Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm sitting in my dining room writing this as it rains outside. It is cold, dark, and rainy at 11:30 in mid-October. I've heard it has snowed over the past weekend in far-off exotic places like Buffalo and Chicago. It hasn't snowed here but it could have.

It is hard to think about cycling this morning but I need to get the final three centuries posted before I totally forget them.

Tom and I rode several times to train for the Sandy Creek Century. Tom wasn't riding it just me, but Tom was riding with Dave and Brian on a week long ride so he needed as much time in the saddle as he could get. We rode in West county where there are great hills. I seemed to have lost the specs for the ride. I remember riding around 35 miles. Tom if you have the stats from the ride send them to me and I'll edit the post.

We also rode in Columbia, IL for around 20 miles.

My fifth century was going to be the Sandy Creek Century on September 23rd. I started off with a big problem. I was planning to ride and finish in around 7 hours and then go to work. I had it figured out that if I started at 6:00 am and it took me 7 hours I would finish at 1:00 pm and that would give me 2 hours to get to work shower get dressed and be ready for work. Seven hours is reasonable for me. All my other centuries I finished in 7 so as long as nothing went terribly wrong I could do it.

I woke at 4:30 am the morning of the 23rd to the sound of rain. I thought I could still do it. It had rained in at least three of the other centuries. I drove an hour to get to the start. It was 6:30. Already half an hour late. I signed in. Still raining. And now thunder and lightning. I waited until 7:15 to start. I figured I could call in late. If I was an hour late for work it would be OK still.

At the ten mile mark I realized that I wasn't going to finish. I was soaked, and cold. I had fallen on gravel on thse last century, just one month befroe, and my right elbow and right hip were beginning to nag me about falling again. So I stopped at a gas station and looked at the map and decided to go to the first rest stop (at the 20 mile mark) and take the Sag back to the start.

You got to understand, after at least 20 years of riding in organized and unorganized rides I had until that point never Sagged back to the start. Even after falling off my bike.

Well, I knew at this point, I couldn't expect to finish the ride and get to work. So I got to the first rest stop. It was thundering and there was no break in the clouds at this point. The rest stop had two volunteers helping out. One of the volunteers was Jasper a Turbo rider from the Gateway HI. He is one of the 70+ youngsters that Tom and I have had the pleasure of riding with, or pleasure of trying to keep up with on some of our training rides. He and I talked for a while, while I was waiting for the Sag.

Right as the Sag got to the rest stop to pick me up the sun came out. Susan, another Gateway HI volunteer who I've ridden with on other centuries, was the driver of the Sag van. She offered me a cup of hot chocolate. It was the best hot chocolate I've had since the last time I was camping.

Anyway I only went 20 miles on this ride. I averaged around 15 miles per hour, not my best but this was the Sandy Creek Century. The hilliest ride of the year, so far...