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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ride Report: Ride 4 United Way (Century Ride)

Today I did the 160km Ride 4 United Way in Durham, Ontario.

The Course

It was a bit different from when I last did this ride in 2010, but still just as tough.

The hills are relentless and steep, especially when you get into the second half of the ride.  I don't mind rollers or a long gradual climb, but these are steep tough long climbs... they just killed me!  There are a whole bunch between the stop in Orono and culminating in the ride's signature climb, "Heartbreak Hill", at 100km.

One thing I wasn't that keen on was a new section they added on the east end of the course - the road surface was terrible.  Didn't care much for the headwind either, but nothing organizers can do about that!

My Ride - First 45km

This year I vowed not to push myself stupidly in the first bit only to die later.

Mostly I rode within myself for the first 1/4.  I was in a pretty big lead pack for the start, which was a lot of fun (except when wobbly triathlon girl almost took me out!).  As the pace picked up pace on a climb I got dropped, party by design - I didn`t want to go too hard early on like last time.  After riding a few kilometers by myself, I was picked up by the next group down the road, and rode with them the rest of the way to the first rest stop.

One fun thing we did was a pace line... never done that before, one of the guys pulled it all together.


After that I knew there were some tough hills where I'd get dropped, so I headed out on my own, thinking that group would eventually catch me after the hills!  It would have worked but they weren't quite as quick as I thought... but another group eventually swallowed me up.  I still ended up battling a pretty wicked headwind on my own for a lot of kilometers, though, which sucked.

Did I mention it was really hot?  Yeah.  So hot, headwind, hills, not the ideal century ride conditions!

Rolled into the rest stop at Orono feeling pretty OK, despite the headwind.


This is the 20km that broke me last time, and this time was no different.  Relentless hills, long and steep, culminating with the steepest climb on the course at 100km.  And by now the sun was just baking the course, so those slow climbs were burning the quads and overheating me big-time.  I survived it all somehow, but by the time I got over Heartbreak Hill at 100km I was cooked.


Survival mode.  Headwind.  Crappy roads for a bunch of it.  Still the odd climb, but nothing too serious - although in the shape I was in, they all felt pretty serious now!  Net downhill to the next rest stop by the lake, but I didn`t notice with the headwind.

The thing I didn`t get about the headwind - there was a group of 3 guys behind me, and I backed off so they`d catch me and we could work together... and they never caught me.  It`s like they were trying to stay away or something, very weird and irritating.  Maybe they weren`t working together, I`m not sure!


I was hoping I`d feel better after a break at the rest stop, but I really didn`t.  I tried to stick with a couple of riders early on, but they lost me... I was just cooked.  Got stopped by a train crossing.  Other than that, it was just miles, first with a tailwind, then with a headwind to the finish.  I hated that headwind by the end of it.

Gotta love those 3 bonus kilometers!


Tough ride.  I haven`t really done the miles for this kind of thing, and as the day wore on it really showed.  Headwind, heat and steep climbs really got to me.  Did a good job on nutrition, drank as much as my stomach would allow and got in a few gels too.

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