Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tailwind Century


Based on my amazing performance at the Heartland Century, I decided that the Tailwind Century would be a great idea. You can read about it here. Based on the website it sounded like a fun ride. The ride organizers determine which way the wind is blowing. You put your bike on a truck. You get on a bus. One hundred or so miles later you get off and ride back. In this case we started in Byron, IL. Here is the cue sheet. Please take a look at it and imagine trying to decipher this while pedaling down the highway.

My preperation strategy was the same as before.


1. Ride as much as possible: The Heartland was on 10 September. The Tailwind was 1 October. I did not ride a bike more than about 10 miles during that time period. This ride as much as possible strategy doesn't really work when trying for pain free riding!

2. Get a good set of tires: Used my Gatorskin tires by Continental.

3. Drink a bunch of water: having learned from the last century drank at least 32 ounces of water in addition to Diet Coke. I might learn someday

4. Shove my jersey pockets as full of Jelly Belly Caffeine Sports Beans and Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls: This time I made it to the bike shop to purchase Jelly Belly Caffeine Sports Beans. After several hours of riding, these help with a little extra brain boost. I do not like to put Gatorade in my water bottles because green stuff eventually grows in them. I went out to the garage where I keep a big box of Salted Nut Rolls. To my dismay, it was empty. Turns out the kids like them after swim team practices. It also turns out that my body stores many of the candy bars I eat, however, that does me little good when I am a.) hungry, b.) trying to fit in spandex, and c.) spending 6+ hours on a little seat. I would also like to add that I watched a guy eat one on the bus, which goes to show that my theory about them is correct.

As you can see, my preperation was terrible, which is how I felt about 30 miles in. The ride was great. We started at Byron, Illinois which is on the Rock River and is home to this:


One of the more challenging aspects of this ride was deciding on clothing. The temperature was about 45 degrees at the start, if you figure in shady areas and wind chill, it was very cool, however, the afternoon high was 60 degrees. I wore arm and leg warmers which peel off easily (and it never really warmed up enough for those to come off) and a light hat under my helmet.

The group was hesitant to start, I guess nobody wanted to be the first to misread the cue sheet. We quickly headed down the road, 104 miles home. My main concern was getting lost, in the middle of Illinois so I found a group that was going at a comfortable pace. I stayed with them until one of them threw a chain on hill. I then began to crank hard to catch the group in front of me.

They were too fast for me and worked a paceline well. I didn't stand a chance.  I ended riding with two others that were familiar with the route.  


All was well until I left my water bottles at the SAG stop.  It just so happened that this was the section with no convenient stores for 30 miles.  I basically rode on the 8 oz mountain dew I drank at the SAG.  At the end of the day, was ready to be done.  I am not sure if we got a lot of assistance from the wind.  It certainly didn't feel like it.  


Notes for the future:
1.  Eat breakfast
2.  Drink water before the ride (don't leave bottles during the ride)
3.  Ride a little before a century.


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