On Saturday, I started my day off riding the Holland Hundred bike tour. This was my first year participating in the event which draws nearly 1,500 cyclists for the 18, 36, 67, and 100 mile loops. My training plan had a schedule 1h15 minute/30m brick planned. So, I chose the 100 mile loop. Makes sense right?
I had originally planned on riding my roadie for this ride and taking it relatively easy. However, I have been having some mechanical issues with it and by the time I finally dragged it into the LBS, there wasn’t going to be time to get it fixed for the ride. So, I decided to ride the Black Rock. With that decision, I decided that I would do the ride solo and not in a group. I don’t like riding the P2 in a group because it is generally considered bad etiquette (not to mention unsafe) to ride a tri bike in a pace line.
I got to the ride start at about 7:00AM. There was no organized start or anything; just show up and ride. There would, however, be aid stations throughout the course, a marked course, and SAG vehicles available. As I walked over to registration, I actually saw a few other tri bikes so I wouldn’t be the only one out there. On the way I bumped into a guy who swims at the EGR pool. I’d never talked to him before because he is usually starting his swim while I am in the middle of mine. We chatted for a bit before getting checked in.
As soon as I checked-in, I headed off. It was a great day for a ride. It did get a little warm by the end of the ride so I am glad I got started early.
I started off taking it easy. However, I soon got caught up in the energy and was going faster than I had planned. I got to the first rest stop, but I still had a full bottle so I didn’t even stop. I was feeling really good and decided that I was going to go all out. I was actually in a semi-hurry to get done and home as Jennie and I had plans for the afternoon and evening. I figured I would use that as my motivation to fly through.
I stopped at the 2nd aid station to fill up a water bottle. This aid station was crazy busy as it was also the breakfast stop. There was a pancake breakfast for the riders. I decided to pass on it. For some reason gorging myself on pancakes at mile 30 of a 100 mile just didn’t seem like a good idea.
Shortly after the aid station, I bumped into my neighbor. He decided to ride the 67 mile loop at the last minute. I’m glad he made it out.
About 50 miles into the ride is when it got ugly. I was feeling awesome and having a great time. I was greeting everyone as I passed and everyone seemed very friendly. Then, I passed a group of 7 riders who were riding in an unorganized pace line. I greeted them with a wave and a “Good morning” and got no reply. Oh well, whatever, see you later. Well, I got about 100 yards ahead of them before they organized their group and started charging ahead. Next thing I know they are coming up alongside me to pass. No big deal, I would expect a pace line of 7 riders to blow me out of the water. Well, the problem was they didn’t all pass me. Four of them surged ahead and the other 3 trailed behind. Next thing I know, I am trapped in their group. Crap. Ok, I can deal. I pop up on the horns and settle in until I can find a way out. This was an absolutely horrible group of riders. They didn’t communicate at all. No hand signals, no verbal warnings, nothing. And this was a particularly rough section road; probably the worst road of the ride. I was hitting every single pothole and crack in the road. I was getting pissed and really starting to feel like my safety was at risk. The thing was that the entire road wasn’t in poor shape, only the shoulder. They could have easily moved over to the left 2 feet and had clear road. We were in the middle of the country so there was really no traffic to worry about.
Finally, one of the guys in front popped a water bottle (did I mention how bad this section of road was?) which they decided to stop for. That’s when I made my move. While they were slowing down and regrouping, I took off. I laid down the hammer determined to leave them behind me. I put down a couple 23-24mph splits and effectively dropped them for the rest of the ride.
Anyone ever had a bad pace group experience like that? How did you handle it?
After that, I continued to surge forward with the momentum. The only fault with this ride was that there was a good 30 mile section with no aid station. It was the longest stretch without aid and I was running dry on both my bottles. Other than that, my nutrition was spot on – drink every 15 minutes, 3 Chomps every 30 minutes.
I ended up finishing the ride in 5:05:05 (and this was my 5th century of the year – weird) for a total of 104 miles! Granted, it was a pretty flat course. However, with a flat course, there is almost no time to coast and rest the legs. It is like riding on the trainer; continual, consistent pedaling.
Overall, it was a great ride and was another confidence boast.
After the ride, I headed home and got in a quick 30 minute suffering run. Man did the run suck. The sun had come out in full force and it sucked all the sap from me. Good practice though.
With the run complete, it was time for Jennie and I to head up North. My boss’s daughter was getting married at their cottage and Jennie and I were helping out as bartenders for the evening. So, for 6 hours, Jennie and
drank poured beer and wine. Jennie had never poured beer from a tap before, but in no time she had mastered the skill. And don’t worry, the bad test pours did not go to waste. MMMMmmmm… Oberon…
It was a gorgeous wedding and we had a great time. I actually knew quite a few people at wedding because I went to same high school as my boss’s daughter and have done computer work for a lot of my boss’s friends and family.
The groom’s father is a world renowned pastry chef, so let’s just say the cake was pretty good. And by “pretty good”, I mean life changing. There was both a chocolate and vanilla cake and while both were amazing the chocolate was heavenly.
Cake and beer on the beach after a long day. Not a bad way to end the day. However, by the end of the night we were both exhausted.
Thanks for reading! I hope everyone had a fun and exciting weekend. I’m looking forward to reading all the race reports from everyone who raced.