Monday, March 26, 2012

Snowbird Century by Everglades Bike Club

It was not my longest ride ... but close. My longest bike ride was 66 miles. Last year. But yesterday was 62 miles and that's plenty long.

It was an event called the Snowbird Century put on by the Everglades Bicycle Club. I had heard about it last year and I really wanted to try it.

I rode with my training group including Coach Frank. As a group we registered for the Metric Century which is 62 miles.

I am decidedly the weakest cyclist in the group but they are very good about keeping me with them.

Packet Pick-up
Packet Pick up was at Mack Cycle - my home away from home lately. I feel like I'm there every day or at least once a week. I'm not actually kidding.

I had added the aerodrink gizmo the week before and this week I added the bracket to hold it correctly. It did actually make a big difference in how easy it was to get to the straw so it was a good addition. Also different from last week I had Gatorade - not water in there. So it was calories on the go.

I feel like at this point I add something new for every ride. It's kind of funny actually but maybe that's just the way biking is.

The "packet" was actually  just a wrist band. And a beer coozie. But it went super smoothly.
I forgot to buy ice. So I went old school and made some in ice cube trays. We have well water in the house so our fridge ice tastes icky to me. I know I'm silly but it works for me.

62 miles takes some planning even if it's a supported ride. Here are my 3 water bottles ready to go and the "packet" aka wrist band to show that I'm registered.

The Main Event
It started at the Homestead Air Force Base. We planned to meet at 6:45. Having never been there I looked up directions. Then of course, before the last step I was pretty sure the directions were wrong. So, I ignored them and meandered a bit. Then I re-looked them up at the side of the road and backtracked because the directions were, of course, correct. I was just impatient.

It was dark dark dark out and I couldn't even see the street signs. I found the park and was just aimlessly driving around - semi lost. I actually called Frank and said, "I'm here but haven't found my way in yet so don't leave without me." He was lost too so all was good. Eventually I saw a car with a bike on the back driving with purpose and I followed them. They led me into the park and voila there was a big Everglades Bicycle Club sign. Ha!

We all met up at the "big tree". I thought of my sister-in-law and the country directions ... turn left at the car, right at the barn except the barn isn't there anymore :-). Before the start there was a last minute tire change for a fellow cyclist. It wasn't me.
that's the big tree behind coach frank.

The start was uneventful. There were I guess about 1000 cyclists but there was no crowding or jostling or anything.
Everybody getting together for the start.
Required self-portrait at the start. Notice the arm coolers that I wear mostly to keep my pasty white arms out of the sun.

It was a beautiful morning. It's a rural route. We saw fields, fields and more fields but also a great sunrise, a hot air balloon and more fields.

The course was clear of most traffic. The maps were good. The support was great. It was fun to see all the cyclists out there. It was well organized and everybody was having a good time.

The first 24 or so miles were great. We stopped at the first rest stop for a flat tire change (perfect timing) visited the porta potty, at a banana and refilled my water. It felt fast but I was okay keeping up.

And then I got tired. Halfway was another stop. I think coach Frank wouldn't have stopped since we had stopped earlier except the course literally went through the rest stop so we stopped and ate and stuff. It is really nice to have the support stops on a long ride like this. Usually we stop at stores but this was fun to have food out and water coolers and people to chat with all doing the same thing. The food was just fruit and granola bars and pretzels but it was great.

Then the wind picked up a little bit. I was keeping up but struggling. I was behind a girl who is even more petite than me and at an intersection I actually thought I have got to find somebody bigger to be behind for some help. Luckily for me there was another flat with about 15 miles to go. I was thankful for the rest. The last 15-20 miles I only made it by drafting behind coach Frank. I also had the help of Gabe also in front helping to block the wind and Kika behind me to make sure I didn't fall behind.

The good news is that the average when we were moving was 19.5 mph or so. Total time on the bike 4:05 including stops. Yikes that's fast for me. My legs were toast when we finished.

We finished with a 15 minute shake out run. And then Mexican food for lunch. I changed out of my bike shorts at the restaurant which was possibly the greatest thing ever and I do like my bike shorts but oh boy I was happy to take them off.

On the way home I bought a bag of ice and after my shower did the ice bath routine. My young assistants were more than happy to dump the bag of ice on me. They thought that was very funny. They also tried to get into the water (too cold ... also very funny) And then I quickly drained the tub before they began tossing the remaining ice around. Little maniacs!

I also did the foam roller and stretched and today I feel fine. I did wake up at 6:30 pretty hungry.

Luckily today is a rest day :-) 

Wrap Up
So, it was a great day. I am proud of what I did.

I did stop to think that for a 70.3 you have to do almost that distance with no drafting. Yikes! And then run the 13.1 miles.  Yikes! again. So, while I might be able to knock that out by myself it would not be easy and I'm not sure I would make the cut off times if I did it today. That's my way of saying that if I miss Florida 70.3 (which I most likely will) the extra time to train will be a bonus. In other words, I've found my silver lining.

Next up Nautica Olympic. Eek. I'm pretty sure I'm ready but the swim makes me nervous. The swim always makes me nervous.

1 comment:

  1. You can do a half!

    Cut off times are pretty reasonable, basically they are designed to keep people from "I can make it" after they've had a major problem. You know, if you need to take a 30 minute break on the swim, then spend 30 minutes trying to fix a flat on the bike then you'll miss the bike cut-off. Otherwise you should be able to finish no problem in under 8 hours.

    You're going to do great this weekend! You're very well prepared, you'll have a ton of fun!