Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ghost Town Century report

Saturday I woke up to a very wet morning at 5:30, and proceeded to get dressed in my cycling garb anyway. My ride was due to arrive at 6, and I wanted to have something to eat before he got there. One PB and Honey sandwich later, along with a little Powerade, and I was good to go. The drive from West Jordan to Tooele was wet, snowy/sleety, and really intimidating. I did NOT want to ride 100 miles in that kind of weather, especially since I had (have) a pretty nice head cold. Fortunately, when we got off the freeway in Tooele, the precip had lightened up a bit, and by the time it came time to start, it had stopped.

We get to the staging area and check in, and I opt for the water bottle instead of the cycling socks... and it's a good thing I did. When I got back to the car to pin on my bib and change shoes, etc., I realized that the two water bottles I had filled at home with powerade were... still at home on the kitchen table. Oops. So I filled the one water bottle with water, and hoped the aid stations would be frequent enough to supply refills. Fortunately, they were, thanks to the cool weather I didn't drink as much as I otherwise would have.

Anyway, We were off, passing more than being passed in the first 10 miles until we arrived at the first rest stop... which wasn't even set up yet. It was early enough that I was still feeling fresh and still had plenty of water, so we soldiered on. The second rest stop was at the thriving metropolis of Ophir, Utah. It's a little tiny mining town at the top of a steep, beautiful little canyon. I didn't enjoy the 4 mile climb that averaged 7% and topped out at 15% grades, but I sure enjoyed the stop. I ate a granola bar and a baby potato with salt, and filled the water bottle with Powerade. Then I got all zipped up for the descent back down the canyon, which was fast and fun, but COLD. Temps at this point weren't yet to 40ยบ. Aid station number 3 was in Fairfield, another 23 or so miles away. That was the "lunch" stop, where they had Subway sandwiches and chips and other goodies. I opted for a PB & J on a tortilla... surprisingly yummy. The route from here headed back westward into Tooele County (Fairfield is just over the Utah County line... think west of Eagle Mountain). This is where the wind picked up and it got downright miserable. We even got hailed on for a few minutes -- just little tiny stuff, but still... it kinda stings. We also hit some rolling hills, which slowed our pace down to about a 15 mph average. Here we hooked up with a couple of other riders, one of which turned out to be a Cat 2 racer who offered to pull us the rest of the way in if we'd help keep his wife out of the wind. It was her first century ride too, her previous long ride having only been 40 or so miles. Yikes. So we gladly accepted the offer, and I was happy to settle into a draft for the next 15 miles or so to the 4th rest stop, which was basically a truck pulled over on the side of the road with snacks in the back.

A short stop and we were off, finally out of the direct headwind into more of a side/tailwind for a couple of miles as we headed north from Faust towards Rush Valley. Fortunately, except for the couple of minutes of hail, we had stayed precipitation-free. There were still 4 of us working together, which helped to minimize the effects of the wind. Garrett, our Cat 2 racer, would slow on the inclines to let his wife catch up, which I was grateful for. It meant it took us longer to finish than I had initially wanted to, but at the same time it kept me feeling like I had plenty of energy in the tank. We picked up a 5th rider into our group before the Rush Valley rest stop at mile 74. For the next section I took a couple of turns at the front riding next to Garrett and chatting with him about races, etc. At about mile 88 the hours and hours of rolling hills and climbing paid off, and we hit the descent. This is where our little peloton, now numbering 6, split up. I went with the faster group, and we quickly formed a nice little rotation of 3 of us all taking very short pulls, cruising down the hill working together at 30 mph. Our paceline lasted until we hit Grantsville at mile 95. Once into town our speed dropped of necessity and we just cruised and chatted... wondering what happened to the rest of our group. The three of us pedaled on in to the finish, with my total riding time being 6 hours, 28 minutes. Slower than I wanted, but then the course was hillier than I expected and it was a windy day, which didn't help. 105 miles total, over 4800 feet of climbing, with an average speed of 16.24 mph.

It was fun, but I don't know if I'll do another century ride. I just don't see the value in the registration. There's no clock, there's no "race", it's just a ride, and I can do that anytime. Sure the rest stops are nice, but $10 and a few well-planned convenience stores would have been just as nice. No, I think the next ride I pay money to ride in will have a clock and a race associated with it. I'll let you know what that'll be...

1 comment:

Ingrid said...

Way to go, bro!