I decided to challenge myself this past Saturday. One of my favorite rides of the year is the Ice Cream Odyssey in Medina Ohio and my new favorite road race A Shot in the Dark happened to fall on the same day. A bike ride in the morning and a road race at night? Sure, I can ride a metric century then spend the afternoon resting before a 4 mile road race. Read on to see how it all went.
Falling asleep on a Friday evening when it is still light out does not do much for one's social life, but I needed to get some major rest before this day. I was able to fall asleep fairly easily as I did a 25 mile ride after work to aid my recovery for Saturday's double header. I was lucky and ended up with a good night's rest and arose early to enjoy some coffee while watching the tour. Saturday was a mountain stage at the tour, so coverage began at 6:30. Fortunately, I was able to soak in about 45 minutes of cycling inspiration before I had to leave.
I made my way to Medina despite a Garmin fail. Not sure why I had to take route 8 to 303 when I could have easily taken Wyoga. I arrived just before 8 and went to registration to get my map and coupons for ice cream. This year they gave us a water bottle, which was really nice. The past two years we received shirts and I am a little disappointed that we didn't get another one this year. I made my way back to my car to get ready to go. I was riding with my two trusty domestiques and the plan was for us to leave at 8:15. We were running a little behind and did not make it out till 8:30.
The route we were on was 62 miles and we started by heading South. That was South into a 12 mph headwind. I was feeling pretty good at the start. My domestiques ran into some friends and the paced slowed a bit. I spent the next few miles riding ahead and then waiting for them to catch up. The plan was to take it easy and I still was, but we were still on different paces. After doing this for awhile, I decided to forge ahead on my own. Fellow twitter ballers and blogging rock stars Heather + Jason Mursch were on the ride doing the 42 mile route. I decided to see if I could bridge the gap before our routes split off.
The next few miles were a mixture of flats and rollers into the headwind. I was still taking it easy and riding between 20-22 mph. Having a blast while passing people. I came to stop sign where a fellow cyclist said I sounded like a car coming from behind. That's the second time I have heard this and Zipps do have a distinct sound that rock. At about mile 23, I was quickly approaching the final climb before the rest. I lifted the pace to around 25 when I passed to riders that may or may not have been Heather + Jason. I didn't want to slam on the breaks and it not be them so I stopped at the next street and waited to see if it was them. It certainly was and I was lucky enough to ride with them to the stop. It was nice to get to meet them in person and we discussed the ride, cycling, and running over ice cream. Well, I had gatorade and they enjoyed ice cream. No dairy for me on a double header day. You can see Heather's event recap here A Kick in the pants
After getting back on time with my trusty domestiques. We headed for the middle part of the ride. This portion is easily the most scenic portion of the event. It wasn't long before everybody was dropped, except my buddy Mitch. We road the next portion of the route together. I was really taking it easy at this point as the heat was starting to get bad and the past two years, there was a large climb before the last stop. We averaged between 18-20 mph and I did about all the work. I didn't care as this was his first ride at this distance and was conserving energy as well. We made it too the next stop with no climb! I was greatly disappointed as I felt cheated by taking it easy. We waited for everybody to catch up and headed back out to finish the ride.
I was politely asked if I would pace everyone the rest of the way. I was feeling good, so I asked what pace would they like. They responded with a you chose. The sooner we get back the better. Well, that was bad news as the perfect storm hit. The start was flat, this was the first portion without a headwind, and I was running way behind from spending time at the stop points. I didn't think they could keep up at too fast of a pace, so I started at 18. Still there. Then 20, still there. Then 22, still there. Ok, so I haven't said much about it. But the past few weeks, I've been really fast on the bike. I'm not sure if its being in cycling shape or the weight loss. Maybe a combination of both. So, I decided to hammer and see what happened. The pace was lifted to 28 and I was doing great holding it for a few miles. Now, the road was flat and there was a tailwind. Still, we were hauling the mail. This led to one of the funnier moments of the day as a triathlete tried to keep up. He told me later he felt good at 28 and wanted to show off by passing me. Except when he jumped out of the pace line he couldn't pass. This made my day. I did more work until one of our riders had a tire issue. It was quickly fixed and we headed back out again. At this point we were in some rollers and back around 20 mph. We then hit a climb. Dialing it back to around 18 mph, I blew apart the group and they were gone. The problem, was that this was the start of a 5 mile climb into a headwind.
I labored hard up this climb. Looking back at the Garmin, the temp on this climb was 105.6. I was literally cooked and still baking at this point. The bike went into the 34x25 gear and I felt like Cav. Trying just to survive. I made my way back to the finish and waited for everybody else. Garmin said the route was 63.3 miles and my time was 3 hours 29 minutes. Unfortunately, I had wasted too much time stopped on the route and it was already 1:30!!! I needed to leave for Cleveland in 2 hours and I had a 40 minute drive back to Stow.
At this point, I had not had lunch. Was dehydrated from backing in the sun for 63.3 miles. Had no time to rest.
What was I going to do? How was I going to survive? Tune in too the A Shot in the Dark report to see how the rest of my day went.