and so continues my quest for more biking mileage... This particular ride is an annual event organized by a friend of mine who is a cycling coach. I have taken a couple of sessions from him and have already seen some improvements so am pretty excited that I might be on the right path here. He also works with people out of state so if you think you have a cycling need, check out his website. He helped one client so much she qualified for Kona! ...this will not be me but I am just saying he knows cycling. :) Anyhow, on to the ride...
I actually volunteered to help with set up on Friday afternoon. I wasn't really sure what I would be doing and honestly it seemed like they were mostly done by the time I got there. They just had us do some last minute odds and ends like picking up food for the post-ride lunch and a few things from Publix for the rest stops. It was actually kind of amazing to see all that went into organizing just the rest stops alone. As a rider, you don't always think about how many hours went into the planning of it. Like they say, be sure to thank the volunteers!
Ride morning arrived and I was feeling good! The last several rides I have done were all with my friend Meredith so I wasn't 100% sure how it would be riding on my own for that long.
As luck would have it almost as soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I ran into a friend I knew through Blue Iron and we managed to stick together for most of the day. We weren't riding side but side but our speeds were similar so we would re-group at the rest stops and keep going. It was good to see a familiar face :) What I loved about the start of this ride was that they had everyone group themselves according to ride speeds. (i.e. 19 mph+, 16-18 mph, 15 mph and lower). It made the start much smoother and there was a lot less trying to weave around people at the beginning. There was still some congestion but it did seem better than other rides.
The route was really nice. I love riding in northeast GA. Rolling hills, farm land, just beautiful. I wanted to stop and take pictures because I have a thing for cows, green grass and those big rolled up hay bales but decided to just keep moving...
The rest stops were so much fun! They were having a contest for the best rest stop so each one had a theme. My personal favorite was the Wizard of Oz which we hit at mile 64.
I just rode from rest stop to rest stop. I ran into a couple of friends at each one which is part of what I love about century rides. Even if you don't know anyone, everyone is so friendly along the way. If you are training for a long distance triathlon or just want to get some biking miles in, I HIGHLY recommend finding a ride in your area and working it into your training plan. It really makes the training rides so much more fun. You don't have to hang out at every stop if you are hard core about your training rides but it is nice to know they are there to top off your water, help with emergencies, etc.
I rolled in to the parking lot and back to my car after 102 miles and was really pleased with my time. I managed to ride the course in 6:15 with some decent climbing along the route (about 2600 feet). I can tell that all the extra riding is paying off. A similar route I did in April was almost 2 mph slower than this week which is a huge improvement for me! Don't get me wrong, I am not on my way to Tour de France or anything but biking has always been my weakest leg and to see improvement on any level really is exciting.
Hope you all had a great weekend! Happy Father's Day!