A Little Help From My Friends: 💯 Mile A-100 Pre-Ride Edition
We were supposed to have crappy weather Saturday afternoon and great weather on Sunday. Saturday was cloudy much of the day but cleared in the afternoon. It was warm and beautiful. I thought we were in the clear… until I looked at the forecast for the next 24 hours. It was bad. Rain in the morning followed by muggy and cloudy, followed by partial clearing and hot… and we had the Assenmacher 100 pre-ride to get done. I set the ride to roll out at 7 with a push to 8 just in case the rain hung on a little later. The forecast showed rain ending at 7.
In the morning, the radar was really, really bad. Rain sticking around till 8:30 and a shorter period of cloudy with a partial clearing and hot. Chuck suggested we hold off till 9 so I sent that out in a text at 6-ish. Then I talked to Mike who said he wanted to roll at 8, so I sent a follow-up that we were leaving at 8 instead. I screwed up… changing the ride time that often, especially when I move the time up, never ends well. Par for the course, Chuck slept late, Mike got pissed Chuck was late and took his toy home and everything was a mess. And it was, like it or not, all my fault.
We did end up with a good group once we got rolling, though. We hung in a pretty big group for the first 12 miles before splitting off into different paced factions. Greg met us shortly thereafter and things got lively. Greg’s power to weight ratio is quite excellent and he’s not much to draft behind so we had to actually take turns being second bike so others could rest up. I took a long turn against better judgement and that ended up being my undoing. Keep in mind, Greg was up front for a full rotation of the four of us that were left after Dale and Jeff & Diane on the tandem cut the course short. The pull was absolutely epic (guessing, maybe fifteen to twenty miles).
Greg split off for home when we were something like 42 miles in and we had three or four to the next stop. We didn’t necessarily sit up, but the pace was dialed back a couple miles per hour so we could take a rest. We had a long way to go and, not speaking for the other three, I was feeling quite crispy.
At our stop, just shy of halfway, I chose a Coke energy drink rather than my normal straight up Coke to try to get a little pep back in my step. We refilled water bottles, had something to eat (a Payday for me), and rolled out. The next several miles were touch and go trying to get my legs to work right, but they came around about three miles up the road. We hit our first decent tailwind just shy of 50 miles and I’d settled in, concentrating on making it to the next stop at Subway, our lunch destination. By the 65th mile I felt like I normally do at 85. I was pretty sure I was going to be in a lot of trouble and thought about calling my wife for a pick-up.
I had a few things playing in my head… I didn’t want to leave my friends on their own but what good would I be to them if I was just sucking wheel? I’d be even more of a pain in the ass than if I called for a ride. I decided to sit down and eat some lunch and play it from there. Rather than my normal footlong sub, I had a half, a bag of chips and a Coke. This proved incredibly wise once we got back on our bikes…
With 27 miles left to go, we rolled out of Subway. We ambled on over the next eleven miles with a crossing tailwind mostly, but a couple miles of headwind. I took my turns up front but they weren’t up to my norm. I did the best I could.
We hit the first major headwind at around 86-1/2 miles. And, as promised, Chucker went to the front and put his head down. He took the entire headwind section, about five miles, at a steady-but-not-too-easy 18 to 19-mph. Miraculously, a few miles earlier, I’d realized I wasn’t struggling near as much as I had before the stop. I went from a feeling of dread to optimism. I didn’t want to go crazy or anything, but I knew I’d be able to make it. Chucker took another three-mile headwind section to get us to the home stretch. I took us home. Slowly.
Because we’d skipped heading into a park around mile 57, we pulled into the parking lot, the sun beating down on us and sweat just pouring off, at 99.2 miles. Chucker and Doug wanted their 100 miles. Chuck and I were quite content with being done, having completed the route. And so it was.
That was the smallest pre-ride group we’ve had since I’ve been a part of the festivities, but it was a good, solid crew. Chuck, Chucker, and Doug really helped to pull me home yesterday. It’s rare I run out of gas like that, but I was absolutely spent. Put a fork in me. Normally, I’m a lot more help, but sometimes you need a little help from your friends.
That’s what group riding is all about.