I rode the Cache Valley Century today. It was 100 miles of pure fun. My legs didn’t cramp up at the end this time and I met new people and I had a chance to ride with a couple of people from the Space Dynamics Lab. They are always fun to ride with and are good, skilled riders. Interestingly, some of the new people were doctors. Given our wreck during the MS150 it was a comfort to have medical people around and they were a lot of fun to ride with. In all the people I rode with were great. One of the greatest benefits of cycling is the opportunity to meet new people and share a common experience even if what you share is pain.
I and Jaren started the day at 6:30 instead of 8. The morning part of the ride was beautiful and cool (freezing cold), but I think that is the best way to do the century. It was nice to stop riding when I hit my house rather then have to ride all the way up to Richmond only to have to drive home. I think that part of the ride was one of my favorite.
It is still fun to see the combination of people that ride in these endurance cycling events. There are young and old and people of all body types. Cycling really is a sport that anyone can enjoy.
Each time I ride I learn something new or I am reminded of something I should pay attention to. This ride once again featured a wreck. Thankfully, nobody was hurt but one of the riders tacoed his front rim – bent it right in half. At mile 90 riders are very tired and begin to do whatever that have to in order to keep up. The unfortunate part is that because the focus switches to survival this is when people make mistakes. In this instance two riders collided sideways. It was an easy mistake to make, but one that is avoided if you still have your wits (ie aren’t suffering from 90 miles of riding). I rode with the guys from SDL on Wednesday and saw a similar crash. No one was hurt and the bikes were ok. In both instances riders were climbing and standing up to sprint to the top of the hill and in both instances one rider was tiring and falling back.
Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t assume that there isn’t a rider behind you or to the side of you. Know your limits and if you are tired don’t try to lead the pack up a hill. If you are the guy in the back always have an escape plan. Look for a clear path that can quickly get you out of a riders way and watch the guys ahead of you. If they are slowing be prepared to back up and find a route around them.
At mile 90 you are tired. So is everyone else. No matter how many times you have watched Le Tour you are not a pro. Don’t try to hang 2” of the guy in front of you and don’t think you are safe in a big pack even if you are a good rider. Someone else will be tired. They are more likely to sprint and then slow and then repeat. The spring effect will wear you out anyway and is dangerous. The draft isn’t as good, but it is likely you aren’t a pro so slow up if you have to. During our MS150 ride the rider went down in the last miles because he caught the wheel in front of him. It was a nasty crash and took out the guy behind him. No matter how good you are feeling you are dependent on the abilities of the other riders for safety. Hang back a few feet and give yourself some reaction room. You may not be as cool or as fast, but in the long run it is cheaper and safer.
This is one I adhere to but is worth writing down. If you haven’t ridden with someone before then you need to observe their riding before getting to close. Many new riders don’t understand a paceline – I am still not that good. They will brake (yikes) when you least expect it. Here again, hang back a bit until you understand their riding style. If they waver back and forth or brake then sprint give them some room. You will lose some draft benefit, but you won’t go home with road rash.
Luckily my stomach feels better this time. I didn’t use Acceleraide this time. That stuff gives my stomach fits after I drink 4 bottles of it. Instead, I switched to Perpeteum which tastes like flour which is better than Acceleraide. Not having to spend the next 3 days on the toilet thinking “what the hell was that?” makes the extra cost of Perpeteum worth every penny. I love the stuff.
Right after the ride I felt great. I always feel great for about an hour. Of course after that my right leg cramped up until I was pretty sure I would rather cut it off then endure that kind of pain. I have to figure out what the heck is up with that and do something about it. I took electrolytes and advil this time, but the results were still the same – intense pain and a desire to die.