Saturday, October 07, 2006
I ride on parts of this route fairly often, and I always look forward to the organized ride. Two years ago I did it in 5 1/2 hours elapsed time, after riding 60+ miles several times beforehand in my training. I would have liked to do the 101 mile route instead of the 62 miles this time but I decided not to because I was less well trained for it this time--the longest I rode last month was 31 miles. So I was happy to do the 62 miles ride today in 5 hours 15 minutes elapsed time, 4 hours 38 minutes riding time (the course was one mile longer this year). Last year I was signed up for the ride but my father died the week before and I went to Massachusetts instead.
I raced the first 15 miles, which are somewhat flatter, and averaged 16 mph. I wanted to find a group to ride with, but I would push to catch up with someone and then find they were riding slower than I wanted to go. I did ride behind one man for 3 or 4 miles and was sorry he didn't keep up with me when I passed him because he kept a good steady pace. A fair number of people must have been doing the 25 mile route; there were a lot of people at the first rest area and I didn't see many after that.
Particulary after the second rest area I settled into riding alone, but I slowed down to more of a touring pace. The biggest hill, Maw Bridge Road, is at mile 29, and I hadn't ridden it in a long time (I usually avoid it when I am doing parts of the route). I still spent most of the hill pedaling slowly in my lowest gear, but I didn't get more and more out of breath the way I did two years ago. After that the route is pretty steadily up and down, but no other hills are as hard as that one. There was one group who I kept catching up with at rest stops--they stopped for longer than I did--but I couldn't quite hang in with them when they would pass me again.
It couldn't have been a nicer day--the temperature must have been below 60 when we started out and I wore a long sleeve running top over my short sleeved jersey. I took it off at the first rest area, as the sun was getting warm. But then dark clouds filled the sky about 11:30 am and it cooled off. It didn't rain; by the time I finished the sun was out again, but the high for the day was only 70.
My legs are tired but I wasn't exhausted at the end. Next year I want to do more organized rides; I need to learn to keep my pace up at this distance as I train towards doing the South Carolina Half Ironman a year from now. I'm excited about the new ironman in Kentucky--if I feel ready to do an ironman in 2008 I will have a convenient one.