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Sunday was the Wright Stuff Century, something I try to do every year. This is the third time I have ridden it. The WSC has become to me a sort of wrap up of my summer fitness season. It is long (100 miles) and very hilly. To boot this day it was pretty hot, the thermometer almost touching 90. Not too big of a deal when you are moving at a good rate since the sweat evaporated quickly - the humidity was pretty low. It was a bigger deal when attacking some of the larger hills and you are reduced to about six miles per hour.
I finished in seven hours, eleven minutes - a time to be proud of - for me anyways.
The day started off COLD - it had to be under 60 - my teeth were chattering the first half hour or so. But it warmed up quickly. I literally breezed through the first sixty miles or so - hills that seemed large a few years ago were not that big of a challenge anymore. I am in the best shape I have ever been, and am about 15 pounds lighter than the last time I did this ride in 2006.
Then, the normal things kicked in that I remembered - muscle groups started to hurt, aches began, etc. After the rest stop in Barneveld I knew that the worst was in front of me - 25 miles to go and two absolutely brutal climbs to come. But all in all I felt pretty good. Cardio wise there were no difficulties at all. As an odd aside Barneveld was having some sort of big parade and the bike route and parade route crossed - quite a mess. The Barneveld cops were not impressed.
Into the first of the last two climbs (Sweeney Road) I started cramping in both of my thighs, BAD. Different muscle groups in each thigh began to give me problems. I counted three parts of each thigh that cramped - one on the inside, one on the back and one group on the outside up toward the hip. Pain. Lots of pain. I did not stop. I simply changed my riding position often and told myself that it was tough sh1t, I was going all the way. I did. After that hill I really had to take it easy. I didn't want to "bonk", as they say, and have to get a ride back to the start/finish.
I still can't believe how badly I cramped on that hill - I was chowing bananas all day. Oh well. The last long hill (Highway T) wasn't as bad as I remembered. This is where I cramped last time out. I did it fine, and cruised the rest of the way back to the finish. My time would have been well under seven hours if I didn't take it easy on that last portion of the ride.
Here is a shot of the first rest stop - Frank Lloyd Wright was buried here before he was exhumed by his second wife and carted off to Taliesin West in Arizona. If you ever want to read about an interesting and crazy individual, grab a biography of Wright sometime.
The rest stop is right by a famous Wright building, the Unity Chapel. I think they still have Unitarian services here.
And here we are getting food and hydration. There were about a thousand people on the ride.
Afterward everyone sits on the hill and celebrates a job well done with a beer or two.
They had Leinenkugel products on tap. Happy camper. Another year, another job well done.
As a project I think I will try to do a topographical of the ride. I am pretty sure that the ride still has over ten thousand feet of rise. I am sure that Google or someone else has a free tool on the web that will help me with that. The only catch is that some of the roads might not be plotted since they are all so rural.