Monday, September 26, 2011

Heartland Century


It has been a couple of weeks (ok more like a month) since the Heartland Century. It was a nice 107 mile ride (supposed to be 104 but I got lost) through Illinois farmland. The county roads are amazing, paved, clean, and most important minimal traffic with polite drivers. The high was about 80 degrees and the morning started with a nice cool mist. For my first century I performed well beyond my expectations and the personal goal I set (8 hours). As for my preparation:

1. Ride as much as possible: I rode as much as possible (which was not nearly enough).

2. Get a good set of tires: I did not flat (not sure if that had to do with a good set of tires or the reasonably clean roads).

3. Drink a bunch of water: I did a lousy job of hydrating for the several days before the ride. It turns out that Diet Coke is not a water substitute (shocking I know).

4. Shove my jersey pockets as full of Jelly Belly Caffeine Sports Beans and Cliff Bars as possible: I never made it to the bike shop to purchase Jelly Belly Caffeine Sports Beans. Recent studies show that caffeine is a great for enhancing athletic performance, I was mainly trying to stay off withdrawal due to lack of Diet Coke. Fortunately the "continental breakfast" consisted of energy bars and gels so I used the Caffienated Clif Shot gels (nasty) at the sign in table. I ate about 3 or so Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls (240 calories apiece) during the ride and a standard Clif bar (240 calories).

As for getting lost I would like to point out that I am not from the area and this part of Illinois is like a giant maize maze. I am anti-GPS (for use as other than a speedometer and odometer (mine is basic no road maps, just data). The cue sheet that was handed out was long and without a map, missing a turn or missing a mileage mark translates to lost. To make it easier, the Quad Cities Bike Club paints a bright orange heart on the pavement with an arrow. But I missed a turn in the small town of Erie, Illinois where I took a few mile detour around the down town area.

For this ride I chose the Basso aka "the Mistress." This was a comfortable choice, however, it is high geared and is limited to 16 gears. I bought some new Continental Gatorskin tires in a 25c for the durability. Aside from the gearing and limited choice of shifting, it is a great bike and for being 16 years old it does an amazing job.


Below are some super high quality pics of my ride stats. If you need to, turn your monitor sideways to view the pictures.

This is clearly a picture of the trip odometer for the ride.

Moving Time was 6 hours 31 minutes. This did not calculate the time I spent eating at the mid point SAG. Average speed is 16.5 MPH

As you can see, the map feature is fairly detail free, there are no road map features. If someone would like to get me a Garmin Edge 800 for a gift I could probably upload really cool ride stats and profiles instead of using a camera. I have a feeling that for $500 I will continue with my camera and old GPS.

I would like to add that while rides like this are not about racing, my family blood does not permit me to participate in anything without it becoming some sort of competition in the end. This quality is both a burden and a blessing which ultimately allows a person like me to survive in a world of intelligent and talented people. I found myself racing some people who started before me, did not get lost, and did not sit and eat/drink as long as I did. At one point I found myself working hard to catch a man that was about 1/4 mile ahead of me. After several miles of relentless pursuit I caught the man. As I overtook him I gave a friendly greeting of the day. To my surprise, it was a woman. To be clear, I was not surprised a woman was "beating" me in a "race," that has happened plenty in life. She just looked like a man!

I quickly shook that off and began my pursuit of another "man," as I got closer I was assured of this based on the fact that facial hair was present. What shocked me about this guy was that he looked as though he would be better suited for bowling or low endurance activities such as watching NASCAR. To my surprise, he could pedal.

I guess that is what I like about bicycling, anyone can do it, regardless of age, gender, or shape. Though it does help to be young, fit, and prepared.

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