>I really approached this ride with trepidation. I felt unprepared. I didn’t have enough distance riding plus I didn’t have much time in the saddle to feel confident about cycling 100 miles. I was fairly sure I could finish, but I could picture myself having to walk the bike up the last climb of the day that comes at mile 87. Plus I would be on my own, the hubby succumbing to a two-week cold.
Much to my surprise, just as I pulled up and parked my car, the three cars that parked behind me were a big group from the desert area! I knew most of them (although rarely had ridden with them). So we prepared to start together. I didn’t have much hope to hang with them, but it was great to have a group to start with.
Well, I lasted about eight miles. The ride starts uphill (actually most of the first 50 is uphill). Not my forte, unfortunately. My climbing is of the slow but steady variety. So I fell back quickly. One of the girls, Lisa, was kind enough to slow down for me, then one of the guys actually put a hand on my back and helped me catch up. I told him it would be a long hundred miles for him doing that! I think everyone finally realized that I meant it when I said to please go ahead and off they went.
That left me to dawdle along at my own pace. I loved it. I met many interesting people, including a gal who taught at Fallbrook High School, which is where I went to high school. I rode with Bill, who had been part of the group who had originally started the Stagecoach Century. I met Greg, who had a gastric bypass operation three years ago, lost about 150 pounds and had been riding a century a month for the last two years. I rode with several people who were riding their first century (I got to impart my words of wisdom!). This is my favorite way to enjoy a ride like this and I really loved every minute of it.
I had minimal soreness, although having a chance to hop off the seat every 25 miles or so was truly appreciated. I even found a pace line that I could keep up with–thanks to Ray, Pete and two other wonderful men, who, I am sure, slowed their pace some to allow me to ride with them. I managed most of the last 20 miles with them and made it up that last dreaded climb with hardly a problem.
Stagecoach is a well managed ride and all the aid stations were fully stocked with fluids, food, advil and more. The weather was fantastic. I needed only arm warmers to start and never got too hot through the day. They even had a veggie sandwich at the lunch stop. Perfect!
All in all, I am so pleased with the ride and with myself for first attempting then completing it. It’s onward and upward now. I’m even happy with my time: 6:52 riding time, with about a half hour more for the whole thing. Not bad for the first one back.
Next week I’m running the Carlsbad Half Marathon. Again, I’ll be slow, but steady, and I will finish.