Well, it is done. My first 100 Miles of Nowhere is in the books. And while the final results are not yet it in, it appears I took first overall in the Grand Rapids Division which makes this my first ever overall win. I am anticipating that people will start stopping me on the street to shake my hand now and ask for my autograph. Offers for a book deal haven’t started coming in yet, but I am guessing that that Memorial Day weekend is causing a bit of a delay. We’ll see what Tuesday brings. I’m sure the phone will be ringing off the hook.
Any ways, I did my ride on Saturday May 28th. I started the morning off with a frigid 60* swim in the Thornapple River in preparation for next weekend’s race. After the swim, it was hard to get moving again. Both because it had started to rain and because I was still frozen. So, I took a nap.
Waking back up after 9:00, I realized that I better get my butt moving because it wasn’t going to get any earlier. The rain had finally subsided, but the pavement was still a bit wet.
I put together up all of my nutrition for the ride. Five bottles of Gatorade (2 orange, 2 fruit punch, and 1 blue), ziploc bag of about 20 Gu Chomps (strawberry, watermelon, and peach tea), a bag of peanuts, and a PB&J. I could only carry 3 bottles so Jennie was planning on meeting me halfway through to swap bottles and bring the PB&J.
And with that, I was off. My plan was to ride laps around Reeds Lake until I hit 100 miles. At 4.3 miles per lap with ~100ft of climbing (mainly all on one hill), it was looking like I had 23 laps in my future and ~2000 feet of climbing. I was riding clockwise around the lake which meant mainly right turns all the way around. It also meant going up the Hall Street Hill on each lap – starts at about 4-5% grade and then halfway up, curves around and jumps to 9-10% grade. It was just as nasty on the first lap as it was on the 23rd. Each lap had a couple of
optional stop signs and 3 stop lights that I was worried about slowing me down. However, one of the three stoplights I could avoid when it was red by cutting through the middle school parking lot (that’s legal right), the second was a right turn for me and I only had to actually put my foot down twice for, and the third was a longer light in my direction, so again, I only had to put my foot down a couple of times. I got really lucky with the lights on this ride.
UPDATE: After my ride, I went back out with a Flip camera and recorded a loop of my 100 Miles of Nowhere. Thankfully the loop wasn’t as busy when I rode as when I recorded the video.
The lake is only about 1.5 miles from home so off I went. When I got to the boat launch, I stopped to reprogram my Garmin. One of the features with the Edge 500 (and presumably other Garmin models) is to Lap By Position rather than Lap By Distance. Normally, the Garmin will automatically mark a lap every 5 miles with the Lap By Distance. However, with the Lap By Position feature, I was able to mark the boat launch as my lap start/stop point and it would count off my laps for me. Super cool feature.
I wish I had some super cool story to tell about the bike ride itself, but sadly anything I have to say is just about as boring as say, riding around the lake 23 times. The monotony of the ride, thankfully, really didn’t set in until about 60 miles and then only lasted until about the 85 mile mark. In fact, the first time I really looked at my overall distance, I was at 35 miles already. 60 to 85 was definitely the hardest part. I found myself looking at the Garmin after each lap and thinking, “That was only 4.3 miles? But the last one was only 4.3 miles.” Yep, I was certifiably losing it. But at 85-ish miles, I knew I only had 3 laps left plus the extra little bit to get me back home. It was just the surge I needed.
As planned, Jennie (and the puppy), met me at the lake at almost exactly 50 miles to swap bottles and for my PB&J. It was by far the best PB&J I had ever tasted.
I sort of played a game as the laps progressed trying to find the best line to travel around the lake. There area few rough spots along the way, so I kept trying different patterns to avoid the worst of it. I really don’t think I ever found a way around the bad spots. It just gave me the mental stimulation I needed to keep me out of the asylum.
Because of the overcast weather, there weren’t many people around the lake at all. Had it been a really nice day (like Sunday or Monday), I probably would have gone batty because I would have been trying to avoid the crowds (groups of women walking 3 abreast down the middle of the road, little kids weaving back and forth across the road, boats being loaded/unloaded at the launch, etc.) each time around. As it was, I saw very few bikers and only a handful of runners which usually stay contained to the boardwalk and off the road. So, despite my earlier gripes about the weather, it turned out to be a perfect day for a long ride. It stayed overcast nearly the whole time so I didn’t have to worry about getting sunburned or overheating. The biggest downside to the overcast weather was that it was almost too dark for sunglasses in the shade, but without them, my eyes would dry out. I should have changed out the lenses for the clear ones before the ride but I was being optimistic at that time and hoping for some sun.
Nutrition-wise, I nailed this ride. After my super-bonk at the long ride last weekend, I was worried about the same thing happening here. With all the fluids I took in and food I put down, I managed to only lose .5lbs on the ride (versus 6+ last weekend). Huge win. I think I’ll try and stick to this plan for the rest of training and hopefully carry it through to IMWI. I was going through a bottle of Gatorade every hour taking sips every lap (basically every 15 minutes). Every 45 minutes, I chowed down 4 Gu Chomps. After 3 servings of Chomps, I had the PB&J, and then had a bag of peanuts shortly after that before switching back to the Chomps. The PB&J and peanuts were a nice intermission from the Chomps as seemed to be a good ratio of real food to “fake” food. My only regret is that I had packed a bag of strawberry Newtons and totally forgot about them until I had gotten home.
As for my performance, I couldn’t be more pleased. I had only done two previous 100 mile rides, one century last year, and the 150 mile group ride last weekend. My first century took just over 6 hours and we hit the 100 mile mark of the 150 mile ride in about 5:10 (not including stops for lunch and SAG), but that was a group ride and I had no idea how I would fair on my own. In the end, I shocked even myself coming in at 5:17:55 for a 19.2mph average. Even better is the fact that I stayed fairly consistent throughout. Each of my laps fell in the 13 minute range and I really didn’t drop off that much at the end. This was also my longest ride on the Black Rock and guess what, NO SORENESS AT ALL. Now, I wouldn’t say it was as comfortable as a La-Z-Boy, but when it comes to riding a bike, I haven’t been on anything more comfortable.
At the end of the ride, I was feeling so good, that I decided to do a run when I got home to turn it into a brick workout. When I told Jennie I was thinking of doing a run, she looked at me like I had 3 heads. I reassured her that it would just be a quick one. I ended up running 30 minutes and just shy of 4 miles. During first mile, my stomach was a bit wonky, but I eased up a bit and settled right in. I was shockingly super comfortable the entire run and had just over an 8:00/mile average. Big, big confidence boost coming off the run.
After that, it was finally time to eat and relax. We ordered up some Jet’s Pizza and Jennie picked me up some New Holland and Founders beer and I proceeded to sit on my as – albeit on the much more comfortable sofa.
And finally, all of the gory details of the ride if you are interested in such things.