Saturday was another appearance for me at the Tri-States 100 in Dothan, AL. I consider the ride director to be a friend, and have ridden in the event many (but not all) times since it started up 13 years ago. (http://www.tristates100.com/). I've mostly done the metric century, but have ridden the full 100 miles too, although before there were Backroads Series medals for it.(http://www.alabama-backroads-cycling.com/) The backroads series is a cool concept and has greatly helped promote these events in a state chock full of great places to pedal. (Don't tell too many people that. With AL ranked the 50th most friendly state for cycling, no one thinks we can ride down here)
I knew it was going to be a rushed affair for me. I work in GA most weeks (I've been in NC and SC this week as it happens, but will head back to my GA office before going home) and the long drive home gets me to Prattville at 7 PM. Our usual Friday night dinner date custom has become "meet me at Panera" so we grab some You Pick Twos there and enjoy some social time before arriving to the mad barking of two whacko dogs (73 and 92 lbs each) who are exploding with joy at seeing us. How high can a 92 lb dog jump? You'd be surprised. Anyway, it was after 8:00 when I put the bike rack on my car, filled water bottles, pulled out the clothes I would ride in, found the garmin, the road ID, made sure I had my gloves and helmet and sun block spray. Took the bike down and checked the air, brakes and chain (ABC quick check, anyone?). Then unpacked from the week, and sat for a few minutes in the recliner before heading to bed because
At 2:30 AM, the alarm was set to go off. I HATE that alarm so I always get up before it sounds. I woke up at 2:21 and started my coffee, and grabbed a bowl of cereal as I flashed through the rest of the get up and go routine. There was even time to read my daily Bible portion (I like and use the M'Chyne system. No commentary, just readings organized in an interesting way. (http://www.esvbible.org/devotions/one-year-tract/) before heading off to meet Candace at 3:25 by Academy Sports. We threw her bike on the rack and hit the road for the 2 1/4 hr ride to Dothan.
The ride down was fine and we arrived at the start just 15 minutes after they opened for sign in. Plenty of time meet and greet in the parking lot. Super turn out (28?) of Montgomery area riders in all. I got to meet Alton, who was wearing the same Selma50 jersey that I was, as well as say hi to long time buddies I don't often ride with anymore like Joe. (Because I am so slow). There was plenty of time for a group picture but some confusion as to where to take it. In the end we got many but not all in the picture.
I was looking forward to doing this ride. The fact that it has been two years since I've done this distance didn't matter to me. I felt good, had dropped a few pounds and had a confirmed buddy for the trip (Candace). I was surprised throughout the day how awake and energized I felt, other then a few times late in the day when the heat and the wind and climbs and the loss of salt and fluids make me just a tad knocked silly. But brief rests and some drinking fixed that.
The check in went smoothly and the ride start was mishap free. My only gripe is that the picture that I'm in of the start shows me looking down at the pedal strap I was aiming for with my left foot.
I always want that heroic master of the road look, and never get it. If I'm looking up then all that really stands out is the spare tire I'm carrying around my middle. Not bandoleer style like the good old days, Michelin man style. Maybe if I lose 10 more lbs! Btw, I'm down about the weight of a steel framed bike these days and only 1.88 mph faster on average. So there is NO reason to spring for big bucks to buy a carbon frame bike only to save what, 4 lbs maybe? Another .4 of a mph? Not really.
The ride started off with a gentle downhill and police controlled intersections which was lovely. About 2 1/2 miles out though, my trusty OLD Zefal XP4 pump dislodged from the seat tube and got wedged sideways between the seat tube and the rear wheel as well as in the chain and jammed into the big chainring. INSTANT stop. fortunately, I did not wreck and pulled off to see about it. Candace and Sarah stopped with me as did a nice local guy who I do not know. After spending a few minutes bending over it, and trying to disengage the pump while not breaking anything on the bike (so I could continue to ride) I decided to let the air out of the tire, hoping the pump would re fill it. The air did the trick and we got the pump out, but it was damaged and no longer able to work, Candace offered a CO2 unit she had. I asked how it works and she replied by shrugging her shoulders. Yeah, when you're cute like she is, plenty of help around to pump your tires for you, I'm sure. After fiddling with it, she figured it out and we sprayed some into the morning air by accident, and put the rest in my tire. This was a 33 mm 650B tire so I ended up with 20 lbs of pressure. I like to run my tires light, but not quite that light. 50 - 60 is more like it. I hoped a floor pump might be available at the rest stop ahead. We did run up on a SAG truck helping some folks, and they had a pump, so we didn't have to wait for the rest stop. It turned out fine. The tire held pressure and no other flats happened.
When we got to the rest stop, we were way behind all the metric and century riders due to about 20 minutes of mechanical fix and tire pump time. Instead of the rest stop being picked clean though, it was totally well stocked! It turns out that they had a little mix up and were late setting up so most of the riders had gone by and either waited for rest stop 2 or hit a store along the way as needed. We caught up with 3 other century riders at the rest stop, and passed them when we departed. Further on, we overtook several more. I told Candace that this would happen as some who jumped out fast started to lose steam. We (and by this I mean me, and Candace who graciously remained in hailing range) lost some steam too on the later hills, but were still able to pull in the 16 - 18 range on flats even at the end. We only slowed to the 14 is range on flats in the face of headwinds. Our overall average at the end was right at 14 too, which is dead center of the target range we had set.
We met up with and rode for a while with the Pecan City Pedalers. Richard and Sharon said to say hi to Prattville riders John and Kathy. I rode with them years ago on this event and they invited me to do their century, over in Albany GA. It's a good one. I've only ridden it the one time though. Maybe two. I forget. We also made some new friends at the rest stops including "PK" a British exchange student officer at Maxwell AFB. We ran into old friends too as we gained ground (remember we had almost a half hour penalty to start) and at least saw them leave rest stops as we got there. We rode with Chris for a while, or rather played leapfrog with him. We'd pass one another and then rest and then vice versa.
Finally, we made it in, and had our "happy to be off this saddle!" photo.
We thought the rest stop volunteers were very nice, and the Gorp, PB&J and pickle juice all went down well. So did the post ride pizza. The new route is generally good. The roads heading north from FL in west GA are very rough and hammered us, especially since that was into the headwind. In parts of GA, that's what you get, so next time, I'll run my 38mm tires instead and get real cush. Or man up and stop being such a wuss. One of the two. I loved the conversation driving down and driving back. You know, solving the world's problems and getting to know a friend better. Not a bit of sleepiness crept in. Much more energy than 2 years ago, once I had cooled off and re fluidized.
Good ride, GREAT company, and fine performance by a 31 year old bike. It's a 1984 TREK 660, 650B conversion. Campy Victory headset, brake levers (awesome levers) and front der. Campy Veloce compact double on the drive side (the original Victory 1/2 step requires more power than I have. I kept the original Victory non drive side crank arm.) and Shimano Ultegra rear der. Wheels are old Suntour hubs with Dura Ace freewheel 12- 28. Velocity Aerohead 28s wheels (rare). Dura ace bar ends. Front tire is a Rivendell Speedblend (original version) and the rear is a Grand Bois Cypres Here it is: "The Flash"with the original crank, and a Brooks B5N that I switched to a black Selle Anatomica.
Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.
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