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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,139

    Talking My First Century - Long Report!

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    This might be long so bare with me!

    It was the Tour de Fest in Kimberly, Wisconsin. This is known as a very flat ride but the century loop was new. My sister lives nearby so I came up the night before.

    First thing in the morning as I'm checking my gear I noticed my front tire is flat. I tried to put air in and the valve stem busted off. We get to the ride at 6:30 to register and the sponsoring bike shop is not present to help with the tire. I change it myself (ok, partially - a guy had to help me so I let him). That was my spare tube and now I'm without a tube. I take off at 7:30, a half hour later than I had hoped.

    The ride was very poorly marked. The arrows were only 3 inches long and right at each intersection. Ten miles into the ride a FedEx truck rides past me and kicks up a piece of metal which embedded in my back tire. Flat number 2. Since I am tubeless I call the SAG number on the cue sheet. The course is so well marked they can't find me They call me 3 times asking where I am. Ironically, I'm still in the same spot and getting a bit ticked off . Finally 3 guys stop and give me one of their tubes and change it for me. Then the SAG vehicle shows up to see if I need help! So now I've lost another 20 minutes and I'm thinking maybe 70 miles is good enough. See, I've been reading the cue sheet and there's a stretch called 7 hills road on the 100 mile loop with a comment: SAVE YOUR ENERGY FOR THIS APPRORIATELY NAMED ROAD!. I'm thinking that can't be good.

    I had some food with me and was thankful since I figured I'd skip the first rest stop. Good thing - I never saw it. Word had it it was a half mile off the course and a lot of people didn't see it. So my first rest stop is 28 miles into it. The weather was gorgeous but there were not many riders out. Come to find out only 190 people were riding that day and only about 53 were doing the century because of the hills. And the first 50 were from a local cycling club and they started at 6am - before the ride started! I didn't think that was very nice but hey, I'm still debating if I should ride 70 or 100. Now I know if I do the century I'll be doing it alone. Great.

    At the cutoff for 70/100 my sister met me and was supposed to have a tube. No tube and I still haven't seen the SAG wagon since my flat (won't see them until 50 miles). I decided since I was out there alone already, what the heck. I'm still waiting for the people that SJCzar promised to send me to keep me company Little did I know they were right behind me.....

    As I start on the loop leading to pain, 2 older guys catch up to me - one on a recumbent. We ride and chat and one is a gentleman I had met the week before on a ride. We determine we are the last 3 people on the century and we stay together for a bit. Then come the hills.....

    The first few hills were big but doable. I tucked in behind recumbent guy Bruce with Bob behind me. They get me over the first couple then pull ahead. Here comes a hill that I had to do a double take on. You know when you see a hill coming and it looks tall and as you get closer it flattens out and you can break it down a bit? You couldn't on this hill. It was a 16% grade hill and we found out later it's called "The Wall". Well named. Now, I have never walked a hill (I've also never biked a mountain ), but I seriously thought about it halfway up. Then I remembered someone had posted CSC's black wrist bands that said "Toughen the F*** up!" That became my mantra!

    I met the boys at the top to catch out breath and then they proceeded to stay well ahead of me but in eye sight. There were more than 7 miles of hills but that was the worst of it. Fifty miles into it is the next rest stop and my legs are toast! Only half way there and my mind starts putting the doubt in my head. I ate, prayed and hopped back on the bike.

    The next 15 miles were the hardest. I was cursing the course directors at this point: for the poorly marked course, for the freakin' hills, for the bloody gravel roads they were making us ride, for my sore bum, legs and the blasted wind that had picked up. When I looked up on yet another gravel road and saw another hill I almost cried. Toughen the F*** up! The Lord answered my prayers and I turned before the hill. I started to sing to myself. I started with "100bottles of beer on the wall". I got down to 96 bottles of beer and said screw it So I pretended I was riding in an ironman (hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!), I tried humming, I thought of my little guy, I said hi to the cows and horses, etc. Whatever I could do to get the negative thoughts out of my head. My mph had dropped down to 10-13 in the headwind. At one point 2 farm dogs came charging down barking at me and I told them that if they wanted a piece of me they could have it - I couldn't pedal any faster! At 70 miles I hit a rest stop and rang my bell - 65 miles had been my previous PB. Every mile I rode was now a personal best, and the volunteers, Bob and Bruce cheered me in!

