Saturday, March 31, 2012


I've often said that I should be able to roll out of bed and ride a century with no preparation. I put that theory to the test today today when I rode the Saint Louis Randonneuring 200K. I had not ridden a ride other than my commutes since a 23 mile ride in September.

The weather was perfect: the ride start in the mid 50's and ended up in the mid 70's, with not too much wind. I was riding my Lightspeed because riding my fixed gear would have been a little too ambitious. At the start of the ride I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of serious riders. I did not expect to be able to keep up with the fast group today.

The ride started in Edwardsville at 7am and the first few miles are on a bike path. After we turned onto Fruit Road, there were 10 people in the lead group. As expected, the pace was pretty hot, about 20 mph into a 5mph headwind. One rider dropped after about 7 miles, and I decided to drop off about a mile later. When I later stopped to take off my jacket, the rider who dropped before me (Bob) and another rider (Ed) caught up to me. We rode together until Ed stopped in Pocahontas (mile 24) and Bob and I continued on.

Bob is a very experienced randonneur who did PBP last year. He also does multiple 600K rides per year. He drove down from Madison Wisconsin to do this ride.

We got to the first checkpoint in Breese (mile 51) a little after 10am. I had eaten a pop-tart on the way and I ate a payday bar and drank some chocolate milk while we were there. Ed caught up to us while we were there and the three of us left together.

About 8 miles before Okawville, Ed either got faster, or Bob and I got slower, and Ed rode off ahead of us. Bob and I got to Okawville (mile 78) a little after noon. I ate a ham and cheese sandwich, some potato chips, and drank some bug juice.

As we left the checkpoint, we were headed west so we had a little bit of a tailwind. We were still making excellent time. We did not stop at a C-store in New Baden (mile 92) where I usually stop because we were both feeling pretty good. This feeling didn't last that long for me and I started to slow down. I told Bob that I wanted to stop in St. Jacob (mile 107).

When we got there I had a slice of pizza and a Pepsi. I had given up soda for Lent but I said that I could drink it on long bike rides. The ride qualified. I had wanted a soda in Okawville but I didn't drink one. Now I needed one. I felt a little bad that I was slowing Bob down. When another rider passed while we were stopped, Bob asked if he minded I he caught up to that rider. I told him to go and that maybe I would catch him on the road.

I left St. Jacob about 5 minutes after Bob did. The sugar improved my performance considerably. I must have been on the verge of bonking. I was riding by myself for a while but at about mile 114 I saw Bob and the other rider in the distance. I finally caught up to them around mile 118, after we had turned onto Fruit Road.

About mile 120 we saw a group of 5 riders coming up from behind us. I did not think they were part of the 200K because anybody moving that fast would not have been behind us. After they passed us I told Bob that I was legally required to chase them. I am like a dog; if something is running away from me I chase it.

After I caught these riders they told me they weren't part of the 200K. This was already obvious to me because we were doing about 24 mph. I stayed with them for a couple of miles until it was time for me to get back on the bike path.

I reached the the finish at 4:07. Bob and the other rider rolled in 3 minutes later. I apologized to Bob for sprinting away but he just laughed it off.

My final stats: 9:07 clock time. All other stats are based on rolling time:
Dist: 129.19 (cue sheet distance was 126.64)
Time: 7:43:30
Speed: 16.72 mph
Max speed: 27.92
Avg cadence: 76

If you're wondering why I list the foods that I ate on the ride, it's so I can read this later and figure out what I did right and what I did wrong. This time I did not eat enough while I was riding and I almost bonked.