Met up with one of my Moms Run This Town friends, Kelli (check out her blog here: http://destinationcortina2014.blogspot.com/), for the Reston Century Ride this morning. It was the first century ride for both of us and I think we both were unsure what to expect.
For me, the longest ride I have ever done before today was 70 miles (in mid-July). So, I knew this was going to be a challenge. I also was curious how I would do on a notoriously hilly course. And, I wondered what it would be like to ride my road bike without using my clip-on aero bars, since I have used them all summer (thank goodness my coach warned me in advance that it would be bad etiquette to use them in a road race).
My goal for the day was to finish somewhere between 6.5 and 7 hours. I really wanted to focus on my nutrition and hydration on this ride, which is something I have been working on with my coach throughout the summer.
We met at 6:30 a.m. for the rolling start. The weather was perfect for the ride – much cooler and less humid than one would expect in August in D.C. I think we were both surprised at how many bicyclists were at the event (over 1,000); mostly men. For the first time ever, there was no line for the women’s bathroom, but a LONG line for the men’s bathroom! We picked up our cue sheets and soon enough were on our way.
The first two hours of the ride were fairly mundane. There was one really steep hill (Woodburn, for those of you who know it), but I was doing great with my nutrition – eating every 30-45 minutes – and feeling fresh when we hit our first rest stop. We filled our bottles, I ate a banana, and we were back on the road.
I went through a bit of a rough patch from about 2:30 to 3:30, which included another rest stop at around 3 hours. Kelli ended up breaking away in front of me, but we did meet back up at the stop. At the second stop, I filled my bottles again, ate some pretzels, and again we were on our way. I started feeling better around 3:30 and by the third rest stop, I was feeling good again. Unfortunately, that feeling was short lived. After that stop (around mile 60), the real hilly terrain began.
So, yeah, that hill at mile 67-ish was awesome. It was an entire mile of misery. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have gone faster dismounting and walking up the hill next to my bike. No rest for the weary though because shortly thereafter we were battling another hill. And another. Basically, miles 65-80-ish sucked: Taylorstown, Stumptown, Hamilton Station.
I knew after this section of the ride that there was no way I was going to make 6:30 and, frankly, I questioned whether I would even meet my 7 hour upper-end goal. There was one more rest stop at around mile 80 (5:30 ish) where I ate another banana (at this point, I would have eaten anything), refilled my bottles, and got back on the bike one last time. There was one more notable hill, but not as bad as the triple-from-hell (that is how I am referring to Taylorstown, Stumptown, and Hamilton Station from now on).
The last ten miles or so were the worst, not in terms of elevation gains, but in terms of just wanting to be DONE. It reminded me of the last few miles of the marathon where every tenth of a mile feels like three miles. It was that on the bike. That last little bit took an ETERNITY! And, it was getting warmer and I was getting hungry. We finally rolled through the finish line, together, at 6:59. JUST under 7 hours – YAY!
We both agreed we have no idea how anyone ever does an Ironman! We were dreading walking back to our cars, so running a marathon after that would certainly have been impossible!
I was so glad to have company from Kelli along the way today. There is no way I would have made it through without her! It really helped a lot to have some support out there, especially when things got tough. The volunteers were awesome too, but it helps to have a friend to meet up with at the rest stops who is going through the same pain you are! I came home and took an ice bath and immediately put on my compression socks and I am not planning on taking them off. Ever.
Distance: 102.47 miles
Moving Time: 06:59:40 Elevation gain/loss: 6708 feet
Nutrition: 4 Bonk Breaker Bites, 2 bananas, 1.5 pouches of Gu Chomps, lots of pretzels, water and Hammer Endurolytes Fizz.