Thursday, August 25, 2011

Making My Peace With The Hilly Century

A few weeks ago I did the Centurion events here in Middleton, just outside of Madison. On the Friday night there was a time trial, on Saturday I did a 25 mile race, and on Sunday I did a 100 mile race.

I had never done a time trial before and it was really fun. It was a closed course through an industrial park. I did about how well I thought I would. Almost last in my age group. But, I have never done a time trial before and did not have the equipment. Most had aero bars, skin suits, and dedicated time trial bikes. I just dropped as low as I could in my Serotta road bike and hammered. It was fun as I had never been involved in a dedicated time trial. We started on a ramp even like the big time.

Saturday was a 25 mile race that actually went right by my farm. I really enjoyed that and was able to destroy it. I really enjoy this type of racing as you can get into a nice pace line and let others do work for you if you can keep their pace. I saw several people wipeout going too fast around corners and not paying attention to gravel on the roads. My pace was very fast and it was very exciting for me. I even got involved in a sprint finish, my first ever. What a thrill. I absolutely loved it.

If not for a real mess at the finish I would have finished in the top 25% of all competitors. As it ended, I finished in the top 30%. Long story - hit me up sometime and I will tell you all about it.

The 100 mile race on Sunday morning was delayed for two hours due to a massive thunderstorm. We started at 9am. I accomplished all of my goals and then some in this race. BUT I almost had a heat stroke. I kept pushing my pace the whole way, and due to the later start we had to all suffer in the afternoon heat. The ride had over six thousand feet of rise and was the typical what I call "Wisconsin Hilly Century"...constant up and down, up and down, never a flat spot to help you get a pace going.

I have done practically all of these hilly centuries in the area (there are a bunch of them now) and have been asking myself what the heck I am doing. This last one really took the cake. Yes, I acccomplished all of my goals time wise, but really had a tough time recovering. My wife and I agreed that I had the onset of heat stroke going on. I had nausea, my body temp was wildly fluctuating from hot to cold, and I felt like crap in general.

Even in cooler weather these hilly centuries are a bitch. After this last one I felt like I didn't want to ever do one again. I decided to give those feelings a couple of weeks to see if they stuck. I still feel the same. My wheelhouse rides are fifty or so miles, give or take and that is the distance I am going to concentrate on. I can actually race at those distances rather than try to survive.

I don't have anything left to prove in this category. By my last count I have done eight of these hilly centuries. I don't need any more.

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