I have completed my first century bicycle ride!
The day started out beautiful but a little cool (was wishing I'd worn my arm warmers). James and I met up with Gary R., my Searcy riding partner, to get our pictures taken by Gary's lovely wife. Gary and I were both very nervous as this was our first century so we were getting teased (lightly) by our spouses. I had a rough work week so was still tired Saturday morning but was hoping that I would have the adrenaline of a group ride to get me through it.
The first few miles were very crowded especially getting up over the Big Dam Bridge. We saw our first wreck of the day before we even left the River trail. A woman was laying off to the side with a group of people and James said when he came through he heard her talking on the phone saying she thought she'd broken her collarbone. Ouch, can definitely sympathize with her there.
Gary and I both had to stop for the porta-potties at Cooks Landing (9 miles). Drank too much water and nervous bladder for me!! We weren't the only ones though. Lots of guys heading for the trees instead of waiting in line. I also took 1/2 an Accelarade gel here. Skipped the Maumelle and Mayflower rest stops but it was a huge mistake to skip the one at Mayflower. By the time we got to stop #4 (38 miles in), I was starving and ate way too much. Before we got to the 4th rest stop Arland, Curtis and Gary Davis, and Raquel caught up to us but they had to slow down again for a moment because Rock started having some IT band issues. They're so strong that I knew it wouldn't be long before they passed us again. It was around this time that Gary R. commented that I didn't seem to have my usual "oomph".
Anyway, ate too much at stop 4 right before some monster hills. Not the brightest thing I ever did, LOL! Tried to fall in with Arland's group but I started getting very nauseous 1/2 way up. I thought I was going to have to pull over and throw up it was so bad. Needless to say I fell WAY back. Thankfully Gary R. came back for me. We did fall in with some nice people to talk with through here. One guy was on a recumbent trike and he was hilarious!! Ended up leapfrogging him all the way to the finish. Oh, and Lisa from Cabot with the pink Orbea caught up with us at stop 4 so spoke to her for a minute before my ill-fated attempt to keep up with the Davis group.
Stop 5 (52 miles)--filled up my water bottles, drank gatorade, ate a pickle, orange quarter, and 1/4 of a cookie. My feet were starting to get very hot so when I saw Gary D. walking around barefoot I ditched my shoes too and did some stretching.
Stop 6 (62 miles)--Filled up water bottle, used the porta-pottie, spoke to the Davis group again before they left out. Ate another pickle, 1/4 of a banana, and the remainder of the gel from the first stop. I was starting to slow again, the wind around Conway was picking up and making it tough. Lisa and David caught up to us much quicker this time and we decided to wait around for them. I am so glad we did, this gave me something of a second wind, although I was still falling back a little on the hills. I didn't think we were ever going to get back to Mayflower though. Just before the city limits I was saying I'm ready for the pickle and gatorade.
Stop 7 (78 mile)--Mayflower. Had another pickle, 1/4 of a banana, and 1/4 of a peanut butter sandwich washed down with gatorade. Took off my shoes, socks, and helmet and boy did that feel sooooo good. It seemed like the times I took my shoes off, my feet were ok for another 10 miles before they started getting hot spots again.
On the hills between Mayflower and Maumelle I thought seriously about crying. Managed to control myself though because if I let myself do that I wasn't going to have the nerve to keep going. I was just having to drop it in granny gear and keep spinning the best I could. No powering up any hills for me. Speaking of granny gear, I kept having trouble trying to shift between the big ring and middle ring yesterday. At least 8 times I tried to downshift and the chain would hang up in between. Never dropped it, thank goodness, but it slowed me down that much more on the hills. Gary R. said he could see a new bicycle for me in the near future--I have an entry level Marin Portofina right now.
Oh, there were so many motorcycles out yesterday and every time one passed me I thought to myself I have one of those, why am I out here torturing myself on the bicycle. My mood was alternating between "I can do this" and "If I'd done the 50 I be done now" but mostly it was just I can't NOT finish because I would be so disappointed in myself.
We skipped the Maumelle stop (86 miles) again but Gary R. did pull over a couple of miles past that to call his wife to let her know we were close to finishing. I was slowing again so didn't stop with him, knew he had the power to catch back up. Lisa and I were passed by a faster group but I just didn't have it in me to fall in with them. She could've but was sweet enough to stay with me. Gary caught us just before Cooks Landing and I decided I wanted to stop at that rest stop (94 miles) to grab some gatorade and call James to let him know we were coming in. It felt so good to be in the tree cover on the River Trail.
We were met at the finish line by Annette, Vicki, Brenda, James, and Gary's wife (I think there were a couple of others too). It was so cool hearing them cheer us in!! Arland has what I think is a great picture of me with my arm in the air crossing the line. Gary, Lisa, and I crossed the line in 7:15:22--that includes the rest stops. I don't know what my time in the saddle was, I'd bumped the first mileage counter on my computer about 9 miles in and that's the one that the time is based on. Gary could've finished much faster than me but since we trained together our plan was to stay together on the century. Same with Lisa, she could've finished several minutes ahead of me but very kindly stayed with me when I slowed. I appreciate it!!!
I would like to do another century but would like to be better trained for the next one. Looking back over my training log, I think I've only had 4 rides over 50 miles since the doctor's release in mid-June and none that long prior to that. Because of being gone during the week most of the time I would only get in 2 rides per week.