On Saturday, I completed my first century ride! 100 miles – heck yeah! (Well, 102.9 according to Señor Garmin, and 105 according to the course map.)
- Getting there. Google Maps said it’d take nearly five hours to drive from LA to Furnace Creek, so of course I thought I could make it in four (I have severe Making Good Time Arrogance). Nope. With a carb-loading dinner break and the last 80 miles being windy roads, we didn’t check into the hotel til 1am. Four hours of sleep before doing an endurance ride was… suboptimal.
- Gains. I apparently can’t (or didn’t want to) read elevation maps, so it wasn’t til I was out there that I discovered that there were significant (but mostly manageable) hills along the course, and the LAST SEVEN MILES to the turnaround point were one long, unrelieved climb. It was brutal.
- Headwinds. Luckily this only lasted a few miles, but it was crazy to watch my speed dwindle from 17.5 mph to 6.1, even though I was pedaling just as hard.
- Nausea. Even being really smart about nutrition, hydration, electrolyte drinks, Tums, etc., I mostly spent miles 83-92 wondering if I was actually going to puke (thankfully, I did not). I think it was a combination of working hard for so many hours, and the sun/heat, and trying to take in enough sugar and calories so as not to bonk. I started feeling better, I think, once I’d had time to digest the bit of Subway sandwich I’d eaten at the mile 88 stop. Or it might have just been the knowledge that I was almost done!
- The landscape was epically beautiful!
- My training did me proud. There were several times (those damn hills!) when I could feel the power in my quads from the squats and other exercises I do in strength training. And distance-wise, I felt good; although by the end my legs were tired, I wasn’t in pain and the soreness was moderate and didn’t last long. Here’s a video I took around mile 60:
- Alex volunteered, and he is awesome. It was wonderful to see him twice along the way, and I know his helpfulness and positivity made the experience better for countless other riders, too.
- I think Lloyd at Triathlon Lab might have saved me from needing a knee surgery somewhere down the road. When I stopped in to the store in for last-minute supplies, he busted out the goniometer and adjusted my seat height, free of charge. My knees felt ten million times better than they usually do after a long ride, and that was with much more mileage and climbing than I’ve ever done before. So grateful, I can’t even tell you.
- Señor Garmin. A GPS watch wasn’t even on my wishlist, but since my dad gave me one I’ve really come to like, appreciate, and maybe even depend on it. A big part of endurance sports is mental toughness, and it helps a lot to know how many miles you’ve gone, what your speed is like, etc. Not to mention dissecting all the data afterwards!
- The downhills were amazing! My top speed: 32.7 mph. Holy crap!
- The sense of accomplishment is pretty satisfying. I wasn’t the fastest person out there, my bike and gear are not fancy, but I trained and I got it done. That feels great.
- I need to do some hill training, for serious.
- Always be hypervigilant about sunscreen! I have some funky hands from my fingerless gloves and a splotchy sunburn on my left leg from half-assed spray application. Could have been worse, though.
- It’s time to start saving and researching for a proper bike. This is a big one. More on this later. Eek.