My oh my, I am convinced that I covered the toughest 100 miles I will ever ride on my bike yesterday! With the air quality issue in the East Bay, the East Bay Century was moved to the Southbay. I was happy at first because that meant, no Morgan Territory and no Mt. Diablo but then I see the profile of the Southbay ride and had a second thought!
I drove into the parking lot off Alpine in the peninsula at 7:15am and saw more people than I had expected at that time. People had the option to show up between 7 and 8:30am. I took off with Nancy, Robin, Minnie, Kristie and myself. I knew that there were 5 water stops on this ride and SAG vehicles as well so already, I felt better about this week's ride than I did last week. We had an easy first hour of riding before we got to what seemed like non-stop climbing and technical descends. Don't believe me? See course profile below!
The vertical lines on the map indicate every 20 miles on the route. The top elevation line is 3,000 feet. To put things in perspective for those of you familiar with pennisula riding, the short peak at mile 50ish..that's Old La Honda! The first big peak, mile 21 ish is Mt. Eden, then Old La Honda followed by Pescadero I believe. Those three "bumps" you see..that's Stage Road and let me tell you, they were not "little bumps"..they were climbs! And then the h*ll that came at mile 80..that last BIG peak..that's Tunitas Road. 9 mile climb..8% grade..a definite WTF moment!
The most difficult part of the ride came at mile 84ish..the steepest part of the grade but Minnie and I kept moving..you know it's bad when your bike computer tells you that you're going 3 mph! At mile 87, Heidi rolls up with her SAG car. She asked me how I was doing and I think my body language (bent over my handle bars) said it all but I still had a smile on my face as strange as that sounds. Heidi offered water..I said no..she offered gatorade..my face lit up! Calories! Physically, I was spent but mentally, I wasn't going to be done until I finished the course on my bike! Minnie and I made it back to the parking lot a little after 5pm..we were on the saddle for over 8 hours! The last of the team made it back at 8:45pm..now those people are the ones who deserve a BIG round of applause because they didn't give up!
I am thankful for the company of Kristie (until she took off that superwoman!), Coach Nancy, Robin and Minnie on this very tough ride as each of them helped me keep going at one point or another. If there was a ride that caused you to have self doubt about your abilities on a bike, this was the one! But it's also during these moments that you show yourself what you're made of! Minnie was the star teammate of the day in my book because if it wasn't for her, my day would have been a heck of a lot tougher and that I can't even imagine! I thanked her for keeping my spirits up and she thanked me for letting her be like darth vader breathing down my neck all day. Ha ha. I'll try to set a speedier pace for us next time. Good times in the end!
The Southbay All Team Century was by far the hardest and most physically demanding ride I've ever experienced and while I was cursing up a storm doing it and fighting the part of me that wanted off my bike, I am glad that I finished and the entire experience goes into my mental toughness bank when I am in need of "dig deep" moments.
I woke up Sunday morning feeling like I just got hit by a bus but that's okay because I just finished a ride that is worth bragging rights for years to come! Teammate Robin Moss described that ride as being harder than her Ironman Lake Placid..I sure hope it's true! To get rid of my "hit by a truck" feeling, I went to the pool, swum for an hour and then made a visit to Kabuki Springs and dipped myself in the 55 degree bath for 10 minutes..hot tub for 10 minutes..repeat 3 times...Dr. Rabbetz would have been very proud of me for this self torture.
Oh..and what did I do last Monday?! I signed up, along with 17 other friends (yes, I have that many other crazy friends..go figure!) for Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2009! These entries sell out so quickly that if you even want the option to do it..you have to sign up one year in advance so that we did
Swim- 2 hours and 30 minutes
Bike- 9 hours and 45 minutes
Run- 1 hour and 0 minutes
Total workout summary- 13 hours and 15 minutes