Saturday, April 12, 2014

Race/Ride Report: 2014 Tony Serrano Century Ride

Ok, so technically speaking it isn't a "race" so I can't call it a race report, but it was a special event and a milestone, so I'm going to do it! Because it's my blog! :)

Lots of anxiety this morning. When the alarm went off, I actually said a cuss word. That's so unlike me! But I got up and got moving anyway. Because that's what I do! I got the car packed up and the bike on the back and left around 7 AM and arrived at 7:40 (stopped by the bank to get some cash).

Since I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do, I asked the guy next to me. He directed me down the alley and around the building. I got my wristband, which was the access to the goodies at the rest stops. Then while I was picking up a cue sheet, a man told me to put one of the sticker dots that matches my route (green = 62 miler) on my wristband so that when I forget which color arrows on the road to follow, I can look at my wristband. I did so, but thought to myself that I wasn't so stupid as to forget which color to follow! [Tidbit of info: I DID forget, right around mile 35! So glad for the dot at that point! LOL]

At this moment, before the ride started, I questioned my sanity!
I got everything ready to go, and headed to the start. As I was passing by on my bike, my FB friend and Tough Chik team mate Karen said hello to me! I stopped and talked to her for a bit and that really helped to settle my nerves! I saw her once on the course as she flew by me, and that was it!

I found my friend BJ, who I was planning to ride with, and met her husband. We saw our friend who is training for Ironman Chattanooga and was going to be doing the 100 miler. We also saw some Witness Through Fitness folks! I cannot wait to get my team jersey so I can represent at these events!

Everyone gathered at the start line and I've never seen so many bikes in one place in all my life!
Official start line!

I thought this was so many bikes... there were SO many more yet to come!

BJ and I waiting to start!
The ride started on time and we were all led by police escort on a mass start through the town of Monroe. That was so cool, but I was a bit (LOT) intimidated by it! I've never ridden with so many bikes so close to me. I still feel so wobbly, but I made it through!

BJ and I rode together for the whole race. She and I are pretty similar in pacing, and it made the time pass by so quickly! Before long, we were at the first rest stop. Despite the fact that I'd been told this race is famous for its rest stops/food, I was unprepared for what I saw!

Rest stop signs! :)

More rest stop signs!

Bikes everywhere!!

The entrance to Rest Stop #1
The line for the amazing homemade food!
After rest stop #1, it was hard to get the legs moving again. And my left hamstring started acting up. It was so strange because it hadn't bothered me at all before that point. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on. But I just kept pedaling! :)

Rest Stop #2 wasn't very far away! It wasn't quite as busy as the first one, probably because the field was starting to spread out by that point. I hit the porta-potty and then got some yummy goodies!


Yes, those are homemade cookies!

But there are also strawberries and bananas! Look at all this food?!?

And there was hummus, and wraps, and veggies! Everything you could possibly need to fuel your ride! And all so delicious!
We got back on our bikes and took off. And my hamstring was magically fine and never bothered me again! So strange!

This section was incredibly hilly. Not huge hills, but just hills that went on forever and ever and ever! Up until this point we had been averaging pretty close to 15mph (and my Garmin recorded a 20mph mile!!), but those hills really slowed us down.

As I was going up one of these crazy long hills, a vehicle pulled up next to me. It was the SAG van. He asked me if I was OK, and if I was doing the 62 or 100. I said I was fine and I was doing the 62, and he said that was great and that the next rest stop was less than 4 miles away. Then he moved on. I was REALLY freaked out. I was feeling fine, actually feeling sort of strong on this hill. Did I look bad? Was he going to pull me from the course? I found out later that he had stopped and checked on everyone, so that made me feel better. But in the moment it was very unnerving!

We got to the Rest Stop #3 and it was very welcome after all of the hills! This was the last rest stop for the metric century folks, and we had less than 10 miles to go!

Even fewer people... we are bringing up the rear with style and class!

Brownies! Don't you wish you had done this ride now??

Peanut butter/Granola balls. These are little drops of heaven!

10 miles to go and feeling great!

The rest of the miles were on busier roads so we rode single file and kept our concentration focused on the roads. But the time went by quickly! I was really feeling great, but I was also really ready to be done. I think I could physically do a century (100 miles) with the proper training, but I'd have to do it with a friend so I wouldn't be incredibly bored! LOL

We crossed the finish line and I put my bike up and went to get my race swag!

Water bottle, "Jersey Bin", and tee shirt! (I paid extra to get the shirt, because I had chosen the bottle/bin option!)

Lunch was provided with our registration ($35 registration, by the way... pay attention Race Directors! LOL) but it was pre-made wraps with stuff on them that I won't eat. Which is OK! But I hadn't really prepared and I was SO hungry! I ate my peanut butter sandwich that I had made for my racing fuel but didn't end up needing. That took the edge off, but I still texted my husband and told him that I was going to need some red meat as soon as I got home! :D He did so and grilled me an awesome hamburger. YUM!

So my overall reaction to my first Metric Century, the Tony Serrano Century Ride? Two Thumbs WAY, WAY up!! I had so much fun! The rest stops were amazing (granted, I don't have anything to compare it to LOL), and the course was really great (with the minor exception of those unending hills - but hills are good for us, right??).

Will I be there next year? Lord willing and the creek don't rise!

Will I do the full century next year? Hmmm..... 







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