I did it! I reached another milestone: I finished my first Century ride. It was only a Metric Century - which is to be 100K instead of 100 Miles. I did it. It was long, and, hilly. And, I didn't think this could be true, but there was a head wind the entire ride. I kid you not.
About 40 cyclists met before 8:00 a.m. on an overcast Sunday in March (3.30.2008) at the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy in Quincy, Florida, for a "short little ride through the countryside" called the Blue Line Springtime 100. Oh, my gosh! It was a beautiful ride. The scenery was spectacular; the SAG stops well stocked and staffed by friendly and appreciative volunteers. The riders in the "peloton" were exceptionally friendly and encouraging. Most were happy to chat briefly as they passed me; and one sort of became the ride leader for a time and instituted a "no drop" rule until the group was close to the finish and there was no doubt in his mind that we would all make it and find our way back to the Academy.
My heart-felt thank you to George Palmer for being that leader. He is, I learned during the ride, the Mack Daddy of triathlon here in the Big Bend area. I also thank him for supplying me with the "hook-up" for the bike that I borrowed from a complete stranger for training and the ride itself. George, Michelle, and Karin: I'm hooked. I'm buying a bike that truly fits me this week! Yeppers! This will definitely be my off-season program. But you know, come September, it's back to the pavement for Marathon season - and there are few of them on the horizon.
It was kind of cool to ride for a while, albeit a VERY SHORT while, in the pack - called a peloton in the cycling world. It was very cool to see all the different bicycles and the gear and to hear all the riders chat. They all ride together in one way or another and see each other frequently during events such as this one.
I had some questions about whether or not I should have committed to this as the training progressed. I learned that while it does not take nearly as long to ride 40 miles as it does to run that far, it still takes a long time. When I got to the SAG stop at about 40 miles on Sunday, my sit bones hurt. I had not been bothered at all during training, but another rider pointed out to me that the longer and higher hills along with the head wind had probably caused the discomfort more than the mileage itself. Whew! That made me feel better. As we set off from that SAG stop each pedal stroke was new and uncharted territory. I can tell you that it was a wonderful feeling to finish the 100K; nearly as wonderful as it did to finish my first marathon. I can only wonder what it will be like to finish a full century (100 miles). Wow! That day is coming, I am sure of it.
There is a group here currently training with Team in Training for a ride at Lake Tahoe: America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride. Even though I have been to Tahoe and driven (not ridden) the route, I know that we don't really have any hills of real comparison here in this region. I hope that Chuck knows about some of these hills in Gadsden County, Florida, and Grady County Georgia. I will have to get him the map of the Blue Line. It might be beneficial, however small. One day I think I will be a part of that group and ride. Tahoe remains one of my favorite places to mountain bike. Road cycling would be no different I think.
Dave, Judy, Tracy, Sean, Mark, Michelle, Roger and your crew - well done. I will ride again, and bring others the next time. Better advertising...that's the only thing I have to offer. Good event. Great reason. Fabulous people. Again, very well done.