Monday, March 26, 2007

Strawberry Century

The Tampa Bay Freewheelers put on an interesting ride through the Plant City area countryside. There were at least 500 folks pre-registered for the ride, and another 200 showed up on top of that to do one of the 20-, 38-, 62- or full 100-m rides. It was a crowded start to say the least. I met up with a couple of guys from work who were planning on doing the 62m ride, and they weren't interested in riding with the front pack, and neither was I, so we let just about everyone ride by us before we joined in on the ride.

Riding behind all those folks at 17mph took me about 18 seconds to get over. So began my test of my bike handling skills as I picked and choose my opportunities to pass individuals and groups riding all over the road. There are no "ride on the right" and "no blocking" penalties given out in a fun ride - so I rode hard to break out of this pretty large group of casual riders. After a few miles I checked to make sure the guys from work were still on my wheel - I saw John, but we lost Mark back there somewhere. John was a trooper and hung with me for about 60 miles - his longest ride before then was 50.

We stopped at 19 miles for a potty break, and carried on all the way to 62. The course was marked - note to self, make sure you read the printed materials and know which arrows are which BEFORE you start the ride. We broke out to where we were chasing down small packs of riders in drafting lines - and we blew off looking at the road for the painted arrows signifying turns. So did some of the riding packs. Twice we had to turn around because we got off course. I was working hard to get my average speed up over 20mph after that slow start, and got there just before we took the potty break around 19 miles in. From the Garmin chart (which I know is hard to read, and I even tried to clean it up with Photoshop) I kept it over 20mph for the first half of the ride - you can see there at 51 or 52 miles where we turned up into the wind, and it was bullocks from there on out. Those last 10 miles really beat up the Bigun.

The course was kind of "wack". I counted - we crossed over railroad tracks 10 times - after a couple hours in the saddle, RR tracks aren't any fun. We crossed over RT 60 - a 55mph highway a couple times - that was interesting...waiting on stop lights for one of the crossings, and just waiting on an opening in the traffic for the other. I've learned to appreciate the "groove" you get in a closed road triathlon instead of doing these rides where you have to obey traffic signals and watch out for traffic. I also appreciate my main training ground, Flatwoods - that 12.5 mile loop gets boring, but there are no cars or RR tracks!

I wanted to make my "stopped" time as short as possible - I only stopped twice for a total of 8:11, and my total riding time was 5:33 for a moving speed of 18.25mph over 101.32 miles. The course played a dirty trick on me - the 62m SAG stop was also the start and finish - I was tempted to call it right then and there. I drank 120 oz of Gatorade for about 780 calories, plus 1 gel, 5 cookies and 2 bananas. That's 21oz of fluid an hour, which according to this article my fluid intake was nearly perfect - without even trying! My calorie replacement was a bit off though, since Training Peaks says I burned up 7,400 calories. I'll need to practice that a bit more - I definitely felt lacking in the last half of the ride. I seem to say this each time I do a longer workout, yet I never practice taking in calories on long workouts.

The hills were very gradual - and not much of consequence with only 2,247 feet of elevation. The winds were the big limiter of the day averaging 10mph over the course of the ride; early there was nearly no wind, and as we got later in the day, it really picked up. I wasn't too excited about making the last 38 mile loop, but I met Chet who was putting in his last big ride before IMAZ, so I tagged along and used some of his energy for about 10 minutes - then I watched him ride off and tortured myself trying to keep him in my sights.

The prize was in finishing, of course. They don't call it the Strawberry Century for nothin'! I made sure I ate some chicken and mashed potatoes for the protein and carbs, but then REALLY got a glycogen load with a big heaping pile of strawberry shortcake. mmmmmm, strawberry shortcake... They gave us a nifty (ugly) biker hat type item, and a long-sleeved T, and the bummer was that the $5,000 worth of raffle items were already done being raffled by the time I got in there. I don't think I finished that slowly compared to much of the Century crowd but I felt I really missed the boat! At least I got a big, heaping sweet luscious bowl of strawberry shortcake. It's funny how a little whipped cream can make all the bad things melt sunburn (duh, this is Florida, use sunscreen, Bigun, ya big dummy). Oh, and yes, I did ride in my raceAthlete jersey, and while I noticed a bunch of "looks", no one asked what it was all about - hopefully some folks will check out the the end I was too tired to do much talking anyway!


The Stretch Doc said...

Now that sounded like fun, except for the wind! Nice Garmin layout.

You a machine, Bigun!


V-Sticks said...

You're off to a great start, 100 miles at 18.25 isn't to shabby, not getting hit by a car crossing RT60 and STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE with WHIPCREAM to top it all off. Awesome

tri-mama said...

You called me an "ignorant slut"? sniff. That's it, no royalties for you. and here I was going to offer you the part of the token big guy on the mat in the back row of my next workout video. But instead you can pick your favorite blog cliche A) You rocked that course! B) Count that as a deposit in the _____(fill in blank) race account C) OMG! You're awesome!
Glad I could be there for you.

The Stretch Doc said...

And Happy 43rd Bigun!


Di said...

you got strawberry shortcake?!?!?!? I din't get any F***** shortcake! Where's my shortcake?

Bolder said...