September keeps rolling along and this weekend’s major event centered on the Cartersiville Beautiful Backroads Century bike event. Coo.l thing is this event takes place just five miles from my house at the local Budweiser plant. This year there was supposed to be about 1100 participants and a wide variety of distances. The event includes a few tickets for some Beer, food and after ride entertainment. In local cycling circles this event is very popular and so I was really looking forward to it. Who could turn up getting to ride without having to worry about food and water supplies? As I have a triathlon next week(my last sprint distance of the season), I opted to ride the 48 mile course. Living locally I am very familiar with the technicality of this route and the numerous and frequent hard climbs. I have ridden a good chunk of this unsupported and that was difficult enough for me.
Looking at the weather the day before, the outlookk did not look good. Continuous thunderstorms and rain were promised for the day of the ride. I figured if it was a little rainy I was fine, as long as there were no tornadoes or thunder and lightning all would be good (I had that experience allready earlier in the year. (Read about it here.) The morning of the event I packed up my stuff into my car and rode the quick trip down the road to the Bud plant and the start of the ride. I got checked in and was given my bracelet for beer and food for later in the day. At the start things did not look good. The rain had started before I left the house and had steadily and slowely continued to come down. It was not heavy, just gloomy and wet.
I just sucked it up and at 8 PM got under way. The 1100 people that were expected ended up being reduced and there were fewer riders. I noticed that most of the casual riders were missing,possibly chased away by the rain. I did notice that everyone that was riding were of the aero bars and bind big calf variety (triathletes and cyclists). Guess the rain stops sane people.
Initially the ride was a light rain. I tried to not go too fast down the hills as I was really afraid of loose road oil and going to fast and loosing control of my bke. Not sure if it was a warrented fear, but I did not like the idea of careening down a hill at 30+ miles an hour with super wet roads.
As I have ridden this course before I knew what to expect. I could tell from the start my legs were not fresh and even felt sluggish. I know I am doing this long ride at the end of the third eleven plus hour training week, even though I rested a bit on Friday. I pushed through it and on some climbs I actually went up them a little smoother than expected. Of course, these routes had allot of climbs so that aspect of the event did not dissapoint.
The SAG stops were well stocked and I give credit to the volunteers who huddled under anything they could find to provide us with sustenance as those of us who were crazy enough to ride in rain pushed on. As the day pushed on I quickly became soaked, with everything I wore covered in water and my legs filthy as the bike wheels pushed dirt up towards my quads. After a while I really did not notice the rain too much. I was wet, not much I could do about it. I chose to ride and I had to accept that I was going to be wet and I settled in for the multihour ride.
After mile 36 things got much worse. No lightning and thunder but strong winds began to impede forward progress. These winds often pushed down on me as I tackled some of the climbs making them worse than they usually were. Even worse, the rain began to get hard and heavy. Ths often blocked my vision and hurt my face as I sped forward at 17 to 18 miles per hour. But I pushed on, I wanted to finish the distance I set out to complete earlier that morning.
At one point there was only five miles remaining and the weather had gotten really bad, the rain was torrential. I was at a turn where to the right would have been the final five miles of the ride with beer and food waiting, to the left only minutes away was my home. For a second I thought I might just call it good at 30 some miles and go pick my car later, but I wanted the 48 miles. I turned right and headed for the finish into the torrent of water coming donw.
My longest ride before this was the 37 mile Tour De Cure Ride back in May. I have been working to get stronger with increased endurance. Not sure if the speed will come, but I know that I can last for any distance as long as i put my head down and I am willing to suffer a bit. My speed on the bike is pretty slow, roughtly 12-13 miles an hour depending how fresh and rested my legs are. So I knew to finsih this distance it was going to take a while and I would need every rest stop as well. The rain just added another layer of difficulty as I was a little more careful on the roads and I probably spent more time than I should have at each rest stop. But I finished it in the end, nearly 50 miles if you include all the SAG/rest stop miles, even though my watch shows 45 (my bike computer shows 50 miles, not sure why such a large disconnect).
The event organizers cancelled the live entertainment, but still openly supplied beer and food to participants. Not many people were hanging around except to eat and partake of the libations. There were only supposed to give two glasses to each rider, but they were expecting allot more people, so in the end I hung around and had a few glasses, enjoying another thrilling bad ass qualification ride! What are the odds of two cycling events being drenched in so much water and weather in one year.
In the end I finished my longest distance ride of 50 miles and I did it soaking wet!!! Another week heading towards being a bad ass, waiting for the official membership card now. Til next time.
- By Headlight and Headlamp Brick (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)
- Reminiscing – Best bits! (cyclingmysocksoff.wordpress.com)
- The Odd Happenings at Mile 24 (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com)