see Jeff's wife and 2 adorable little girls at our 2nd rest stop. They made a cute poster for us and had yummy treats. We as usual on a flat ride had winds, which seemed to be a head wind no matter which way we were heading, and had an area of road that really need to get repaired.
Best rest stop volunteers ever

Just out riding with 60 of my best friends
The day was not without incident: When we were in a pace line the I was chatting away with Daphni, who has been one of the riders who has really inspired me, when the guy right in front of me almost went down, I was able to avoid him and he was able to keep it upright, I think he may have touched the wheel in front of him, my heart rate was racing but we were all ok. A while late while we were mostly single file on the road we were coming to a stop sign with cross traffic, so we were stopping and all of a sudden I hear Adrienne yelling I can't unclip, I see her legs flailing trying to get her shoes out of the pedals, and her slowing, then I just see a bunch of hands catch her and stop her, it was quite amazing, they just held her upright as a group (although I think Daphni was doing most of the work) until they were able to get her foot out of her shoe. We were just a few miles from the rest stop and some how magically Adrienne rolled in with flat pedals. As we were rolling through Lincoln we saw a fire truck in the middle of the road, and we all feared the worst, as we got closer we could see it was our group, with it being right at an intersection I was really scared it was a car vs bike. Fortunately it wasn't too bad, it did involve a trip in an ambulance, but good news Alan was wearing a helmet and althoug it is trash now, it did it's job. He suffered a separated shoulder, but was able to go home within a few hours. Now we were a few miles from our lunch stop and we have the same number of bikes, but 1 less rider. We started off with Jeff trying to roll the bike next to him while he rode, then Todd decided it would be easier just to carry it. I just love how this group is willing to do anything for the other members. We were able to have someone pick up the bike at our lunch break. As we were leaving the lunch stop Mary tumbled into the rose bushes, but Daphni to the rescue again helped pull out the thorns so she could get back up. I know we had some flats along the way, I got one less than 10 miles from the finish, our rolling SAG and Jeff changed it for me and off I went again.

Todd the Sherpa

Alan all patched up
I was in the back of the pack when we finished, although for the first time not dead last. I think I've done well to figure out what I need to put into my body to keep it going on long rides. I road with my new bag, it isn't light, but I find it much more comfortable than stuffing my back pockets till they are buldging. 101 miles took me 7 hrs. 30 min. and other than a little tingling in my left wrist didn't seem to be hurting. Some of us stayed to eat at Chevy's which I was surprised I wasn't hungrier, I did eat again after I got home. The next day I think I spent the whole day eating or sleeping. My legs were pretty tight, but not too bad. Walking up and down the stairs at the house wasn't painful, just took some effort.

Bonus for the club, with over 50 completing the full 100 and another 10 or so doing portions of it, we pulled into 1st place for May is Bike Month. The gap is closing, but I have no doubt we will at be in the top 3. It would be nice to be #1

I also learned it's probably better not to take too many days off before a big ride. I did 60 miles on Sunday then nothing all week, so I could finally get my garden in, and I felt sluggish for a long time on the ride. Not as strong as I was feeling the week before when I rode almost every day. I'm also learning if I can push past the point where my body starts to feel weak and get some quick calories in my I can get another burst of energy. This week I plan on riding at least a few times and then doing a huge climbing ride this weekend. It's only 40 miles, but the hills are big.

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