Ride Report: 1st Century -- 2010 Holland Hundred

Wow...that was 7 hours of pedaling that felt simultaneously brief and never-ending. Similar in many ways to those 4 hour 20 milers while preparing for marathons.

We woke at 4am to take showers (yeah, showers are kinda silly before engaging in an athletic event, but they are also an effective "wake-up"), have breakfast (with COFFEE!!!!) and make the drive to the ride location an hour away--with a stop on the way to drop Dane off with family who were watching him while we rode.

The day started warm and humid. It would end hot and humid. The sorts of conditions that are really not conducive to running for more than an hour, but are manageable on a bike with ample air-flow helping one's sweat to evaporate and do its job of cooling.

The first stop on the ride was only 10 miles or so in...and offered only water. The second stop was closer to 30 miles in, IIRC. This stop had pancakes, fruit, water, coffee, and OJ. The pancakes were yummy, but I really wished for some bacon. Yeah...I <3 bacon!

Before hitting the road again DH snapped a quick shot of Cathy and I. Cathy is a HARDCORE rider (road and mountain) who has accomplished so much in her first year-and-a-half of riding. She and DH could ride circles around me, but they stuck with me for 100 miles.

The next stop was around the 45 mile mark. By this point the day was really starting to get hot. This stop was at a winery...no wine for riders, though. But they had fruit and granola.

We caught-up with some friends (from the JDRF ride team) who were doing a shorter route (I believe they rode closer to 70 miles by day's end), then rode with them a while further from that point.

At each stop was a stack of drawing paper that people could leave notes on for other riders. Our friend Tom is a tall guy with a tall heart. He left me that message.

The miles after the winery stop were the hardest of the ride. 30 miles without a break-point. 30 miles with some really crappy roads (some freshly chip-sealed, some with mine-fields of potholes). 30 hot, sweaty miles. I really valued the Endurolytes capsules that I had packed in my small backpack that I like for long rides (sunscreen is not an option). I only had one very brief moment where I felt a bit of that chilled sensation that is a symptom of overheating. I guzzled water and popped 2-3 Endurolytes at every stop. I also applied sunblock religiously (sunblock is not optional for pasty people, particularly when one of them has already survived melanoma), though my face still got slightly burned. And my lips got burned. Today they are peeling...ick.

Prior to leaving the winery stop a friend snapped this cutesy pic of hubby and I. Yes, we are just as dorky as we look...perhaps moreso.

The 74 mile rest stop was so welcome, though by the time we arrived there was little food left. The only criticism I have of the day was that there wasn't enough protein. At the last stop they were making small soft tortilla/pinwheel sandwiches, but either earlier riders inhaled most of them or they underestimated the amount needed.

I reapplied chamois "lube" at this point, too, though I don't think I really needed to (and I didn't actually have to pee...I hardly peed until the day after the ride--it took me 24 hours to feel rehydrated. Even beer didn't sound good to me until the following evening). I am a huge fan of this chamois butter I found, That Butt Stuff. It works better for me than anything else I have tried.

Prior to leaving the 74 mile stop I made this face. But, really...the last 25+ miles were not nearly as difficult as the previous 25 were.

Around 85 miles we had one last rest stop. I ate a few Oreo cookies, refilled one of my bottles with Gatorade, popped a couple more Endurolytes, and we were off. By this point I was really starting to feel the heat and the distance and wanted nothing more than to be back at the parking lot where we started...and craving a shower.

Going up a sort of long, very deceptively gradual incline a nice guy in a WI Badgers jersey passed me straggling behind my ride partners...asking if I was OK. I reassured him that I was doing OK, just hot and tired and ready to be done. Then I asked him if he was from WI, as I, too, am a cheesehead.

He said that yes, he was also from WI. I asked where he was from and chuckled when he said "Sturgeon Bay." No way, I said. I graduated from Gibraltar (our HSs have a long-standing rivalry). He then asked me if I knew Claire S. Uh...yeah, we are almost related and I used to babysit for her!!! His wife is a first-cousin of one of my cousins. They had just moved to this area 2 weeks ago.

The truly crazy part of the whole thing is that a JDRF friend of ours had told us that there was a guy who had recently moved here from WI and helped paint the road markers for the ride. He also helped direct parking the morning of the ride and left an hour after we did. Out of nearly 2k riders it was so crazy small-world to run into this very person, AND to have such a personal connection to this guy.

And he was asking how riders were doing because he is a doctor (anesthesiologist). Tanner and Claire just moved here when he found a job. Had he not struck up conversation I likely wouldn't have even noticed him...by that late in the ride I was pretty tunnel-visioned.

I finished the ride still feeling reasonably good and was able to maintain ~15mph pace for the duration of the ride (I think 16 would have been comfortable had it been a cooler, less humid day). My butt didn't hate me nearly as much as I would have expected, nor any other part of me. But I was ready for a shower!

I did get a shower (the ride started and ended at one of the buildings belonging to the company DH works for), but the water heaters are turned-off for the weekend to save money. So it was a cold shower...shockingly so. It still felt SO good to get that loose layer of crud and sweat off. Though I still had to take a real shower when we arrived home. And I had to SCRUB to get the lower layers of sunblock and road grime off. Amazing how stubborn that spray sport sunblock is. But it works really well and sure beats the pain and damage wreaked by the sun's rays.

I'm really looking forward to my next century ride. People often compare a century ride to a marathon, but I find the marathon to be MUCH more difficult. The century ride didn't involve cramping. Perhaps a century RACE would be a different story, but 100 miles on a bike sure is more pleasant than 26.2 miles on-foot, at least it is in this girl's experience.

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