My First Metric Century
Saturday I rode a metric century which is 100 km. Actually, it was 63.1 miles of flat farmland in Portage des Sioux. This town is about an hour away from home and I arrived at 8am. I registered and received a smiley face wrist band. Jen and Michelle also rode and we all started out together. The ride was the Indian Crossing Century and you could complete 100 miles. The morning segment consisted of two loops that made up the 63.1 miles and then lunch was provided in a churchís cafeteria. After lunch you could ride and complete the 100 miles. The most miles I have ever rode was 56 during the half ironman, however last weekend I rode 50. We rode out of town with Jen doing the work up front, me in the middle and Michelle in the back. Jen is incredibly strong and fit, she powered through the wind causing me to wonder if I could keep up with her. I warmed up and we settled into a pace that I would call comfortably hard, just shy of hard. After 10 miles Jen rolled back and I did some work in the front. Oh my gosh, the wind, the headwind was challenging. I worked hard but could only muster a pace a couple mph short of Jenís. There was a rest stop along the way and we were able to stop at the porta potties, refill our drinks and grab some snacks. After this Jen charged out in front and we pushed through the first loop. The wind was strong: headwind, crosswind, constant wind making noise blowing in your ears. I was happy to complete the first half and at this point Jen decided to go ahead of Michelle and I. Jen would ride the whole 100 miles and was in a hurry to finish. Michelle and I headed out again and I took the lead. It seemed windier and we decided it was probably because we didnít have Jen plowing the way for us.
Michelle and I arenít frail girls but we do both have light carbon fiber bikes and the wind decided to show us just how tough he was. We were riding along and a gust shoved us towards the side of the road, I leaned in to the wind and the suddenly I heard the horrible sound of a bike being smacked to the ground. I turned to see Michelle down with a truck stopped behind her. Apparently when that gust tossed us towards the curb her front wheel tapped my back wheel. A truck behind us was about to swerve out to pass and fortunately he wasnít real close or he might have run over Michelle. Michelle landed hard on her head, her forehead was red, she jersey ripped and her shoulder and leg were bleeding. We got off the road and the two people in the truck stopped to help us out. I called the SAG support phone number and soon help was on the way. Michelle got a ride back and she ended up with a concussion, swollen shoulder strained muscle, giant hermatoma on her hip, swollen and sprained ankle and sprained wrist; fortunately nothing was broke. Back on the course I was alone and I had a new respect for the wind. I wasnít messing with it. Even though it wasnít efficient I stayed off my aerobars when the wind shoved at me. No sir, youíre not knocking me over. My shoulders, neck and head started to hurt after a while and it was probably because of tension. I began to have doubts. Ironman Florida is supposed to be just like this flat and notorious for its windy conditions. Did I seriously think I could ride 112 miles in this crap and then run a marathon? I was tired of being in that stupid saddle and all my girl parts were sore. (The positioning of a tri bike is more aggressive and you do not sit on your butt.) I was struggling with just 63 miles who was I kidding? Did I even want to do it? Was this fun? Isnít this supposed to be a hobby, what I do for fun? I could be gardening, reading a book, cooking ok, probably not cooking. I just wanted to be done and to go eat lunch. Food, my stomach growled and I realized that after Michelleís crash I had forgotten to eat and drink for pretty many miles. So yes, lunch would be good, but thereís no lunch at ironman, thereís a freaking marathon waiting for you. Can I do that? Iíll have to talk to my coach who will probably say ďYes, Donna, itís only May, you can do it.Ē Of course thatís her job; I just have to find it within myself to believe it.
What did I learn? Obviously that wind is a tough guy and heís bigger than me. I now know which shorts I do not want to wear for several hours. I should have grabbed a photo of the three of us at the start. Next time I will bring body glide, sunscreen and chapstick. I am tired of sweet things like sportbeans, GU, Gatorade and I found a new fun snack at the rest stop itís Cheese-itz. I also learned that I have a long way to go. I have doubts and I feel somewhat overwhelmed but thatís part of it, the ironman mystique. Itís so huge, something that few people ever accomplish, and yeah I still want to be one.