After 15 weeks of training for my first Century ride, the day has finally arrived!
|Avg Speed||18.5 mi/h|
|Avg Watts||164 W|
|Elev Gain||2,500 ft|
15 Weeks of Training
The 2016 Cap2Cap is a stepping stone as I train for the 2016 Allianz Cycling Tour in Europe. Riding my first century would be a good indicator on my preparedness for the big trip in June.
If you follow my cycling journal you will see that my longest time in the saddle up to this point has been 4 hours. I’ve done that 3 times with the longest distance being 71 miles. So even though I haven’t done a 100 mile ride, I feel ready for this.
Not a Morning Person
As my wife Emily can attest, I am not a morning person. Getting up at 4:30 AM and having to eat breakfast to fuel my body for a 6 hour ride is extremely difficult for me. But knowing that fueling your body for such a big ride is very important I was able to eat a Lenny & Larry protein cookie with a glass of Almond Milk.
The drive to Charles City County was long and quiet. With a 7:30 am start time I had to leave the house by 6am. I was able to see the sun rise on my way and was pleasantly surprised to see a cloudless day beginning. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the sun in the Richmond area. I believe we’re going to set a record for rainfall in May this year. Or at least be in the top 10 of the wettest months ever. It’s wreaking havoc on my training.
I arrived at the Cap2Cap parking area at 7AM and was parked by 7:15. The lines were already long trying to find a parking space and the fields we parked in were a bit muddy. I watched a minivan get stuck and the guys all got out and pushed the van through the mud.
The 100 Mile Ride
The ride was scheduled to begin at 7:30 but for some reason was postponed to 7:45.
And we’re off…
The First 50 Miles
I was hoping for a 15 mi/h pace when all was said and done. I didn’t want to go balls out in the beginning, and on the flip side, I didn’t want to get stuck with the casual riders.
As I started my first century I was in a group of about 50 riders. That means I got into the mix with those that were riding a faster pace than I was planning.
Knowing this and having my Garmin 520 with me, I kept my computer screen on the heart rate zone and cadence meter. I didn’t care about my speed but wanted to make sure I kept my heart rate in the “Easy” zone and my cadence at about 90 rpm. For the first 50 miles I stayed on track except for the occasional hills at which time my heart rate went into the aerobic zone for just a few minutes.
The first official pit stop along the ride was Momma Lonnie’s Country Stow. It’s great to see businesses thrive along the Capital Trail. Since at this point I was still in a group of about 30 riders and the pace was above 20mph I decided to keep riding.
When we got to Ft. Harrison Battlefield Park I decided to let the peloton go and take a bathroom break and stretch the legs. At this point I was 30 miles into the ride and feeling great.
After about a 10 minute break I was ready to ride again. I looked around and didn’t see any groups of riders heading out (I wanted to draft someone) so I left there riding solo. Within a 1/4 mile I saw a solo rider in front of me and decided to get into his draft. Once again I was averaging 20+ mph. We eventually caught a group of about 10 riders and sat comfortably in their draft for about the next 10 miles.
Someone in the group of 10 got a flat and the whole group stopped. But not me, I kept pedaling my way to the half way point.
At mile 51.4 I arrived at Willis United Methodist Church and took another much needed break. A quick trip to the bathroom indicated I was drinking enough liquids, so that was good. I ate a Cliff bar, took off my shoes and relaxed for about 10 minutes before getting back on the saddle.
The Last 50 Miles
The second half of my ride was a little tough. I found an occasional drafting partner but essentially rode the entire second half of the century alone. At times I saw no one else on the road in front or behind me. Thanks goodness the roads were clearly marked and that I had downloaded the routes onto my Garmin 520. Many people complain about the mapping capabilities of the Garmin 520, but for me it worked great!
At mile 80 was another pit stop. I took another bathroom break (still hydrating properly) and again took off my shoes and relaxed for about 10 minutes. For anyone following my training you know how I had a hard time finding a good pair of road shoes. My toes still go numb after about an hour of riding but my Bontrager RL with the Yellow insole from Superfeet are the best I could find.
Okay, let’s go; only 20 miles left. I’m riding solo again and don’t see any riders behind or in front of me. Hey look, a traffic cop. He directs me onto the Virginia Capital Trail. I now know where I am. I’m about 7 miles from the end of my first century ride!
Oh sh!t. My right leg is starting to cramp in my inner-thigh. Here’s a brilliant idea; un-clip your right foot and peddle with your left. 10 pedal strokes later and my entire left leg cramps and I have to stop on the side of the trail. Way to go genius, you’re 2 miles from finishing your first century and now you’re unable to move forward. All of the cyclists you just passed are now passing you.
I’m having all kinds of conversations going on inside my head. The loudest one saying that there is no way in hell I’m not going to finish. After taking about 6 licks of my BASE salt, I can feel my muscle begin to relax so I gingerly pedal on.
After my cramp went away the final 2 miles was a breeze. I’m getting excited now as I’m about to come to the finish line and collect my medal to the cheers of the crowds.
The Anti-Climatic Finish
I cross the finish line. No crowds. No announcements. No medal. Nothing. Lame as sh!t.
Thank god Emily was there to see me finish. She took a photo of me crossing the finish line and cheered me on! She is my rock. Always there when I need her most. She is my #1 fan and without all of her support I wouldn’t have done this century or be able to prepare for my European Tour. Thank you Emily!
Finishing my first century was not the emotional event I thought it would be. Thanks to the training provided by Endorphin Fitness I was able to finish my first century at the age of 50 in only 5 hours and 24 minutes.
The organizers of the Cap2Cap did a great job of traffic control, signage, and having some great volunteers at the rest stops. However, there are 2 areas of improvement that I would like to suggest.
- Let the riders see Richmond and Williamsburg. It’s called Cap2Cap and I never got to see Richmond or Williamsburg. It’s probably a logistic nightmare, but it is called Capital-to-Capital.
- Make the finish line a lot more exciting. It was a huge let-down when I crossed the line. Have an announcer, give out a medal, something…
And my last criticism… the BBQ or whatever you call it, was horrible. Plain horrible. I was unable to eat that mystery meat.
I don’t plan to ride the Cap2Cap in 2017 as I want to ride the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. That climb should be on every cyclist’s bucket list!
But hopefully, I will ride the Cap2Cap again in 2018 if they make a few changes.