Mileage: 102.87 miles
Riding Time: 6:07 Riding Speed 16.8 mph
Total Time: 6:30
Climbing: 3657 ft.
WOW! I didn’t have Wheaties for breakfast, so it must have been the antipasti last night: thanks Patsy! I got to ride with the Big Boys today.
I was one of the first riders out of the gate, and soon found myself with a fast group of four. The first ten miles or so, which were generally downhill, was just a good fast warmup and then we cranked it up to race speeds (24-25 mph over rolling hills). I didn’t take my turns at the front, but I didn’t go away either. I was thinking “This is insane; there are hills in the second half of the ride and I will be toast.” It didn’t amaze me that I could stay with the group on the flats, but there were lots of little rolling hills and it did amaze me how I took those. Typically, everyone else got out of the saddle and started throwing their bikes back and forth to sprint up the hill. I just stayed in the saddle and increased the pressure on the pedals. Frequently, I had to do what is called “soft pedaling” just spinning nice and easy so as not to lose rhythm as I crested the 6-8% hills, going easy so as not to go flying off the front. I briefly lost contact with the others on a long 9% grade, but easily caught back on afterwards. People began to notice that this was the New Chris; not the same as the Old Chris. We shredded the group and Manny and I arrived together at the first SAG stop at mile 33.
But I didn’t blow up. After a quick SAG stop a group of four reformed (shedding a few others on the way). We stayed together until mile 68, when we hit a series of 16% climbs (serious stuff). I could not stay with the leaders on the climbs (my guess is that I have lost 10 pounds, but that still leaves me at 220), but I arrived at lunch at mile 75 no more than 2 minutes down.
I never blew up! The final 28 miles featured lots of small hills, so I rode them by myself, but I was almost always in sight of the three or four people that I had been with, until we ran into a problem: the road we were supposed to take was under water (I should have stopped to take pictures, but that is hard to do when the adrenaline is flowing and you are on a roll). We made an impromptu detour and sailed into
. Wooster is the first city where our hotel is in the middle of town (lots of good restaurants) and I was the first one in to the local milk shake joint (did I tell you all that a milk shake makes a fantastic recovery drink?). Five of us finished essentially together, about 20 minutes before the van, which meant that we got to unload the van. Wooster
I remember the night that I won my first race about 35 years ago (Wednesday twilight criterium – a local training race). I fell asleep feeling all aglow. I think that I will have that same glow when I fall asleep tonight.
We are in to the countdown – 10 – 9 – 8 more days. I’m scared of Saturday, which is the longest ride of the trip (140 miles). But maybe if I feel like this every other day I shouldn’t be – that’s two days from now – the new Chris should show up.