    They knew I was a bit frustrated so the SAG guy hung around and kept asking me if I wanted to ride in. He wasn't helping I came out to ride a century and I wasn't leaving until I did it! I did have him give me a tube so I had one with me though. I ate enough to give me a second wind and got into a groove coming out of this stop. I finally picked up speed but still couldn't catch up to the guys. They were riding slower so I could see them but I would have preferred they rode with me in a group to help with wind and speed. Oh well, at least I wasn't alone. Bob finally took off because he had to get home but Bruce hung back but stayed ahead of me. My sister met me at the last rest stop to give me an atta girl and I had a quick bite and headed out - I wanted to be done. I ended up passing Bruce because he had to tinkle in the corn fields and then he took a wrong turn. I was now in that zone of "I could keep going till I fell off the bike". My legs had felt pretty good since about mile 75 and the hills now were more inclines. There was one last steep short one right after - you guessed it - a gravel patch, but it wasn't bad anymore. There was no way a hill was gonna stop me now!

    Marguerite wasn't shifting so well anymore from all the gravel roads so she is in need of a cleaning and relube. I finished at 3:40pm - 40 minutes after I wanted to but the 2 flats caused that. Total time on the bike was 6 hours and 38 minutes and the course was only 97 miles. You can bet I rode around the block until my computer read 100! Total elevation was 3,888 feet with most of it in a 10 mile stretch. My average was 14.6 which I was pleasantly surprised with (I usually average around 15). It was 55 degrees when I started and 80 degrees when I finished. I found the mental challange more of an issue and an accomplishment for me - now I know what I'm capable of doing and I don't think I will second guess myself so much anymore. And I'm not very sore either - my bum is a bit sore but I expected my legs to hurt more. This is one month earlier than I had planned to do a century (Sue talked me into it because she thought it would be flat). Here's a before picture with my sister and an after picture - thanks for reading!
    Last edited by mtbdarby; 07-30-2009 at 06:53 AM.
    Dar
    _____________________________________________
    “Minds are like parachutes...they only function when they are open. - Thomas Dewar"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,507
    Great report. Sounds like a tough first century both in the route and the organization.

    Congrats!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    Congrats!
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    i had hoped you'd write a report. what a story! what's with all the gravel roads? Don't they pave in your state?
    congrats on all the hills too. Do you know the total altitude gain for the ride?

    Thanks for talking about the demons in your head; that's a big problem of mine as well.

    CONGRATS; a century is a big achievement, and your time was EXCELLENT!
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    S. Dak.
    Posts
    490
    Great job on your 1st century and not getting lost with the poor markings. Your officially a tuffy now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,139
    Mimi, it was 3,888 with most of it in a 10 mile stretch. I knew the demons would come cuz I've heard other talks about it. That's why I wanted my first one to be an organized ride so I had someone to talk to. Oh well, I'm used to talking to myself
    Dar
    _____________________________________________
    “Minds are like parachutes...they only function when they are open. - Thomas Dewar"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    that would have been disappointing for me too; to ride an empty course, expecting riding companions.

    Having said that; it's really hard to find casual acquaintances that ride the same speed you do. Don't you have a bike club or something that you could ride with?
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Shelbyville, KY
    Posts
    1,473
    Well done! Sounds like a great day on the bike.
    Marcie

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    steuben county new york
    Posts
    626
    what a great story, and the time was super..congrats to you..and to do that with minimal support you deserve to be up on a podium. .

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Great job and good for you for persevering through less-than-ideal conditions. You did aweseom, but it's too bad the ride wasn't better organized. I hope they gave you an opportunity for some feedback. I'd tell them a thing or two!
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Yiiippppeeeeee Dar,

    You overcame a ton of hurdles!! Well done and great report.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2,059
    Great job! There will come another century that is well marked, well supported, and takes place on all paved roads! After this as your first one, you will feel like an old pro with a piece of cake! Congrats...you overcame!
    "The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it." ~ Doug Bradbury

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    West Milwaukee
    Posts
    281
    I'm feeling a bit guilty about this whole thing ... since I was the one to say what a great, well-supported, and FLAT ride the PaperFest is. This was the first year they added in the extra mileage to make it a century. What were the chances that the add-on would be the most killer hills they could find in that area?

    I guess the leadership of the ride was turned over to someone else for this year's event....really bad mistake.

    At least you can always keep in mind that any century after that one will be a piece of cake.

    I'll make it up to you with some margarita therapy after the next ride we do together.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,139
    Don't feel bad Sue - other than the hilly stretch is was pretty flat

    Besides, it didn't discourage me from riding another one. Kinda like having a baby - I've forgotten the pain already and just have fond memories
    Dar
    _____________________________________________
    “Minds are like parachutes...they only function when they are open. - Thomas Dewar"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    1,516
    Dar! I'm so danged excited for you! I remember when you were dreaming of "someday" being able to ride a century!!! and look at you now... you're an endurance athlete! WOOT!

    your report was awesome... I had to laugh at the dogs... I have SO mentally been there... I also have to chuckle that they had a climb called The Wall... every good ride has a climb called The Wall... just so ya know...

    except STP... they had a climb called "The Hill" THAT was my kind of climb

    I'm way proud of you... hope you kept your number and get a pic framed! that's a huge accomplisment lady...
    There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness".

 

 

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