Morning started out at 7:15 AM, 48 degrees and overcast, threatening rain. I had the bike all loaded up (carrying more than was needed but was part of the 'test'). I rode down to the starting point at Stan Hedwall park. I got my number and set out. Was about 7:40 when I began the ride.
I crossed over the freeway and turned on Interstate/Bishop Rd. About 10 minutes into the ride I remembered to set the stopwatch on my phone to record elapsed time. I also began to think about the 8 Gu gels in my handlebar bag. I decided that I would wait until 8:20 to consume the first one. I had eaten an egg on an English muffin, a banana and a yogurt for breakfast.
I also knew that I had some climbing to do soon.
I turned off onto Rush Rd and followed it to Middle fork. Ate the first gel packet (Espresso flavor), it tasted quite good.
Then came the big hill. I got tired on the climb but kept going. At the top was the turn onto Taushcer Rd which is a fast descent to SR 508. I turned right onto 508 and was pleased with the amount of shoulder the road had. I had never tried riding this section and wondered what kind of shoulder it would have.
Then was the turn onto SR 12 and up another extended climb. I reached the top grateful it was not bad and that I had the climbing done for quite some time. On the flats at the top I was passed by a couple with matching bikes and the man commented on how tired he was and hoped that were were not going to be climbing for a while. I figured they were doing the 46 mile route. I continued up 12 to the first food stop.
I used the restroom, added some hydrocortizone cream to saddle area. Then I topped off my water bottles, grabbed 2 boiled potatoes and a banana for my handlebar bag and set out.
Total stop time less than 5 minutes. I was feeling good now and ate the banana as I descended to Oyler Rd. Upon turning left, I munched a potato and drank some water and Gatorade. I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of electrolytes, water and food to complete this ride.
On this section of road I startled 2 bunnies and had a deer cross the road in front of me.
After a couple turns It was a long flat stretch into some slight headwind and my hamstrings were getting tight so I found a good stop and did some stretches. This helped a bunch.
I got passed again by that couple and since we were on a 100 mile only part of the route I knew that they were in for the whole thing. This suprised me based upon his previous comments.
After getting out of the wind, I made a turn south and headed downhill to be greeted by a climb. I took this real easy as I was getting a little tired and was only 27 miles into the ride. Then I got a rest on a long fast downhill and the road headed back west. On this part things started to seem easy again and I poured the speed on, doing about 16.5 mph. Upon passing a roadside memorial, I decided to stop and take a picture. This is when I noticed a rider approaching from behind. I was determined to hold him off for as long as possible.
The route began a series of slight descents and fast descents and after about 5 miles he passed me. I kept with him for another 5 miles.
The route sheet commented on more climbing so I cooled it off since I was feeling a bit spent. Additionally, my bladder was full and making riding not so fun. I was also getting a bit tired and so I gulped another gel packet. At this point I was riding along the Cowlitz river and this section was very beautiful.
After a lot of up and down, I even pushed my bike a little on one, I made it out to open plains again.
I met up with a strong wind that was blowing North. Since I was heading west this was a cross wind for me. I knew that in a dozen miles or less we would be heading North and if the wind held, this would be nice to have pushing me along.
As I was thinking about this and hoping for a restroom soon, I had about 4 more miles to go, I saw an antique glass insulator sitting in the ditch. I decided to take it home. The thing was heavy, about 4 lbs. I chuckled as I put it in my pack. Now the bike weighed more than ever.
Upon finally arriving at the 47 mile food stop at the Cowlitz mission, I was surprised at the grandeur of the church, but first thing was to find a restroom. I asked where and after a bit of difficulty, used it and changed my padded shorts, added some more hydrocortizone and took off my sleeved shirt.
Then I got a couple more taters, half a banana and topped off my water bottles again.
I felt a bit stronger as I set out and was heading West towards Vader.
Once I got to Vader my bottom was feeling the seat quite a bit and my wrists/arms were a bit. My back felt stiff as well. It was nice to now have a tailwind and flat smooth roads with the addition of nice scenery. I picked up the pace again, at a GU packet and worked to put more miles behind me. The next food stop was at mile 73 and I still had 20 miles to make it there.
I kept changing seat position and hand position trying to get comfortable.
Just before Winlock I was passed by a group of about 6 riders and followed them into Winlock. They stopped at a mini-mart so I decided to use them to time a break for me.
I stopped too and stretched and set out just after them.
My legs were feeling tired and my seat was feeling a bit chafed. When I was almost to the 3rd food stop, I saw the riding couple again, but this time they were heading off in the wrong direction. They must have had enough and were bailing.
When I made it to the 3rd food stop at Evaline School, I was grateful to have some watermelon and a cookie. Then I changed shorts one more time and added a bit more hydrocortizone cream, I left the fool leg tights off. I also was getting a spot on my toe that was going to develop a blister if I did not attend to it. The temperate was at 60 degrees now so I took off my Stormsox and my under socks and changed to a dry wool pair. This made a nice change in comfort.
I knew that I had less than 30 miles to go and had a long downhill and flat section just ahead.
I called Alx to tell her I was feeling/doing good and set out.
The ride on Pleasant Valley was fast and I was feeling good. By the time I got to Adna, I was weary but only had 5 mile to the next food stop and 18 to finish. This section was hilly so I ate a GU packet and stopped half way up the big hills to rest. I rolled into the 4 stop at Claquato Church and found I was the last rider and they were closing up shop. I took some pics, had a banana and a potato and put on some Chamois Butt'r. This really made a difference in my saddle area. My arms were sore especially right behind my elbows and my legs were sore and tired. I knew the rest of the route and it was mostly easy going. The question was if the wind would be there when I got to Airport Way, then I would have to ride some headwind and I did not want to lower my average speed which was at 13.3 now.
When I got to Airport Way the air was calm and I was thinking how the weather was doing my bidding when it started to rain and the wind kicked up in my face. So much for getting cocky.
I tried to pour it on for the last 5 miles and did pretty good. I was thinking how mentally I felt great and if my elbows and legs were not sore I could have gone for a double metric century no problem.
I rode to the finish with a smile. The ride organizers told me I was done so I picked up my bike, turned it around and started to ride home. The supporters thought that was very funny. The ride to the house turned into a downpour and I arrived home soaked and happy.
- I felt that I was well prepared for this ride.
- I carried too much weight
- My equipment worked well
- I enjoy casual rides much better than organized rides.
- I look forward to my next century and beyond