|Trace The Mitten|
This is the night before and I am trying to wind down and get to bed. The alarm goes off at 5 am.
Drizzle and 65° now. My weather app predicts light rain and drizzle through the day with temps in the 70s.
It is always hard to relax the night before a ride event. My bike is loaded on the car and my gear is loaded.
I am a little uncertain about being able to complete the course in the time limit. I feel more confident about completing the course, because I just keep on plugging.
I had no trouble getting up. All things were packed. I peeked out to see the wet road, but there was no rain now.
A breakfast of oatmeal with almonds and walnuts, banana, tomato juice and milk is a good way to fuel my ride.
I drove north in the dark for a ride of 45 minutes to Memphis,MI. All the way I am wondering if I will need a headlight for the start of the ride. I arrived just before 7 am. Many riders are already getting bikes out, checking in and finding friends. The two port a johns have lines already.
The check in area was open and preregistration moved quickly. I grab a bagel and unload bike. Rain sprinkles come down and I grab the rain jacket and cover my seat.
I am parked next to friends and we visit while we get ready. I decide to go without the coat. I keep the arm warmers on to ward off the 60° morn.
The road traffic was very light, surface smooth and the sun added gradual warmth.
At the first rest stop, 20 miles, I removed the arm warmers. This stop was in Avoca trailhead. We had fruit, sandwich making elements, water, Gatorade, granola bars...quite a wide variety. A single seat pit toilet meant that we had to wait our turn and the rest time took longer than O wanted.
I was riding faster than my normal pace, but I felt strong and confident that I was not going too fast.
At this point the 60 and 100 mile riders were on the same route for the first 37 miles. I could not afford being fooled by the pave of those going 40 miles less. I knew the pace that I could sustain.
As I approached the turn for the 60 mile riders, I am saying in my head "This is my choice...I can make it 100 miles.... I will make 100 miles...I am staying on my pace,... I feel good...I am going on....I am going on...I am going on."
Nineteen miles to the next rest stop. I keep plugging away. At the stretch approaching this rest stop I kept some other riders in sight. The day was noon and the heat was 80 and rising. I took advantage of the big jugs to fill my camelbak. Their treats really were what we needed. A port a john were available. These roads do not provide a good restroom stop.
This next stretch of the road was a series of hills. I realize that I need to work these right or I will be in trouble. I was past 58 miles. I had been on the road approaching 6 hours. This road did not have a good shoulder and traffic was buzzing by at 60+ mph. I really needed to keep an eye on the approaching traffic through my mirror mounted on my glasses and the one on the left brake hood.
On the down hills I would open up the speed. On the up hill I geared down to keep the cadence up. This process is not automatic for me. I really concentrate to make this work. After about another hour if these hills I start to feel cramps in my legs. I get off the bike and walk the last bit of the hill. The walking helped work out the cramp . I also felt more safe walking in the shoulder grass to the top of the hill. I notice that time, hills, and heat are slowing me down. The water stop at mile 70 was gone! That is why I carry a camelbak of 100 oz. The replenishing drinks were not appealing me. The fruit and nut snacks were more appealing.
The turn at the absent water station brought more level roads. I appreciated this.
The focus a on completing this century was great , but throughout I kept saying look around while you ride , don't just focus on the pavement.
This commentary so far does not show that. This ride was pretty for me. There area was a farm land. The yawn were small and had the basics to keep going. The weather has been good for the crops. There were fields of harvested wheat bales. The corn was green the beans were thick. My untrained eye predicts a good harvest in the next month. I saw some beautiful farm and homesteads.
I rode into Capac at mile 86 figuring that the last rest area is going to be closed. What an uplifting feeling to see that four tables were still spread with the goodies and the volunteer support who had a long day were not looking at their watches. Thanks to the many volunteers who make it this event work.
I also want to thank those who did the SAG vehicles. They kept checking on me. I felt that they knew that I was out there. I have not always felt that on a long ride.
This last rest stop was at a museum. I wish that I had more time to explore it. I will need to come back. I had about 20 more miles to get with my car.
After doing anything for 9 hours you are ready for it to be over, even when it is something you enjoy. I am thinking if the SAG vehicle comes by and says hop in, I will say sure. They came by and I wanted to keep going.
I made it! The map said 101.7 miles, my cycle computer 104 and Strava said 108 miles. I had 1 other car in the parking lot. I also kept my pace for the day of covering 100 miles. What a sense of accomplishment