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Seagull Century 2013

by on October 7, 2013

Mike B & I decided two important things for this year’s Seagull Century.

  1. This would be a “training” and confidence building ride for our upcoming 600k in a week.
  2. (And this was a late decision) We would go fast whenever the conditions and riding partners warranted.  This also meant for us that we would skip the first rest stop and attempt to be quick at the others.

These two decisions resulted in a lot of fun!

We pushed off just after 7:01 am and quickly found a comfortable pace, passing most of the riders we encountered.  We held just over 18 mph steady.  Somewhere near the end of our first 5 miles, we had a group go by us that we latched on to and rode pretty consistently with a group of riders that numbered as few as 6 and as many as 25.

More than anything, our 5 mile splits tell the tale.

Miles per hour average over 5 mile “splits”

18.40
21.90
21.30
23.10
22.20
21.00
21.40
21.00
20.30
22.00
21.70
23.30
19.60
21.90
18.60
19.70
18.40
19.00
18.50
17.60

We skipped the first stop as planned.  Our group fell apart as some of those riders stopped.  We continued and found some other riders who asked that we join them.  We arrived at the mile 42 stop in under 2 hours.  We stopped briefly as the volunteers were still setting up the rest stop.  I had a first here.  I used a clean, unused portapotty!  After a very brief stop (drain and refill fluids) we climbed back on the bike and were off.  Most of the group we rode in with joined us, and again we flew down the highway.  We arrived at the 62 mile stop in Assateague in just under 3 hours.  We lingered just a little.  Fluids were topped off and I ate a couple of cookies, a banana, and two dill pickles!  Then, we were on our way again.  After working hard to hang on to a fast group that was very inconsistent, Mike and I let them go and mostly traveled together, being joined occasionally by a few riders at a time when we passed them.  We were content to slow our pace a bit, knowing full well that we both had personal record-setting paces established that would hold.  Our new goal was a sub-5 hour rolling time on our Century.  We arrived at the 83 mile rest stop at about 11:10 am.  We both had pie and ice cream and once again topped off our fluids.  A little fatigue was setting in but we were both feeling pretty strong at the same time.  Climbing back on the bikes we were a good team, taking turns in the lead and moving along nicely.

Crossing that finish line with a rolling time of 4:53:29 was amazing.  That means we had only about 30 minutes off the bike in those 100 miles, in the 3 rest stops.  It was 12:25 pm and we had also beaten the real heat of the day.  The on bike temperature was 90° F, and I’m sure that it went close to 100 a couple of hours later.  We met up with my family.  We had a free beer, courtesy of Eastern Shore Distributing (they gave away a beer to the first 100 finishers in the beer tent).  Showers came next, then lunch and a couple more recovery drinks as we watched the steady stream of riders coming in.

We never had to battle crowds at the rest stops.  There were always fewer than 40 riders at any rest stop when we were present.

We did not have many people to pass after the first 5-10 miles, and so we could relax a bit.

We did encounter inexperienced pace line riders.  That was frustrating, especially the guy I nicknamed “THE CRACKEN”.

This guy did everything wrong in a pace line.  He joined us at about mile 8.  When he decided to join us, he did so in the middle of the paceline rather than at the end as custom and safety would dictate.  He couldn’t ride a straight line if his life depended on it.  One moment he would be offset to the right of the rider ahead of him, then without warning would suddenly be 3 feet over to the left.  We had to give him extra room when following him.  When it was his turn to pull, he surged ahead by about 4 mph, held it for about half a mile, then drifted back, totally spent.  It really messed with the rhythm of the ride.  It was one of these surges that got him the nickname.  Mike had been pulling well for about 2 miles.  His pace was nice and steady and yet fast.  He pulled off the front and as Mike drifted back by me, I said to Mike that he had “released THE CRACKEN”, warning him that we had already accelerated 3 mph.  THE CRACKEN cracked very quickly and our pace settled down again to a manageable range.

Unfortunately, I don’t think THE CRACKEN ever learned much about riding in a pace line during this ride.

All in all a good day on the bike.  It was a confidence builder.  We sped around the 100 mile course, knowing that in just a week we would be riding nearly 4 times that distance.  At the end of the ride, we had a lot more ride left in our legs, despite the speed.

Next up: An amazing result to a special pledge drive for the Malaria Campaign, a week of easy rides, and the 600k, the climax of my 2013 riding.  Watch for the details!

This ride 102.3 miles
Malaria Campaign: 2,483.9 miles
Funds Pledged: $1,327.46
Contributed in support: $2,453.60

Total = $3,781.06

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