Tag Archives: Metric Century

My first official metric century

I got up this morning, ate my oatmeal and cinnamon roll, and then headed over to downtown Greenville for the metric century ride I have been training for. I didn’t know what to expect. Two questions were on my mind: 1) how would I do riding in a large group, and 2) how would I do climbing Paris Mountain after riding for 50 miles?

When I got there I ran into two guys I knew, Miles and Matthew. One is a senior in college and the other is in his first year of law school. So, they were about 15 years younger than I am. Both are pretty good cyclist. The only thing in my favor is that Matthew had been in Mexico much of the summer and hadn’t riden in awhile.

We rolled off. Everything was nice and easy and a little frustrating since we had all the stop lights. However, once we got on Old Buncombe Rd. we started getting in a rythmn. I could tell then that things were going to be good. Normally, I start stiffening up about the time we reach Altamont road. However, today my muscles felt good at the start.

My first question was answered in a positive way. Riding in the group really helped to take some of the load off. Drafting was a big help. Also, Miles and Matthew really challenged me and where I would normally slow because I wasn’t feeling like I would like, I kept going so I could hang with them. The only negative about the group aspect came shortly after we passed our second SAG.

We were in a group of about 15 riders. I was probably 11th back right behind Miles. Matthew was behind me. Up ahead I heard the sickening sound of metal on metal and a groan. I looked up and saw bicycles piling on top of each other and people falling to the pavement. The rider just in front of Miles went down hard and Miles had to ride up and over her rear tire. I had to swerve around both her bike and her as she rolled away from it. She stayed down as well as another rider. Someone called for help and Miles, Matthew and I set off again. That was close! I rode on the adrenelin from that near miss for several miles.

The next eventful thing brings us to question two. Paris Mountain. I turned left onto Altamont Rd. with Miles and Matthew. We were the only three in this group. Miles pretty much off and left us. He actually seemed to have fun climbing that hill. Matthew and I put it as small rings and “walked” it up. However, we made it! We even passed a couple of riders on the way.

We made it, but on the way down the other side, I was toast. I couldn’t get my legs to do anything. I wanted to get in the upper ring so I could fly! But I couldn’t even pedalling downhill was a chore. So, I just coasted as much as I could until I got to the bottom.

Once there, I stopped and answered some questions for a guy who was from out of town. As I pulled away from him, I came to a stop sign and had to stop. I didn’t get my shoe out of the pedal fast enough and down I went! I didn’t even get a scrape, but I did bend my front brake lever a little. Nothing big. The good news is that I got another adrenelin rush at that point and the problems I had with my legs went away. The three of us took it on in from there without further incident.

We crossed the finish line three abreast. I felt pretty good hanging with those young wipper snappers, though I think they could have done better had I not been there. We finished the ride in about 3:39. I had thought it would take me about four hours, so I was happy with that.

Now, I think I’ll take a break from those kind of rides for awhile!

Lunch time ride

Saturday is coming soon! I am excited but a little scared too. I know I can so 62 miles because I did 72 last weekend. However, it was really hard! Of course, some of that could have to do with the fact that I had only eaten two pop tarts before that ride. I’ve learned a lot more about how to prepare my body and maintain my body during the ride… though there are still some unknowns — primarily Paris Mountain. What shape will I be in when I reach the base of the climb?

I am drinking plenty of water these days before the ride and I plan to eat a big pasta dinner Friday night. Saturday morning I’ll have some oatmeal and a banana. During the ride I plan to take a banana and some energy bars. I’ll be taking advantage of the stops for more fluids as I go along. My goal is not to be the last person in from the Paris Mountain route!

Training has eased a little here toward the end. Part of that is because I don’t have as much time, the weather has not been good, and I want to have fresh legs when the time comes. However, I didn’t want to go a week without riding. So, today I went out during my lunch break and knocked off 11 miles. No heart monitor. I just went out for the joy of riding. Didn’t look at the computer. In the end, I averaged 16.2 mph for 40 minutes. My max speed was 36 mph.

Also, during the ride I went over 600 miles on my Allez — and since I started riding on August 2.

I’m sitting in my office right now and I feel great. That is one major benefit of staying on the saddle. Bring on the metric century!