Organized rides are the way to go. Especially the MS 150. I probably gained about a pound and a half at the two catered lunches, breakfast, dinner and the dozen or so aid stations stocked with cookies, fruit, sports drinks, sno-cones, all served by hundreds and hundreds of friendly volunteers. All this training paid off (at least on the flats…we’ll see what it does on the Triple in two weeks…) because it seemed to me that all those volunteers were working much harder than I was during the two days of riding. Every thing was organized perfectly, and I had a flawless time riding from Broomfield, Colorado to Fort Collins and back.
As for the ride, my idea was to go really fast on the first 75 mile day, and if I didn’t spend all my strength, do the century the next day. In the nearly 3,500 riders it was hard to keep track of riding partners, so I pedaled off early and tried to find fast riders and grab a wheel. The much faster riders sped past me without much ceremony, but there were a few whom I could stay with. I’d lose my new partner at each rest stop, and find a new one going around the same speed pretty soon afterwards. Eventually I caught up with some speedy riders from my own Left Hand Brewing team, and we zoomed into the first day’s finish at a time I could definitely be proud of:
72.15 miles at 19.9 miles per hour average.
Several beers and a catered dinner later, we went to bed in the CSU dorms before the sun was even down. It wasn’t so much the riding that made us tired; it was being up at 4:30 in the morning to get to the start in time.
I didn’t feel like doing the 100 miles on Sunday. “Fortunately,” team Stupid, our intrepid group of three who will finally end this with an attempt of the Triple Bypass in two weeks, all peer-pressured each other into doing it. The extra 25 miles over the normal ride adds quite a few hills and ride up a lovely canyon. Volunteering to do the extra miles means only Team Stupid and a bunch of hammer-head riders go for it. We watched most of them pass us as we leisurely rode up the canyon. We eventually picked up the pace, only a little bit, and each of us felt pretty darn OK considering we’d just completed (nearly) 175 miles in two days. It’s no Tour de France accomplishment, but it doesn’t feel bad either. It wasn’t actually 175 miles, according to the GPS, but well figuratively:
95.56 miles at 15.8 miles per hour average.
All this fun, and it is fun when you’re well fed and hydrated (did I mention beer?) and a good cause! The Left Hand Team alone exceeded its goal of $40,000 raised to help fight Multiple Sclerosis. If any of this makes it so my friend (who trained almost 2000 miles this year and rode the 150 with no problem) doesn’t have to stick needles in her leg anymore, then even the weight I gained will have been well worth it.