Thursday, September 17, 2009

I did a century ride - and you should, too!

I also did the Buffalo Classic last Sunday and it was my first century. I really want to encourage anyone who has ever thought about doing a century ride to go for it! I am not a particularly strong or fast rider, so I wasn't 100% sure I would be able to ride 100 miles in a day, but I set a goal to do and it really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy for me, but I honestly think anyone who sets this as a goal can do it. Especially with the great support from fellow BSVers!

Start of the ride:

My Top 3 Reasons to Ride a Century:
1. You can say "Yeah, I've done a century" and feel cool
2. It makes most other regular training rides you do feel easy and short in comparison
3. Free food all day!!

For me, training involved doing several much shorter rides (20-30 miles) as well as 60 miles as part of the Venus de Miles ride two weeks before. I did a combination of relatively flat rides and rides with hills (I live in North Boulder, so did lots of rides up to Jamestown and up Old Stage Road). But I was probably never doing more than 2-3 rides a week. And never more than an average of about 15 miles per hour.

So, I figured the century was doable, but would probably take me about 8 hours, and it did. That included stops at the many rest stops along the way -- I started just after 7am and finished just after 3pm. As someone doing a century for the first time, it helped to just think of it as four 25-mile rides. I knew I could do a 25-mile ride and feel fine, so I just told myself it was like stringing a few of those together. And the rest stops really do make a difference - it's not like you are getting on your bike and not getting off for 100 miles/8 hours. Also, riding with so many other people and having all the rest stops helps to distract you from the fact that you are riding for so many hours - it's not like just going out and riding 100 miles all by yourself.

It was also fun to ride with other people from Blue Sky. A group of us met up at the start (all people I just met that morning, except for my husband Kevin) and rode together sporting our spiffy matching kits. It was fun to ride as part of a pack. Of course, when I say "rode together," for me that meant starting out with everyone for the first several miles, and then falling behind because a) I am not good at drafting because it makes me nervous to be so close to someone else and b) I really am pretty slow. At one point a fellow BSVer (Brad, I think) came up behind me and put a hand on my back and pushed me along for a bit to help me keep up. That was awesome, but unfortunately he wasn't ready to commit to that level of support for the remaining 90 miles. So I rode alone for most of the ride, but when I'd get to each rest stop there would be BSVers waving me in with smiles and encouraging words, which helped a lot.

The other funny thing about doing a century is that somehow you feel totally justified to eat a ton of random food all day. I'm a little embarrassed to write this all down, but here's at least some of what I ate at the various rest stops: bagel with Nutella, bagel with cheese, banana with Nutella, Ritz crackers, Wheat Thins, Oreos, a Rice Krispie treat, chocolate cake, brownie, chocolate chip cookie, and last but not least, pizza and BBQ chicken (seriously). Hmmm...maybe that is why I was so slow.... ;)

I'm really glad I did it and encourage anyone else out there who is more of a beginner rider like I am to give it a shot. You'll be glad you did!

After the ride - wearing my newly earned century hat and eating some pasta, because clearly I did not get enough calories on the ride itself:

Part of Team Blue Sky enjoying the free food (and beer) after the ride:

There was also a lot of standing in line for port-a-potties - the not so glamourous side of riding a century:

- Becca Bracy Knight


Sue L. said...

Awesome job Becca! Congrats on making it happen!....and thanks for sharing the perspective!

KBK said...

Awesome job Becca! You rock!

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