Friday I get all my gear packed up, nutrition sorted (hey, I think I've got it dialed in for sure!), and drop my bike off at the friends' house so it could all be packed up and ready to go at 0dark30 Saturday morning. There ended up being 5 of us in that one vehicle, good thing they have an SUV :-))). Lots of hilarious conversation, a bit of backseat driving from me (sorry, bad habit from driving for a living) and the 2 hours to Memphis flew by.
I40 River Bridge
The fast guy's bike that he refused to bring over with everybody else's the night before, lol. Don't blame him though, you can buy a brand new sportster for what that bicycle is worth.
All the other bikes, all Jamis except for one Trek
Ummm, shouldn't that be "Bicyclists"?
We'd cut our time a little close so after getting bikes unloaded and getting geared up, the 100 mile ride had started, we ended up falling in at the rear of the pack approximately 1/10 of a mile in front of the start line.....Oh well, not like this was a race race for us anyways and I don't think we were the only ones.
Got the usual all packed up madness for the first 5-10 miles, kept trying to find a group to fall into a pace line with but right then they were all either too fast or too slow. Found one group for a small time but they fluctuated way too much for my tastes, I HATE having to grab the brake constantly when in that situation. I ended up breaking away and one of my friends gave me a tiny bit of grief about it afterwards, lol. Just couldn't handle the wild fluctuations in speed though. T and I also caught up with the two other Searcy riders who had driven over in a separate vehicle at the first stop, the other 3 fast guys were long gone, as in within a .5 mile of ride start, haha!
We did fall into a very nice group after this first stop, several of whom had done BDB the week prior also. I was the one that they recognized, go figure, LOL!!!!!!! The sleeved arms do tend to be memorable. Things were rolling along quite speedily & smoothly and then bam! We reached the 62 & 100 mile splitoff and they all turned for the metric century route. DAMN!!!!!!! Left 4 of us all by ourselves with one lone rider approximately 3/4 mile ahead of us. Caught up to him and told him to grab a wheel, no use in being out there all alone when you don't have to be.
Scenery at 2nd rest stop (36ish miles), nice to have real restrooms and this was a gorgeous location but you had to climb a hill to get back out of it, grrrr. I was already hurting here, feet cramping and had just finished up a long pull of the group. There's a bit of a story there with one of the riders but not going into it since some of them read the blog, but let's just say I got a bit screwed over when I tried to move over and let the next person pull. I had a choice, mess everybody else up or fall back in and resume. I did the right thing, although it cost me my legs. Peeved me highly though, I'd even chosen a downhill to fall back on, grrr. Fortunately, the guy that we'd caught after the 62/100 split was a VERY strong rider and he worked his way up and told me thank you for the work and to let him pull the line for a bit. Whew!
We passed one guy that said (jokingly!) y'all are just show-offs and he couldn't believe he was being passed by girls.......I told him that wasn't the worst of it, I was also a truckdriver, hahaha!!!! Afterwards he came up to me at the beer tent and asked was I really a truckdriver. Yep, I really am, lol.
Quite a few riders had mechanical problems, tons of flat tires......We even passed one of our fast guys who'd had a flat and a hole in his tire around 50 miles in....he was waiting for the ONE sag wagon, hoping to get a tire. I think he had to wait a couple of hours and ended up having to get a ride back to the finish line because there were no tires available!!!!!!!!!!!!
There was one huge fast group that passed T & I several times, they kept having flats too. Five total I think they said and when one would stop they all would. At one point we'd lost our other 2 Searcy riders (1 ahead and 1 behind) and this fast group asked what us ladies were doing out there all alone, they even slowed down to 21-24 mph to allow us to try and hang with them for a couple of miles :-)
Me & T at the 56 mile rest stop, my bike Buffy is on the ground in behind us
Not long after this we hit the big hill that everybody was worried about....I couldn't believe how many people were getting off their bikes and walking up and these were people that had been passing us. Yes, I was in granny gear and it was a steep hill but I guess it intimadated a lot of people or they miscalculated on shifting down. There was also one woman who was screaming and grunting her way up the hill. The guys loved it but all I could think was that's a lot of wasted breath, lol!!!!! But then again, perhaps I'm too serious when it comes to this..........T asked a guy we were passing did all that screaming help get up the hill, the guy said he didn't know but he sure liked it.
Mile 70 on, I was dead.........I'd killed myself earlier in the ride and I was sure feeling it. Thankfully T has endurance that lasts for days and she pretty much drug my sorry butt on in. We did hit several spots where the road wasn't marked very well (or at all with one intersection!) grrrr. Kinda scary with just the two of us in the neighborhood we were in, we're both on the small side and I had no pepper spray packed.
Ok, final thoughts & results........Saddle time for me was 5 hours 52 minutes and some odd seconds, 11 minutes slower than last week. However overall time was almost the same, if not a tad faster. I'd already stopped, grabbed my medal, and gabbed for a few minutes off the bike before looking at my finish time and it was showing 6 hours 30 minutes (last week was 6:27).
The course was beautiful for the most part and challenging enough to keep it interesting. Majority of the locals were very friendly and chatted quite a bit, especially to T & I (wonder why? lol). Very cool medal to all the finishers. Road markings were confusing and nonexistent in several spots. There wasn't any pickles or pickle juice at any of the rest stops (thought that was kinda mandatory!). Only a couple of the intersections were manned by volunteers or police. I never saw a single sag wagon patrolling the route--found out later that there were supposed to be 5 but none showed up. The finish line was taken down by the time we finished and we were nowhere near the last. At 6.5 hours it should still be up.......This was supposed to be a LIVESTRONG event and none of their volunteers were there, at least when we were there. All the 20 milers got the Fat Tire beer, grrrr. Although there was still Bud & Bud lite available (meh).
Funny story--Mike, T, and I all beat the fast guys in!!!!!!!!!! They had 2 flats and took a wrong turn so extenuating circumstances, but we still beat them in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL, we had a 17 mph average and I think they had a 21 mph average.
Most of us ended up changing at the vehicle, all of us giggling like crazy. One thing about running and cycling I've learned to get over most of my modesty about certain things in public, maybe that's not such a good thing, lol. One of the guys changed under a towel and T & I changed using a skirt she'd brought. that actually worked quite well, I'm going to start bringing one along for that purpose, beats trying to change in a portapotty........and people only got flashed briefly, bwahahaha!
View of downtown Memphis
Two of the fast guys
Mike, T showing off the medal, and T's hubby--the other fast guy. Don't let his size fool you, he can click off miles at 25 mph and faster like crazy.
Da bling! ugh.......I need a manicure desperately