This year I have ridden a lot. 4500 miles (200 miles short of my all time high. If the weather holds I should be over 5000 miles before I put my bike away for the winter) and 328 hours (already a new record for me) actually. I’ve ridden above treeline and made it back down (though it took me a while to recover physically). I had my but kicked by some pro riders in my first XC race (though it took me a while to recover mentally :)).
The one thing I have not done this year is a road century. As I got closer to Leadville and my time on the bike ticked up I pretty much went exclusively to my mtb. And so I never got a road century in. Yesterday I changed that.
The training plan called for a 4:50 moderate endurance ride. Perfect time to pull out the road bike and go for the century. I figured in 5 hours I would get 90 miles in, and then I would cheat it and get an extra 10 miles in to round out the day.
We have had a really nice fall in the North Country. It’s been warm and for the most part dry. Yesterday you could feel the onset of winter. It was chilly (about 50F) and the clouds looked like the kind that in the winter would dump half an inch of snow on you in 30 minutes. (Those of you who live up here know the kind of clouds I am talking about.) I kitted up in a base layer, full jersey and full finger gloves (Yes, Fatty, I use full finger gloves, but only when it’s cold enough.) and headed out.
I was talking with a fellow mtb’er a couple of weeks ago and he said he didn’t like road riding because it was monotonous. That is actually one of the things I like about road riding. When the traffic is light you can just loose yourself in the rhythm of pedaling. It’s kind of medatative.
We had a strong west wind (about 18 mph) and the route I picked was pretty much dead west for the first 25 miles and then primarily east, either south east or north east the rest of the ride. I hammered the first 25 miles and had a 22 mph average after my first 25 miles. It’s slightly up hill over that stretch, but with the tail wind it was super easy and fast. Then I made the big turn and went into the wind. Down onto the drops grinding it out.
STRAVA will show that I didn’t beat any of my segment records on this ride, but STRAVA records were not really the point. I was going for a fast 100 mile time.
The traffic was light and I was able to achieve that magic empty place where its you, the bike, and your muscles working together. In the end, I did my century in 5:21 which gives a average speed of 18.8 mph. With about 5700 ft of vertical (including two “long” climbs) that’s not bad for an unsupported solo century. I know given the right day and route I have a 5:00 century in me. Some day. Some day.