We decided to participate in the “Gran Fondo” – a 100 mile century bike ride course. Now, I suppose when I decided to tackle my first bike ride longer than 20 miles, I probably should’ve a) chosen a shorter distance, or b) chosen a flat course. Of course, that’s not necessarily my style – I love a challenge. Though I got a little nervous when I read the course description as follows:
“Some said the 2011 route wasn’t tough enough. Some said it wasn’t epic enough. Some said we didn’t climb enough. That has all changed for 2012. The 100 mile Gran Fondo is unique to the North Shore Tour de Cure and this year we will up the ante as the Gran Fondo heads north to the big hills of Southern New Hampshire for a truly epic event. Bring your teammates and the climbing gears!”
And then got even more nervous when I saw this course route…
- Mile 0.3: Already way outpaced by everyone else, haha! I knew I’d be slow, but thought there might be some other people who were going slow too.
- Mile 16: First rest stop. Felt great and kept a much quicker pace the first 16 miles than I thought I would.
- Miles 24-37: Or as I call them, HELL. As you can see from the course route I posted earlier, these were some insane hills. I am awful at climbing hills. This led to me going all of 3.8 miles per hour up some of them and hoping I wouldn’t start rolling backwards.
- Mile 50: Almost started to cry. Saw another hill after I thought we were all done.
- Miles 65-75: Back and shoulders started to get sore, but the terrain leveled out and the riding felt much easier on my legs.
- Mile 78: At the rest stop before the “bail out” option where you could ride down a side street and cut your route to 79 miles. We were going slow, and I knew we wouldn’t make the cut off time, but the SAG wagon guys told us that we were keeping good pace and we should keep going. So we decided to keep on the 100 mile route!
- Mile 83: Hurt my knee. Don’t know if I did something specifically at that point or if it just caught up to me from all the earlier climbing, but at this point every downward stroke on the bike just created shooting pain to my knee. The next few miles were very slow because of this.
- Mile 90: Last rest stop. Support vehicles were being cut off, so we were given the option of continuing on unsupported or take the ride back. Because of my knee, Terry urged me to take the ride. While I normally would’ve pushed through a little pain, this was bad enough that I decided I should take the ride because I didn’t want to end up getting stranded miles from the finish! Terry went on to finish unsupported (which as it turns out, after we made this decision, the guy from the other SAG wagon decided he wanted Terry to have support and feel comfortable the whole way so he volunteered more of his time that day to follow him into the finish – what an awesome guy!).
- Mile 100: Terry finishes!