Monday, February 19, 2007

February Century

I decided that President's Day was going to be my best chance to get a century in this month. I had the day off work and the weather was predicted to be warmer and dry. The only problem with the forecast was that it was supposed to be windy. I used a similar route to the one I used last month. I'm not planning on riding this route every month but I want to get the route perfected.

I wanted to start around 7, but I had trouble getting moving in the morning. I did not start until 10. The ride started of great, there was a lot of wind but it was a crosswind for the first part of the ride. When I got to Creve Couer park, I left road to get on the multi-use paths. I had to walk my bike across several icy patches where the snow hadn't melted yet. The real problem was the Page Avenue bridge. There is a bike lane that is separated from traffic by a concrete wall and chain link fence. Unfortunately, when they plowed the bridge, a lot of snow ended up on the bike lane. Even with the warmer temperatures, the snow had not had a chance to melt. I ended up walking most of the way across the bridge.

After the crossing the Missouri, the wind was in my favor. I hit 30 mph on flat ground without even trying very hard. At one point I was cruising at 26 and I wasn't even in the drops. Of course I knew that I would have to ride into this wind later.

After crossing the Mississippi into Illinois, I was headed into the wind. It was rough. There is a mile long gravel section on the Confluence trail. I don't like it under the best of conditions, but with a 25mph head wind it was brutal. I averaged about 7mph through that section. For the 30 miles that I was dealing with the headwind I had about a 14mph rolling average.

As it got later the wind started to die down. Of course this didn't seem to happen until I turned so that I wasn't head directly into the wind. The was a new section of the route that I hadn't ridden before. It was hillier than I expected so I'll have to decide if that section makes it into the final route.

I had one slight negative on the home stretch. When I was just I had some idiot yell at me to "get on the sidewalk". The ironic thing was that this on a road that has "Share the Road" signs every 1/4 mile. I was headed downhill when this happened so I started chasing the car. There's never a stoplight around when you need one so I didn't catch them. I don't know what I would have done if I had caught up to them. By this point I was too tired to get angry so I probably would have just pointed out the signs.

One thing that I learned on this ride is that I need to find a more efficient way to eat while I am riding. I feel like I am stopping too often to eat. I am looking at getting a handlebar bag to make it easier to eat without stopping.

101 miles, 7:52 clock time, 6:38 rolling time.