Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hilly Hundred Ride Review

For the record, I want to make it clear that I did just a 100k ride, not a true Century. That being said, this one really kicked me square between the eyes. I may still be nursing the remnants of a cold, but I felt OK getting started. I really didn't want to ride with the pack, and it's a good thing, because they dropped me like a bad habit 9 miles in - just long enough to get good and warmed up.

Maybe you folks in traditionally hilly or mountainous parts of the country will scoff at 3,310 feet of climbing in 62 miles - but I train mostly at a place called "Flatwoods" with about 32' of elevation gain in a 12 mile lap. Weirdly enough, this ride took place in and around Dade City, FL, which was all of about 25 miles from where I normally go to ride - so just in case I get a hankering to torture myself again, the fun's only a hop, skip and a jump away.

For those of you not yet familiar with Motion Based, above is the link to where I've downloaded GPS information from the race, which includes Elevation, Speed, HR and other cool data. The "Player" feature they've just added is very cool - worth checking out. You can track speed and elevation while a little marker follows the route on a variety of different maps, and you can view it at different speeds or stop the action to if need be. You'll see that I didn't set the world on fire with this ride, chugging along at 18mph with stops included, but I was darn glad to be done with it! I even got over 50mph on one downhill - and that's a first for me.

The turnout for the ride was very good - seemed like at least a couple hundred folks there doing some manner of distance. They had a 18, 37, 62 and 100 mile course laid out, with much of it overlapping, so everyone went out together, then split off when their turn came up. The SAG stops (Aid stations, 'scept no-one's handing you stuff as you ride by) were well staffed and had good Gatorade and plenty to eat for everyone. I only stopped twice for fluids, which wasn't the original plan. Some of the roads were in pretty bad shape - a nice downhill had me scrambling for a clean line at about 40mph - I didn't find one and ejected 2 water bottles that remain where they dropped (deep in a ditch...)

Not much of a end-of-ride party, but the couple of chocolate chip cookies were good before I had to blast home and get ready for work. You gotta love retail - working on Sundays is always fun, especially during football season. Overall I was really pleased with the organization and support of the ride - I saw the guy from Bike Works where I bought my bike out there in his van helping with a flat - so the condensed and overlapping course helped to make it feel like you were never far from help if you needed it. I'll do this ride again next year, perhaps even the Century, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging ride.

Oh, yea, another cool deal - the T-shirt I got was a 2XL, just like I asked for - you don't see that too often.....

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