Saturday, October 9, 2010

Outlaw Trail 100


This is what I usually hear when I tell other people about my plan to ride 100 miles on a bicycle in one day.  While no stranger to centuries (as they are commonly called), it had been a couple of years since I last did one.  This summer, though, I've been riding my bike to school, as well as doing more extended rides around the Austin area, and a century seemed like a good goal to shoot for.  The Outlaw Trail 100, hosted by the near by city of Round Rock, was time perfectly to fit my schedule.

Since getting home from my most recent trip, I've been making final preparations.  All this week, as I've tapered for the event, I've been looking forward to it.  Add to that the recent improvements in the weather, and today was looking like a winner.  So much so, that I set a goal for a personal best of less than 6 hours, 30 minutes, studying the course map and making some plans to help accomplish that goal.

And a winner it was.  After a slightly chilling start at 8 am sharp, the weather warmed up nicely, but was never too hot.  During the first part of the ride, I made great time, at one point averaging over 20 miles-per-hour.  I later discovered the reason for my great performance when we made the turn to head south and encountered a stiff headwind, which was to be my companion for the rest of the day.

The ride wasn't without it's bits of excitement.  In addition to the wind, there was a half-mile of dirt road, as well as a some cobblestones for authenticity.  Some of the roads were a bit under-maintained, which was a bit jarring at times, but the scenery was nice, with fields of ready-to-harvest cotton alternating with pastures and cows.  At one point, I was caught in a dirt devil, as it made its way across a cotton field and on to the route.

One of several rest stops
By the time I hit the rest stop at 70 miles, I knew I could finish, but that things like nutrition, fluids and pacing would be an important factor.  I also mentally divided the remainder of the ride into 3 ten-miles rides, which corresponded nicely with the remaining rest stops.  Finally, after round the last bend in the course, I saw Heather, Hannah, and Jonathan, waiting to cheer me on to completion.  It was a great feeling.

In the end, I accomplished my goal, with an overall time of 6 hours, 20 minutes.  In addition to being an exhausting experience, it was a great lesson in anatomy, as I now know about parts I didn't even know I had, due to their aching.  And, of course, my lack of sunscreen use has led to a pretty severe sunburn with rather odd contours.  I'll take the next few days off the bike (and maybe more if No. 3 decides to come soon), but the I hope to continue feeding my cycling addition.

A very tired Hyrum, after 100 miles of riding

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