Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dothan Tri-States Recap

Yesterday saw the 10th edition of this fund raiser which supports Children's Hospital. I think that I've only missed doing it once since 2004, my 1st full year in Alabama. The ride organizers have become friends, and most years I reconnect with folks only seen at the various organized rides around the state. This year, I shouted hellos to Karen and Debbie (organizers of the Greenville Tour For Wishes ride of a few weeks back) and the Pecan City Pedalers (Organizers of the Albany GA Nut Roll).

Some 200 riders pre registered and there are always day-of sign ups. Here's our view at the back of the starting pack.


 Our plan was to do a reasonably paced ride and we did not want to be buffeted by the race horses and wannabes sprinting at the start. The Montgomery area contingent included Robert and Bonnie doing the 25 mile loop and Curtis doing a quick pace century. Frank, Max, Rob and I did a slower century.

Max and I drove down together the night before. Our biggest hurdle was deciding where to stop for dinner. Max loves steak, I'm a plants-only kind of guy. I assured him I could find a meal anywhere he wanted to stop, except for some fast food places. We opted for a Mexican place in Troy, called "Rodeo."  We were the only two male customers in there. The place was packed with co-eds from nearby Troy University. Where was Rob (young and single) when we needed him? They had several veggie offerings and it was good.

We stayed in a Hampton Inn using Max's frequent traveler points, but left in the morning before breakfast was severed. At least they had coffee. I got up before Max and went down to drink a cup in the lobby while using my Kindle Fire to check email and news. We figured that we would eat at the ride sign in since we thought they would have biscuits etc there. Nope. Just rider packets. We each ended up chewing on one of our own bars. Fruit and Nut for me. Not sure what he had.  (Worked out okay. I just ate some food at each  rest  stop and never felt hungry.) We met the others in the parking lot and assembled under cloudy, humid skies for the ride.

We got going on time and the route was always well marked. There was a slight breeze behind us and it was generally down hill to Florida.

Rob was taking his 1st crack at a century ride. Last Saturday was his 1st metric. He's moving right along! We never could figure out what made a clanking noise on his bike. At one stop, we removed and ditched his kick stand, because we though he might be hitting it as he pedaled. Nope. It held together all the way, and he can figure it out at his leisure now.  Speaking of rest stops, they were all staffed by pleasant volunteers and had plenty of supplies. I ate apples, bananas, oat grain bars and some Honey Stingers energy gels, which I rate as superior to Gu.brand products. As the date was April 1, there were humorous touches everywhere. Port-a-Johns labeled, "Please use other door", or "Welcome to Tennessee", etc.

The route was generally very pretty. Florida was flat, Georgia had rollers and Alabama a combination of flat and rollers. Total climb was under 2,000'. Some coarse roads in Georgia were made more liveable by 650B tires running 60 PSI. I was on the Road Standard and it was fine. No padding needed in the shorts on the now broken in Brooks leather saddle. No chamois means no chamois butter needed either. I did wear a wicking pair of boxers under the Joneswares shorts.

Around 11:00, the Sun came out and it became hotter and less humid. Good thing the Coppertone was on! By 80 miles, some riders were starting to suffer from the heat. Here are two bikes (a carbon Merckx and a carbon Softride) in the back of a SAG truck that dropped out, and a steel one using a click-stand that did not :)

Rob started to have some leg issues around this same time but was determined to soldier on. I flagged down a SAG wagon for him but instead of a ride, he just wanted some water and Advils. Letting Max and Frank go on ahead, I slowed down and pulled for him, as we had a brisk headwind in addition to the rollers. Finally, at mile 88, his hamstrings wound tight and he couldn't pedal, so we pulled off and called for help. I left Rob for the SAG driver to pick up and tried to pick up my pace again. As it happened, the other two were waiting for me at last rest stop so we reconnected. Rob came in with the driver and after a rest and recharge, wanted to get back on his bike and finish the ride. "Just stubborn," he said of himself. He made it, so if he didn't quite get 100 miles, it was awfully close.  My own legs were fatiguing the last few miles, so I babied them up the hills. That worked and no cramps ever actually happened. I did drink plenty today and that was a major reason why I never felt exhausted or at the end of endurance.

We still had a decent time, my moving time was 6:45 for 102 miles, or about 15.1 avg. The post ride showers at the Civic Center felt GREAT, and the free lunch coupon at Moe's translated into a tofu, mushroom and black bean burrito, also great. They were OUT of rice!  We watched a criterium race right outside the store as we ate too. All part of the CityFest activities.

Finally, we got back in the car and drove home. It was a good day on a bike

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