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A beautiful day riding 100+ km in 3:15

2010 May 21
by Eric R.

The wait was worth it.  Prepared Saturday night making sure I didn’t forget a thing. Bike, check! helmet, check! B vitamin liquid energy drink, check! Last minute bike charge with charger connected through window, check! GPS, check! Went to bed like a kid the night before Christmas.  5:30 am I was up before alarm clock started buzzing. Had my three shots of espresso and almost started driving still connected with the charger thru the rear window…..

Sunday morning Atlanta traffic was a little heavy and when the sign flashed 3 lanes closed a few miles ahead I decided to take the long route around downtown via I-285 And you would have thought that at 6:00 am on a Sunday traffic should be nil? Not in my hometown!

Made it to the starting point with a few minutes to spare before the American century ride left. At the moment I decided against going for this 100 mile ride since it has been 5 weeks since my last ride (Atlanta -Athens on April 10-11).  As I age , I have become a little more cautious on how I decide to stress my body. Having re-installed the battery on Friday night and not knowing the current performance characteristics of the internal battery, I decided against experimenting with a probably very painful ride that could have potentially extended over 6 hours on the saddle.  That was a very wise move!

Having a few extra minutes before leaving for the 62 mile ride, I lingered around the Waffle House tent for a simple breakfast of a sausage biscuit and took the preventive measure of taping my exposed fingers (specially the right thumb – or throttle finger).  Left about 7:50 am ( a few minutes before the official start, since some groups already started the ride and there was little organization at the start line). Quite a different animal from the MS150 ride where Atlanta was full of banners, balloons and police escort on Harley’s to cover the riders while going through downtown.

The ride started going through the town of Tyrone, Georgia and the route was well marked until I got through Main St. Noting that my Garmin was not so trustworthy on my previous ride, I decided to check if there were signals of the route and went straight for a couple of blocks until it made no sense. Happily I found a very strange landmark, the front car of a very futuristic looking Disney’s monorail poking at me from the parking lot of a General store. I mentally noted that I should take a picture of it since it was so odd but decided against stopping (while wearing my clip on MTB shoes – sometime stopping is not an option).  I therefore went back to the confusing corner and continued my ride through Georgia’s countryside. The first 20+ miles were uneventful. Every 10 miles we had a pit stop for bio breaks and hydration. At around 26 miles I finally started arriving first to the pit stops. Note, that I’ve been riding at a normal speed of about 18-26 mph aerobically exercising without exertion. Noting that I was riding first – I began riding with the objective of arriving first for my distance group at the finish line. This is where my internal battery decided to quit on me. I quickly switched to the external battery and continued with my ride with no worries since I’ve ridden 50 miles with only the external battery and I only had 36 miles to go.

Then things started to get interesting.  I found the most beautiful  lavender field extending for what it seemed like a couple of miles and a church steeple that made the scene very movie-like. Now I could imagine rolling on my bike through a European campagne scene.  You can find the location of this Georgia euro farm scene here.

Next was the cop. When I turned on the next street, there was a cop on his car with a radar gun. Speed limit was 30 mph and I was going downhill!!!  The thought of getting a speeding ticket on my Optibike started floating around my mind… should I try hitting 40 mph as I passed the cop?  I had to work really hard to not go over 29.83 mph because I didn’t wanted to spend precious minutes getting a speeding ticket.  But it was a noteworthy concept that I latter send on a email to see if Opti was interested in paying a speeding ticket while riding an Opti bike. I’d love to see the print ad with the picture of the extremely big guy (me) as the speeder doing 45 on a 30 mph zone…… I think Craig got the message across on the Opti web site – but with a skinny guy.

As I got closer to the finish line – I started seeing many short distance riders that where doing the 32 mile, 16 mile and 8 mile rides. The look on their eyes was amazingly incredulous as I zipped by them going 25+ mph. I felt like Mario Andretti. I even skipped the last pit stop that was sponsored by my home town bike shop (Suwanee Creek Bicycles).   I was cranking up to 30 mph with a 160+ heart rate on my way to the finish line since I had battery juice to spare.  Riding on fast mode with a moderately high cadence was exhilarating.  When I arrived I went straight to the massage tent area and then my thighs collapsed in pain. I had to be extricated from my bike and hopped like a toad to the massage table.  Amazing what 10 minutes with ice on my thighs did to eliminate the throbbing pain due to a build up of lactic acid. I was able to get on my feet without any pain. Having massage therapist on hand is the greatest perk of riding on a organized bike ride.

62+ miles this past Sunday. 4 lbs to the ether.

1,606 miles still to go in 2010…

Here is the Garmin detailed ride link.

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