|2009 Root 66 Race Series Final Overall Standings
||Cat 2 Women 12-18
||Cat 2 Women 35+
||Cat 2 Women 35+
||Cat 1 Women 35+
||Cat 1 Men 50+
I completed my first century this weekend. It was ‘The Flattest Century of the East’ starting at UMASS in Dartmount, MA. I think Doug was also going to be there but I couldn’t find him in the mass of 1900 riders.
The day started with soaked roads from heavy rain overnight. Luckily the rain stopped before the start and we eventually saw the sun later in the ride. It was a perfect day for a long ride, not too cold, hot, or wet.
It was a rough start for some, I passed 12 punctures before we hit the first rest stop at 30 miles. Somewhere near mile 65 I stopped to help a guy that looked a little confused. I asked if he needed help and he said he never changed the back tire before. By the time I swung around he said ‘well actually I’ve never changed either of them before’. I think it was his niece who was a pro rider and gave him a top of the line Giant frame that he had built up and just recently started riding. With so many riders it was great to do some people and bike watching. It was quite a mix of bike manufactures and types. Everything from high-end TT bikes to suspension mountain bikes.
The route was beautiful and included some great shoreline views. The roads consisted of mostly good pavement and very little traffic. The route had full police support to help us whip though all the intersections.
I did see someone in a Nerac kit, didn’t get a name but he said he worked at Nerac a few years ago. Also ran into the LG rep that we get our Nerac Earth kit though. He was riding with about a dozen TCC jerseys. I rode with them for a while and make sure they knew about the Ashford ride. TCC has an event to Cooperstown for that weekend. But it seems like those who decide to skip the trip will join us, pending a weather check.
So you’re asking how flat is the flattest century of the east? Depending on the software used GPS reports total climbing of 3100-3700 feet consisting of a lot of small rollers. Highest single climb was only 200 feet and that was spread over 3 miles. Highest elevation was 250 feet. I would consider that pretty flat for New England.
My objectives were to complete my first 100 mile ride and to average 18 mph. I pushed pretty hard for a while, mostly riding solo. I joined 3 other guys at the start but our abilities varied too much to keep an efficient pace line going. At mile 85, which was 15 miles beyond my longest previous ride, I was averaging 19 mph, could I keep it up? I quickly realized that even these minor climbs where feeling bigger and bigger and the legs started getting heavy. I ended with a respectable 18.6 mph average for a total ride time of 05:23. I was very happy with that. I’ll definitely do this event again.
Now to decide if I want to take on the Ashford century or stick with the metric. See how the recovery and my travel schedule goes.
Here’s the details of the ride.
Riders: Tom, Steve, John Sattar, Jill
I knew it was going to be a great ride before we even started pedaling. First, Sunday rides have been few and far between for me this year and this one was unexpectedly gifted to me late in the week. Also after several days of rain the morning started off dry and comfortable with hints of sun. Having a smallish group for this ride was also a good sign. In the past 4 seems to be the magic number to finish this ride in a reasonable time frame. We don’t ride this route all that often, mostly because it’s kind of a hike to get there (it takes almost an hour for me), and also it tends to turn into a sufferfest if there are a lot of riders which leads to a lot of mechanicals and stops, which leads to a sometimes 7 hour trek. Today we finished in 4 hours, 21 minutes. That may be a record! Immediately we realized that it would be more of a skill ride than a hammer ride, the conditions were pretty slick after the last few days of rain and it seemed like every rock and root was coated with slime. Optimistically the crew predicted that it would be drier at Penwood because it was more open. Yeah, we were wrong. But it didn’t matter, it was a well matched group and we were all on the same page. Keep pedaling, few stops, have fun, and keep the chatter running. Out at the chimney we stopped for pretty much the first time for a snack and although we took the traditional way to the chimney we decided to climb the steep double track to the fire road back because last time we were out there and took the river bed we discovered the trails had changed dramatically and ended up slogging through the woods until we got to the fire road. Until the climb back out of Penwood I don’t think any of us were really feeling the mileage so far. At the turnaround point we were at about 16 miles. That climb got me though, I was dragging and just watched the other 3 disappear ahead of me. We regrouped in the Penwood parking lot and it took at least 10 minutes for a break in the traffic to cross 185. Up the paved road this time and down the power lines to the fire road. Steve and John raced back to 44 but Tom and I headed over to the water fountain so he could fill up his water bottles. Back over at West Hartford we picked up the pace again, most of the trails were drying up and we finished the rest of the loop pretty quickly. It’s been over a year since I’ve ridden this loop and the erosion was very noticeable, especially over at Reservoir #6 in the stretch next to the metal fencing. We used to be able to ride most of that section and Sunday I was nervous just walking it, there was barely enough room for us to walk or carry our bikes before the approach to the two drop offs. The trail after that section was also rerouted to run high on the hill vs. along the stream, very nice improvement. Thanks for riding guys, great group and a great ride. -Jill