100 Miles In My Head

Seven hours on a bike and another 90 minutes hanging out at rest stops provides a fair amount of time to think. Here are a few thoughts from my time in the saddle.

Its f”ing cold out. All day Monday people were telling me what perfect weather it was for my ride. At 7:20 am when I left the house it was no more than 50 degrees. In addition to the basic wardrobe of stylish riding shirt and riding shorts I had to add a long sleeve shirt, jacket and tights. The weather caused me to pack extra clothes– a second shirt and a vest in case it warmed up. I could have done without the extra weight on my back. Other than for a 20 mile stretch in the middle of the day, I was cold.

iPods are a great invention. I purposely did not listen to music all the time but it was great to have several hours of songs from my “100 miles” playlist to pump me up when I needed it.

10 miles down only 90 to go. Something similar was repeated every 10 miles. Second only to the physical challenge of riding over 100 miles was the mental burden of knowing how many more miles and hours I had yet to go. Until I had ridden 85 miles I carried some doubt.

Is this your first Century ride? Spoken to a couple that I found myself riding next to early on. I ran into them periodically throughout the day. They finished the last segment strong and slightly ahead of me.

Wow. 16.8 MPH for the first 52. Faster by at least 1 mph than I had planned. I always try to push the speed. My theory is better to go as fast as you can at all times rather than try to pace yourself.

 Please G-d let the headwind be manageable. As you leave the Kenosha rest stop you continue north for a few miles before two quick right turns take you south. My speed on the ride north meant that I had had the wind to my back. (Every rider knows that if you are riding like a hero the wind is behind you.) Last year the gale force winds from the south contributed to me not finishing.

Thank G-d. I will finish this ride! My thoughts immediately after the two right turns. There was a noticeable headwind but one that me, and the extra training I had done, could handle.

Anytime one of you clowns wants to take the lead… After the turn south I had four riders immediately behind me. They stayed there for many miles as I fought the wind. Since I typically ride alone I do not claim intimate knowledge of group riding etiquette. However, I believe that people take turns leading since it is much easier to draft behind another rider than to be the one one slicing through the wind. The clowns were happy to let me do the heavy work until they could no longer keep my pace.

I wish I could eat a peanut butter sandwich. I have a mild wheat allergy which means that most breads are off limits. I had eaten a spelt bagel for breakfast. For the next 9 hours I subsisted on 2 Cliff bars, fruit supplied at the rest stops, water, Gatoraide and energy gels. The rest stops had sandwiches, cookies and brownies. I touched none of them.

The path was really well marked. Over the entire 107 mile course it was easy to know which way to go. NSC was painted in bright orange letters all along the course. For all but two — out of dozens– of turns they had markings a quarter block before the turn and again at the intersection. I was solo much of the ride. The markings helped. (NSC stands for North Shore Century.)

Damn. These mansions in Lake forest are humongous! After leaving an industrial area and some run down suburban streets, the route took us through the nicest streets of one of the wealthiest Chicago suburbs. These were not houses they were more akin to plantations.

The person who made this century ride 107 miles long should be shot. Not killed mind you just put in pain. The story is the first 100.  The last seven just adds an extra half hour to a long day. It adds nothing to the legend.

I did it! This was an emotional moment. That alone was unexpected. I own this triumph for the rest of my life.

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About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

One Response to 100 Miles In My Head

  1. Frank says:

    That’s a great chronology. That first 10 is nuts, right? 10 down, 90 to go are the worst words ever heard in the English language.

    You set a blistering pace. Wow, 16+ on pace, that’s really something. I’m more of a 12-14 guy, and I know how much work it is to bump the speed…it’s a lot more work for an extra mph or two. And those people riding in your slipstream…that’s just wrong. They should take their turn.

    You should really be rpoud of yourself. You declared this goal, trained to do it, and had the physical and mental toughness to do it. Wow…and tack on 7 miles more just for fun….plus the ride to and from for you…lots of saddle time…well done, man.

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