Monday, October 31, 2011

First Annual Longleaf Trace "Century" Ride

Morning temperatures hovered right around 40 degrees - what to wear, what to wear!  I ended up in a jersey, shorts, my Pearl Gavia jacket and therma-fleece tights.  Toe covers with little "hothands" in them, full gloves with more "hothands", an earband and the helmet insert that came with my Giro. I looked like a cycling ninja!!  I was quite comfortable.  Unzipped the jacket partway after about 30 miles and took off the earband at the turn.

Rolled out with the lead group - Sam and Lance (who were turning off at Sumrall) led us out at a nice 23 mph speed.  Yikes.... I was worried - there is no way I can hold that kind of pace for that long.  Thank goodness they pulled off - but the fun didn't end there.  Raland and Matt kept the speed pretty darned fast!  I was able to stay with the group through the section of the ride that went off the Trace.  It was hilly but really pretty.  Lots of horses and cows to greet the morning!

Once we got back on the Trace all was good for a while then I got dropped - probably around mile 45.  When I downloaded the data from my Garmin that is where my speed dropped from 20.6 to 18.6 - boo.  My training partner Lesley's husband Phillip was on the ride too and we rode in to the turn around together - picking up Matt who'd been dropped off the lead group too.  Refueled at the turn with some horrible tasting egg water (soon to be dumped and refilled at one of the water fountains along the Trace).  Grabbed some Nutter Butter Peanut Butter cookies and took off with the lead group again for the return trip.  I'd already decided that I wasn't going to do the section on the way back that went off the Trace (my legs were cooked).   Phillip didn't roll out with us for the return - he'd started his winter lifting and hadn't been riding as consistently for the last 3 weeks and his quads were cramping. 

I got dropped again off the lead group pretty darned fast!  Probably within the first 5 miles and gathered my head around the thought of riding in the 40+ miles or so by myself.  Then - a light bulb moment!!  Hello.... turn around and go find Phillip so we can ride back together - duh!!  So that's what I did.  He wasn't far back and we rode back side by side through the swirling winds and then head wind to The Gateway at USM.   I was pretty happy with our 93 miles, especially since we rallied a little bit in the last 15 miles and held over 18. 

I found out afterwards that the Century was really 104 and the second section where the ride went off the Trace was brutal!  I think I made the right call.  One thing I would have done differently though - I took my road bike and in retrospect should have used my
tri bike.  The effeciency of the tri bike would have helped me a lot when it came to staying with the group.  Live and learn!

Burned a lot of calories which was good because Sunday a bunch of family from New Orleans were coming up to watch the Saint's Game and eat.  And boy did we eat.. and eat and eat and eat.  Food coma soon prevailed.  

Distance: 93.09 miles
Average Speed: 18.3. 
Time: 5:05:06. 
Average Heart Rate 150 - Max 175. 
Elevation gain: 2,490.