Mrs. Bgddy and I took off from the house just after six am. The forecast was for a chance of rain starting at 10 or 11 am, and only a chance at that – 30%…
My wife, being the carefree awesome woman that she is, had us late for the start by about ten minutes but honestly, for a sportive who cares? We started out riding together (the 100k and the 40k followed the same route for 25k). Mrs. Bgddy unnecessarily asked if I’d ride with her until the routes parted (I’d planned on it anyway). It started sprinkling within the first two miles… She impressed me though, sucking it up and holding a 17.5 mph pace for the first ten miles. We slowed down a bit after that and just enjoyed the ride together, chatting most of the way until we parted company. The sprinkles had morphed into an all-out rain somewhere around the ten mile mark.
When I turned I put the hammer down as much as I could heading into the wind driven rain, I figure I was around 18-19 mph 3:10-3:15 minute miles. I came upon a group of three guys who’d passed us a few miles before the courses split so I figured I’d steal a draft for a bit and hide from the wind… Unfortunately, being my first long ride in the rain, I didn’t realize that I’d soak myself even worse trying to draft… Oh did that suck. I tried to stay just to the left of the guy in front of me to catch some draft but miss the spray off his back tire. Yeah that didn’t work and I was miserable behind them so I decided to pass them up and go it alone.
I entered the first rest area that I stopped at when we hit the turnaround, soaked and pretty dejected. I thought about sagging back but had a small bite to eat (J-B Energy Beans and a Clif Bar) and thought on quitting for a minute. When I got off the bike, that’s when I got cold… So I figured with the wind at my back, I’d be able to make decent time and maybe I’d warm back up. I was right on both counts, though I decided to cut five miles off by skipping a loop so I could get back sooner to my wife. My first mile was a 2:53, the second a 2:40 and the next was a 2:35 and I warmed right back up before the second. I put my head down and charged for it. Amazingly, my spirits, even though the rain had picked up, were excellent and high! I felt awesome so I just kept rolling. I stopped for a couple of potty breaks, just long enough to go, clean my glasses and head back out so I never really cooled down. I got back still feeling spectacular and strong, 57 miles in 3h:19m:28s, a 17.2 mph average, a bit slower than last year, but considering the conditions and that the last 25 miles were done at a 20mph+ average, I couldn’t be happier – and I got to sit down with my awesome wife and talk about our rides – her longest yet.
The weather was crap, but the ride, day and talking about it with my wife afterwards were incredible. I am one happy Bgddy.
The ride was even bigger and better this year too. The volunteer staff was awesome and on the ball. The rest stops were excellently stocked and they did a marvelous job considering the weather.
Finally, a few notes… First, the expensive cycling clothing that I bought performed fantastically in the adverse conditions. I couldn’t be happier. Specialized products are awesome. Secondly, I LOVE riding with my wife, what a treat. And third, riding in the rain, sucked, but is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be – and I kept a great attitude throughout and really enjoyed myself (considering, of course). I was really surprised with how good I felt afterward too. I expected to be a mess but I was strong, and once I made peace with the conditions I was able to maintain a lively and chipper mood all the way to the finish line. I’m in better shape than I’d given myself credit for.
Woohoo! 3,100 calories down the drain!