IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Thursday, March 15, 2007

First Century of 2007

That's it, folks! My first century ride (100 miles) of 2007 is now history.

Waking up on Friday morning at 3:30am in order to finish packing, shower and get off to the airport was no problem. I was pretty excited and anxious to get out there to experience this ride. I was also a bit nervous because my past rides on hilly terrain have been challenging. Combine that with the fact that I haven't been out on a road with my bike since November and the ride feels intimidating. Since I was doing this ride with Camille and Bernie, two very strong riders, well, it could almost make me sick to my stomach. What I kept reminding myself was that this was just a friendly little ride with beautiful scenery and I was here to have fun!

The thing with flying with a bike is that it can present all sorts of obstacles. They want to look in the bike case, go through all your stuff (which they inevitably "mess up"), they charge you extra for the bike, it can take a lot of time and just generally has the potential to be a big pain in the rear! This was my first time flying Jet Blue - and by far the easiest experience I've had traveling with my bike!

We flew to Long Beach airport - I think they have exactly 7 gates and just 2 baggage carousels. Camille met us near the baggage claim with wet swimsuit in hand - she had come directly from the pool. Camille's workout schedule makes me look like a slacker! Bernie went to get the rental car while Camille and I chatted. I then went over to get our luggage, which, unfortunately was removed from the carousel because we left it too long (10 minutes??!?). One of the agents scolded me for leaving my luggage there too long. Yeah, yeah, can I just have my bag now? We drove off to Santa Barbara where we stayed at a Days Inn. This would make our drive to Solvang in the morning short and sweet. After a quick lunch, we put our bikes together and made sure we'd be able to fit everything in the van in the morning. We met up with Camille's friend, Pete, for dinner. The meal theme of this trip was definitely seafood. I had more fish tacos this trip than I've had in my life! We went to a place called the Endless Summer Bar-Cafe.

We were clearly not the only ones at this Days Inn going to the ride. As I sent out the door in the morning to check the temperature, there were other riders already packing their things into vehicles.It was quite chilly! It took a little over 30 minutes to get to Solvang.

There were already people taking off for the ride when we arrived. There were more cyclists than I've ever seen in one place! We took out rime picking up our registration materials and getting our gear together in hopes that it would warm up a little. I started this ride with a thin hat under my helmet, a thin Under Armor shirt under my short-sleeved jersey, arm warmers, toe covers and long-fingered gloves. In a sick sort of way, I wanted that first hill to come quickly so I could warm up. My fingers were pretty uncomfortable almost instantly. I would say that we were all uncomfortably cold for the first 8-10 miles. Then it seemed to warm up. Riding through the sunshine felt almost perfect. Then we came to the first round of hills. Within minutes, I heated up quickly and toyed with the idea of shedding some layers. But you don't want to do that too early because when you hit a shady downhill, it becomes cold in a hurry!

This ride was feeling incredible! I don't know if it was my new bike, Sylvia, the beautiful weather and scenery or just the fact that this ride sure as hell beats an indoor ride on a trainer, but I was having a fantastic time! Everything felt great on the new bike and though we were tearing up some brutal hills, I felt better than expected. At the very first SAG stop, the extra clothing layers came off.

About 20 miles into the ride, the wind came out of nowhere. And no matter which way we turned, it felt like we were riding straight into it. It was pretty draining. We caught on to the back of a pace line and let a guy with "Wild Thing" on his jersey lead us for what was much longer than any normal person would have pulled. But this guy seemed to enjoy leading us as he always slowed down when it seemed the group was dropping off the back of his wheel. We were riding at an effort that made me think we were going 20-22 mph, but I looked at my speedometer and we were doing a measley 12 mph! UGH! Well, being in a pace line was sure better than facing this wind alone, so as we turned the corner, I got out of the saddle to catch the wheel in front of me (Camille's). It wsa then that I heard a loud Pssssssssshhhhhhhhh and my speed quickly diminished. You guessed it, I had a flat. I yelled "Camille!" to get her to stop, but I didn't think she heard me. Bummer.

I changed the tube and had to fill it with a tiny frame pump. Yep, the same pump I stole off Sanford (Sure glad I did that!). I couldn't get the tire quite as full as I'd have liked to, but I figured it was enough to get me to the next SAG stop. I slowly got back on the road and pedaled furiously to catch up. I pulled into the stop and found Camille and Bernie quickly. They were already wondering what happened to me. It took me so long to get there, they thought I might've moved on without them! I went to the bike guys, borrowed a pump and filled the back tire up. I then rode over to fill my water bottles and... Pssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhh! WTF?!?!??!!!!!

Bernie figured I may have pinched the tube, so he changed this one for me. (Thanks, BC). BC and I had each only brought one extra tube, and we used both of those, so I went back to the bike guys to purchase 2 more tubes...just in case. After what seemed like forever, we moved on. We had just about 40 more miles to go. More wind, more hills, but the warm temperatures and spectacular sunshine made it hard to not enjoy the rest of this ride. I was so happy to be outside in nothing more than shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. However, it did seem that I couldn't drink enough. I was constantly thirsty for the remainder of the ride.

We were warned of the "killer" hill that lay ahead of us, I guess around mile 80. It was pretty slow going and all the cyclists seemed to be moving in slow motion. I put Sylvia into the easiest gear I had and tried to hold a comfortable rhythym to crank up this hill. I was up close behind a guy wearing a Clif jersey, but I wasn't making any ground on him, so I decided not to try and pass him. Unfortunately, this guy decided to shift gears, pausing just for an instant and my front tire hit his back tire. Immediately, I was off balance and tried to correct myself by veering quickly right. And, more bad luck for me, I hit another rider and went down. Not hard, we were only going about 5-6mph, but just enough to embarass myself and give all the other riders a good chuckle. Yeah, very funny.

We headed into the last 10 miles of this century and saw a police car up ahead with a biker down. Not good. As I tried to keep my eyes on the road, I heard a sound that resembled a bottle rocket. And, you betcha, flat #3. I had now become quite efficient at getting the back tire off and changing it, but the cop told me the reason the guy in front of me fell was because he flatted during this same turn. That made me extra cautious for the rest of the ride. My knuckles were turning white on the handle bars! With 3 flats already, it wouldn't have surprised me if I had a 4th and I didn't want to be speeding into a turn if that happened.

Luckily for me, the last few miles were uneventful. They actually had a big banner with a "finish line" for the cyclists to cross. There, they handed out goody bags and herded everyone into this big courtyard-like area where there was a big barbecue going on. I couldn't believe how quickly the day went, flats and crashing included! It was a great ride that I hope to be able to do again in the future!!


Anonymous said...

Chuck Norris is the original Iron Man

lgasik00 said...

Chuck Norris knows where Carmen Sandiego is.

Anonymous said...

mtn bike more and that falling thing wouldn't happen