I think I thought I could finish 75 miles on the bike, but really I didn't KNOW. After all, I had yet to even complete 50 miles in one ride so I had no idea what 75 might feel like.
Let me tell you, it does NOT feel like three marathons in a row...thank god. Not that I know what that feels like either, but I can imagine. I'd liken 75 miles on the bike to perhaps a 1/2 marathon (not done at PR speed).
I signed up for the Peach of a Century (for just $18-el cheapo if you ask me) and showed up about 730AM Sunday morning. This is a supported ride, not a race. And participants can start any time they wish between 730-9 AM ish. Options were to do the metric century (62 miles), a new 75 mile addition and the full 100 mile century. I chose the 75 because I wanted a challenge, but I didn't want to kill myself.
I decided to do the ride on my own because a) I'm a beginner and I didn't want to be slowing down any of my cyclist friends b) the man was out of town and c) I think it's more challenging to do something like this (especially your first big event in a sport) on your own.
After waiting in line for a long time for a porta pot (they only had FIVE at the start), I finally got the bike ready and adjusted and my gear on. At 830 Am when I set off, it was pretty chilly but the sun was peaking out so I figured it would warm up soon enough. Unlike running, the bod doesn't heat up immediately on its own so propper attire is key.
Because I was going to be out there for hours (and I knew it would get sunny), I opted for my longer cycling shorts, tank, jersey, lightweight cycling vest and arm warmers (that can be easily yanked off and stuffed in a back pocket). I was chilly for the entire first section, but managed. In hind sight it would have been nice to have leg warmers (that cover the knees, add some additional warth and protect your joints in cold weather), but I have yet to find a brand that works for these quadalicious short legs.
My ride was split in three sections so I thought of it as three separate 25 mile rides-whatever makes it easy for me mentally! In actuality, it was 22 miles, 33 miles, 20 miles. In between each was a rest stop where riders could grab an assortment of bagels w/ cream cheese or peanut butter, pretzels, oranges, bananas, string cheese, cookies, coffee, water, sports drink, etc.
It was perfect refueling food and I was thankful for just a bit of time off the bike. Both of my rest stops took me 25 min and 20 min respectively. And that was me being quick. I didn't even sit down. The bathroom lines took FOREVER. It was probably the worst bathroom arrangement I've seen at an athletic event. There were 4-5 bathroom stalls at each stop for 1,000 participants.
To spare you the details, overall it was a fun ride with beautiful scenery and some rolling hills. There were only a few tough hills, but they were short and manageable. By the last ten miles I was just ready to be done. The man's flight would be landing shortly, my bum was ready to be off a bike seat, and my knees were screaming. I rolled up to the finish with a few volunteers cheering, racked the bike, grabbed 1/2 an Odwalla bar, some water and put on the flip flops.
By the evening my knees were pretty sore and my right knee still can't bend past 90 degrees without some severe pain. On this rare occasion, I'm planning to WALK today during running group and attempt to do some easy stretching on the legs. Overall, I'm happy I did it and can't wait to do a full 100 with friends in tow.
Time elapsed: 5 hrs 51 min (45 min of which were spent refueling/standing in bathroom lines)
Number of people wearing crocs while riding: 1 (what the heck??)