There are several large cycling organizations in the area and each one holds atleast one large ride during the year. Typically, this is one of their clubs main fundraisers for the year too. This past Sunday I participated in Cleveland Touring Club's Sunday in June Ride. The ride is a tour of Geauga County and began in Burton, Ohio. The ride consisted of various distances of 27 miles, 50 miles, 64 miles, and 100 miles. I choose the 100K route (64 miles). I road this route for the first time back in 2009 (unfortunately it was rainy in 2010 and I may/may not have been nursing a hangover). It is one of the more scenic routes in Northeast Ohio. The terrain is fairly smooth for a rural area and consists of a series of rolling hills with a couple climbs. It is through the heart of Amish country, so you will need to dodge some road apples and horse buggies.
I woke up at 5 for the second day in a row this weekend and began my pre-event routine. It is definitely a lot easier preparing for a running event as you can pretty much walk out the door with everything you need. Cycling is much different as you're trying not to forget shoes, helmet, spare accessories, GU, fluids, bike, and etc. I got everything neatly packed in and made the 50 mile trek up to Burton. Now, I am not sure if the forecast changed or the weather person dropped the ball because it was supposed to be partly cloudy with temps around 70. Well, is was foggy and barely 60 degrees. It was pretty similar to the weather we had during the Cleveland Marathon. I didn't think too much about it as I thought the sun would burn off the clouds and it would warm up. So, I arrived at the event about 15 minutes prior to registration and thankfully they were letting people register early. As two years ago, the lines were quite long. I was quickly registered and headed back to get ready.
It was close to 8 now and the weather had not changed a bit. I did not have arm warmers or knee warmers. Heck, I wasn't even wearing an undershirt under my jersey. At this point I still wasn't concerned with the weather yet. My main worry was how windy it was. It was gusting pretty hard and I had my 808's on, which is a 81 millimeter deep wheel. For the non-cycling people who are reading this. The deeper the wheel, the faster you go. The draw back is. Your bike can be a handful in gusty conditions.
The route begins with mostly downhill and I took my time getting loosened up. I came to a cross street at mile 5 and I could already here sirens on the route. About a mile later there was a cyclist being loaded onto the ambulance. It didn't look like it was a car accident and it wasn't a tricky spot, so I am not sure what happened. Hopefully they are ok. I spent the next few mile establishing a nice pace between 18-20 mph. I was having fun waving at the amish as they walked to church. I came up with the bright idea that I would speak spanish to them. Not sure why, but I thought it would be funny. My favorite part was during the first real climb as I approach a horse and carriage. Surprisingly I was able to pass it on the hill. So, I know now I have atleast 1 horse power in these legs. I also can not confirm nor deny giving the horse the Lance to Ulrich "look" as I sped up the hill.
I made good time through the first two rest stops at 15 and 27. We headed north at the half way point. This is when things got miserable. I battled a headwind for about 25 miles that included several climbs. The temp seemed to plummet and my toes were absolutely freezing. I considered heading back, but forged on as I still felt strong. It was just frigid temps. Thankfully, I found myself at the last stop with about 18 or so miles to go. The rest was with a tailwind and it was a breeze getting back.
Overall, I am pretty pleased with how I road. I'm behind on my cycling form as the weather this spring had been terrible and I was concentrating on the marathon. So, it was good to get the first 100K ride out of the way. The Zipps handled the wind better than I thought and I finished the ride in 3:45 for an average speed of 16.5. I was surprised that I was only passed twice the whole time and I road easily with a couple of the teams that were there. I did get unhitched a little on the large climbs, so I will need to focus training on that.
It was a great weekend. I call it my 105 weekend as it was 5K running race on Saturday and a 100K ride on Sunday. I truly do enjoy this time of year. If you are a cyclist in the area, definitely check this ride out. It is 20 dollars to pre-register and 27 the day of. It includes 3 stops and a huge pasta dinner. I skipped the dinner as I wanted to reward myself with a steak and some peanut m+ms.
If you don't know what the "look" is....check out this video.