This past weekend Dan and I rode in the Wine Country Century. I had to decided to attempt my first 100K ride. Usually I choose the 30 mile option for these rides, but I wanted to try something a little more challenging. I didn't have a lot of time for training, but I did get a couple of 40 mile rides in before the big day and did a little bit of hill training. Dan reassured me that I was prepared, but I wasn't so sure. Especially since I had heard about a big scary hill near the end of the ride.
Last year when we did this ride, it was pouring rain. So when we woke up Saturday morning and it was sunny and beautiful, it was already an improvement over last year. We grabbed some breakfast at Starbucks, loaded up our bikes, camelbaks, water bottles, gu, etc. and headed over to meet for our group photo. Dan was doing the 100 mile ride so he got started right away. I waited until about 8:00 then I got started as well.
The first half of the ride we were riding into the wind. And I forgot my allergy meds. Needless to say, every stop was spent endlessly sneezing. The first stop was after only ten miles. I grabbed a piece of banana and a quarter of a PB&J and we headed back out. The next stop was at mile 32 and it was our lunch break. They really know how to take care of the cyclists. They had made to order deli sandwiches, bananas, oranges and strawberries, chips, nuts, a variety of cookies and fig bars, even m&ms. Plus they have a drop bag system, mechanics and first aid available at each stop, they even provide sunscreen! I had a sandwich and hung out for a good 30 minutes before getting back on my bike. Oh, also I was following the recommended plan of taking a gu (gu chomps in my case) every ten miles.
After lunch we had a tailwind, which was very nice. We were going faster without having to work as hard. I enjoyed riding through the beautiful scenery, passing many wineries and vineyards. The third and final rest stop was at mile 46, just before Chalk Hill. They had "chalk hill sliders," a banana slice with a dollop of peanut butter and some m&ms. Mmm. Just what I needed before the scary hill. After we turned on Chalk Hill Rd. I kept thinking "maybe that was the hill." Which was funny, because once I was really on the hill, it was clear. I was kind of nervous about making it up and even asked if anyone ever got off their bike and walked it up the hill (some people do). But, I was able to make it all the way to the top without getting off my bike! At one point a nice guy passed me and said "you still have one more gear left." To which I replied, "I'm saving it!" The climb is a mostly 7-8% grade with a small section of 12% at the very top. The entire climb is less than a mile, but it was still the longest climb I had ever done. At the very top I let out a "Whoo!" and had a goofy grin as I sped down the other side. There were only about 9 miles left to the finish and I knew I was going to make it.
Once I made it to the finish line around 2:00 I just walked around feeling really happy. I know it sounds silly, but I was just happy. I changed clothes, then walked to get some frozen yogurt with my friend, then got a 20 minute massage while I waited for Dan to finish his 100 miles. When he was finished we had a celebratory beer, ate a yummy dinner (also provided by the organizers of the ride), and then headed home. It was a very fun way to spend a Saturday!
Just after the first rest stop on Wohler Bridge
Some grapevines along the way