Me and the Big Dam Bridge 100 had a rematch today and I think I might've redeemed myself somewhat from the 2008 meeting.......This was my first century ride and I bonked horribly......within the first 30 miles my cycling mentor that I'd trained with all summer noted that I just wasn't my usual self. In 2008, it took me over 8 hours to complete including the rest stops and I didn't have lines like at the Hotter 'n Hell Hundred to blame it on. It was just all me......Not much clue on proper ride nutrition, hydrating, electrolytes etc.... and quite honestly I wasn't as strong physically that year as I am this year.
As an aside, I just want to note that my cycling training is not quite what it should be. On a good week I get 2 days to train, one long ride, one short. On a great week I can squeeze in 3. Most weeks I'm only able to cycle one day and my longest training ride the past 3 months has been last Saturday's 69 miler. I did have the century from last month so I knew I was able to complete the distance but the BDB100 is much hillier than the HHH.
My (tentative) goal was to have a sub 8 hour finish time (including the rest stops) and hopefully a 6ish hour saddle time. Well, not so secretly I wanted a sub 6 hour ride time but didn't know if it would be possible with how hilly this route is. I did feel good this morning despite this week's limited and very screwed sleep patterns. As is my habit, I had a very difficult time getting anything eaten.....stupid nerves but had all my nutrition mixed and packed up. That is one thing I think I've FINALLY gotten dialed in for cycling, now if I could do the same for running :-/.
Get to Little Rock, catch up with all the Searcy crew, speak to a few of the Cabot people and line up.....Fortunately no 45 minute shuffle to the start line since this tour is limited to under 3000 people. Immediately part of our group sprints out hard so we all get separated. Hey, for once I didn't sprint!!!!! Why can't I not do that in running races? Settle in with 4 of the guys I train with and we start to make our way through the crowds of bicycles.
My immediate though after starting though was I have to pee!!!!!!!!!! Managed to make it until the 25 mile rest stop but it was a throw down the bike and run to the portapotties issue by that point!! Sigh, you guys have it so easy in that department. At that stop we also convinced one of the guys who was signed up for the 68 miler to go ahead and ride the 100 mile route, while there we met his wife who had driven out to take pics and cheer him on. Absolutely lovely lady who was very enthusiastic when we asked couldn't he stay out and play longer, lol.
Next stop, we had planned to skip but a couple of freight trains had other ideas, grrr. I'm starting to think I'm jinxed, last month I had to stop and wait for a train at Wichita Falls too. While there though we managed to find part of our group that had sprinted out hard in the beginning.
All of us that train together on Saturday mornings are fairly strong hill climbers due to our ride coordinator's hellacious routes. We were rarely passed and usually passed most of the other cyclists at a fairly brisk rate. I do think we need to add in some flat route interval speed training. Ok back on track (haha) with ride report.
Speaking of interval training, one of the guys in front of me dropped his water bottle and I stopped to pick it up, we had a heckuva time sprinting to catch up with the group who slowed only a little bit, lol. Stopped at the 50 and 61 mile stops but they were very quick ones. I did get to see Iron Marianne at the 61 stop and one of the guys took a pic of us (her camera so will have to wait for her to post it). I was doing quick twitter updates when I'd stop--and was completely overwhelmed with all the cheers from my twitter friends. I was also getting some proper get your ass in gear messages that were very instrumental in keeping me going.
After that we had some monster hills so we all got kinda separated. Tim had skipped that one, Bruce sprinted out ahead, and Tanya, Bob and I formed a nice little pace line for a few miles with some people we didn't know. Tanya and I even dropped the guys for a bit (Gurls Rock!!!). However, my feet decided to start cramping with a vengeance so before Mayflower I fell way back trying to deal with them. Thought I would catch up with them at the 75 stop but I was so focused on continuing to spin and not cry that I blew right by it. Not what I needed!! I was so wanting to get the shoes off for a couple of minutes and I ended up not being able to do so until the 86 mile rest stop. Oh did I mention this is a hilly route? Killing me through here with the feet.
At the 86 I couldn't wait to get those shoes off!!!!!!!!! as well as the gloves and helmet, needed to cool off a bit as well as stretching the feet. Despite all that I was there only a few minutes, with only 14 miles to go I was anxious to get it over with. After this my speed was up and down, I'd get up to 20 mph for a bit then down to 15 mph.......up and down, I was starting to fade fast. Tim caught up to me on the bicycle trail portion of the route, thankfully.... It was so nice having somebody to chat with and next thing we know Bruce has caught us!!!!!!! They stayed back with me for a while but they still had some oomph left so once we got within a couple of miles of the finish line they pulled away, 16ish mph was all I could muster thru here :-(. It was awesome watching them being able to finish so strong though.
I've discovered with my training that I really do hate looking at the mileage or time screens on my bike computer. I keep it on the screen with the cadence and current mph so it was a complete surprise to me when I reached the finish line and the clock read 6:27:10!!!!!!!!!! That includes my rest stops, yay!!! And saddle time? 5:45ish--I forgot to look immediately after finishing so that includes time walking my bike back to the pickup. Below my 6 hour saddle time goal!!!!!!!! And on a challenging course :-)))).