The Metric Century Ride - 62 miles

To continue where I left off...

Pop-Tarts, the fuel of champions. :p

Pop-Tarts, the fuel of champions. :p

I started this year with the goal to complete a century bike ride (100 miles). Knowing that it would mean the better part of 8 hours in the saddle, I decided to set one goal early in the season. That was to complete the metric century (62 miles/100km) in early June at the same bike festival I had ridden the previous year.

I rode my trainer a few times during my time off with Baby Z, but never quite broke an hour on that thing. It's a lot like getting on the elliptical machine at the gym. A whole lot of boring, even with the tv blaring. Not to mention the sweat that's worked up when there's no breeze. Even opening the closest window in the dead of winter did little to help cool the operation down.

Once spring came around and I had my shoes and pedals figured out, I was ready to hit the ground running!

Except...it kept raining.

A lot.

Because of the way S and I alternate working out/pick up kids, I only had one day a week to ride after work. I was able to get in Saturday morning rides, but the afternoons after work didn't happen very often. I pushed through it, joining a local cycling club late in my training, and doing exactly one hill climb with them before my big ride. Weeks of frustrating weather holding back my mileage goals resulted in me completing a 50 mile ride two weeks before the 62-miles. That's pretty darn good, as training for endurance events like this are similar to training for running events...you never hit the ultimate distance in training.  I try to set a goal for 80-percent of the distance, which I think is a typical target. The thing I did not do in my 50-mile ride was come anywhere close to the elevation gain of 3,300 feet that I would be riding in the 62-miles. The thought of all the rolling hills that were coming at me shook my confidence a bit.

The day of the 62-mile ride came and again, thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon, so instead of staggering our start, so that we finished at the same time, S and I decided we needed to start early to make sure that I finished before the storms. S rode with me for a few miles, but the first big hill we got to, I quickly lost ground and landed in the easiest gear. As I huffed and puffed along struggling to catch up, it became apparent that he was going to have to leave me behind before our routes split. Off he went, and I was on my own. Once I was past the first big hill, the first 10 miles were awesome. The subsequent 7 miles is when everything started to hurt. My saddle was uncomfortable, a knee felt wonky, a shoulder ached. I couldn't wait for the first aid station, and I wondered how the next 50 were going to go.

At the first aid station, I happily jumped off the bike, stretched a bit, hit the porta-potty (because helloooo hydration/coffee/IC) and made myself eat something even though I wasn't hungry. 

Once I was past the first aid station, my mantra became, "21-miles to the next station, 21-miles is nothing". Once I broke it down to, get to the next aid station, I was able to relax a little bit knowing that rest, water, food, and restrooms (important!) were only about an hour and a half away. The second 20-miles went pretty easily, there were some rolling hills, a couple of fun downhill sections, a big ass hill near the end, a ton of people and a police escort. What more does a girl need? I felt pretty damn good nearing the end of that segment, but knew that I needed to pull off at the aid station and take a nice long break. After my break, I jumped on for another 11 miles to the third and final station.

40-miles in, my knees started to hurt. I didn't bring ibuprofen with me, so I decided to let off the big gears and keep cycling in a gear that was pretty light resistance. That worked great until the uphill sections when I had to use more resistance. Thankfully, the hills on this part of the course were smaller than previous, and overall this section went downhill. Whew! By the time I saw the aid station,  I was in trouble, each pedal stroke causing stabbing pains in my knees.  I spent quite a long time here, stretching and psyching myself up the for last segment.

The final hurdle was a 2.5 mile hill. I'm 49 miles in, tired, my knees hurt, but this is the last shitty hill. DO. IT. And I did. Slowly, in granny gear, grinding away as everyone passed me, stopping about a half mile in because I needed to talk myself into the next part. 

I did it. I got up that fucking hill. And the downhill was glorious.

Then it was several miles of grind back to the fairgrounds on the frontage road for I-25. Gawd awful, but the only way to get back. The last few miles went a little something like this:

"Just pedal, just pedal, just pedal"

"ow, ow, ow, ow"

"Just pedal, just pedal, just pedal"

"fuck fuck fuck"

"Just pedal, just pedal, just pedal"

"That curb looks mighty comfy...."

"Just pedal, just pedal, just pedal"

"I'm not gonna make it"

"Just pedal, just pedal, just pedal"

"FUCK"

"Just pedal, just pedal, just pedal"

"GO"

"Just pedal, just pedal, just pedal"

"Almost there"

"Just pedal, just pedal, just pedal"

"THERE IT IS"

....I crossed the line (limped, if there is such a thing on a bike) exhausted, my knees killing me, my upper back equally pissed off and I thought:

"Wow. I did it."

"Holy shit, I hurt."

"6 hours!"

"I'm gonna ride 100? really????"