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- 45904 total / 3134 in 2014
1. Have fun 2. Ride every day 3. Core workout every day 4. 200k Brevet 5. 12,000 miles 6. Florida Senior Games (5k/10k TT & 20k/40k Road Race)
Scott Johnsen rode: 2nd Annual Bike for t...
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- 104 miles
- 05:51 time
- 17.8 pace
- 5184 calories
2nd Annual Bike for the Lake Century Ride – Milton, Vermont
60 degrees to 81 degrees
Thin cloud cover
10mph – 15mph wind
What a fantastic day!! It was 60 degrees and sunny at the start of the ride climbing to 81 degrees by the finish. Although the forecast was for a 3mph breeze, it turned out to be a stead 10mph to 15mph with gusts around 20mph. Not too tough to take all things considered.
The turnout for the 2nd annual ride was a great improvement over last year’s very first Bike for the Lake Century ride. 2011 had 28 riders while 110 rode in the 2012 ride. Good stuff. The plan was to ride with the guy who helped me through my very first century ride here last year, John. He is a good rider and has been at it for a long time. He didn’t think he would be able to ride hard, which was okay with me. My plan was to stick with John and ride whatever pace he wanted. That was assuming of course that I would be able to stay with him.
Many of the people I rode with last Sunday were at this ride. Most of them were riding the 75 miles but we got to ride together for the first part of the ride. It was quite fun “visiting” with various people during the beginning of the ride. As I approached people I knew, I would ride with them for a stretch to chat. It was really fun stuff. But soon the routes varied enough that we lost touch with anyone not riding the century.
Although we weren’t really paying attention to pace much, we both felt that we were going out a bit faster than we anticipated. The ride started across the causeway from Milton, Vermont to South Hero. There was a good cross wind coming off the lake, but it didn’t seem to have a negative effect on anyone. Once we hit South Hero, the wind was to our backs for the most part. We were playing a little game of trying to catch riders in front of us. John needed a bathroom break at our first stop which gave us a little bit of a late departure. The other 4 people riding with us had quite a lead on us. We decided we could catch them if we tried. We tried. And we caught them. That made us both smile.
I rarely ride with groups, so this was a nice change of pace. I took the opportunity to take a lot of pulls. I didn’t really plan it that way, but I didn’t mind at all. It was really fun to be able to help the group. The ride continued onto Grand Isle and the North Hero. After a quick cut across the southern end of Alburg, we did a loop on Isle La Motte. Once there, we had a 4 mile stretch into the teeth of the wind. The road was right on the lake, so no protection from the wind. There were 2 riders ahead of us when we crossed the bridge onto Isle La Motte. After riding about ½ mile, I could see we were slowly gaining on them. I jumped out to pull and we caught them very quickly. They stayed with us but we all came to an abrupt stop at a small intersection. This was one of the few places where they did not have a direction arrow. Fortunately, John knew that we needed to stay along the lake. So off we went. I was still pulling, which was starting to get tough. But I wanted to hang on at least until we made our turn. I did it, and I was beat! But it was a great thrill for me to be able to do that.
When we turned again, we had the wind to our backs. Another group member was pulling who was very familiar with this section of the route. He had us averaging 25mph sailing down this stretch. Everything came to a screeching halt 3 miles down the road when we hit an intersection with about 30 riders milling about. We came to a near stop to see what was going on. It turned out there was a group of club riders who missed the turn that was unmarked. This cut about 3 miles off the ride for them, but they would still get there century distance. John got them straightened out very quickly so on we went. Most of the last mile on Isle La Motte was a gradual downhill. With the wind to our backs, we were really flying on this section. We managed to keep our lead on the club riders until we were back in Alburg again.
The club riders went by us but we did our best to stick with them. I did another pull of sorts, but I was really hanging on to the club riders. I stayed with them for a few miles until John went by me. So I soft-pedaled a bit to let John in. He was starting to get tired because we started losing the group. We didn’t really mind though. John told me this pace was too fast for him so we slowed a bit. Our group of 6 turned into a group of 5 as one of our group decided to ride with the club riders. No worries at all. I told John I was probably riding too fast too, so slowing down was fine with me. We were still riding fairly well with our smaller group.
We crossed the bridge into Swanton, Vermont. We were riding about ¾ of a mile from the Canadian border on some very nice rolling hills. We crossed the main rode and did another U-shaped ride along the water in Swanton. We finally rolled into the rest stop at 62 miles. I was not disappointed to make the stop. I was low on water, ready for something to eat and happy to get off the saddle for a bit. I checked out pace for the first time and found we had been averaging 18.7mph. Much of that was with a tail wind, and the only hills were nice rollers with a couple of short, steep hills thrown in. I knew we still had the toughest part of the ride facing us.
We continued on through Swanton with a wind hitting us from the left. It slowed us down a bit because it was a little in our face. This was also the only main road with significant traffic, so we rode on the very narrow road in single file. It wasn’t too bad until the 18-wheelers went by us at 60mph! With the wind coming from our right and the trucks flying by on our left, I was very happy to get off of that road! We did manage to pick up another rider here though, so our group was back to 6.
As we made our turn back to the south and into the wind, we had a short, steep hill to climb. A couple of the riders were confused about at one of the intersections near the top of the hill. They slowed down to a crawl when John was checking his mirror for traffic behind us. He didn’t see them stopped, so a collision occurred. Since we were climbing, we weren’t moving very quickly. Fortunately there was no bike damage to either bike. The only casualty was a mild elbow scrape and knee scrape suffered by John. He was good to go though, so we did. I rode behind the guy that was run into to make sure his rear wheel was okay and it looked perfect.
Once we got going, I did a long pull. As I was beginning to slow, another member of the group took the lead. He was pulling us into the wind right along the lake and we were averaging 20mph! What a great job he did on that section. Unfortunately, I think he kind of blew up at that point since he didn’t do another pull the rest of the way in. In fact, I took another pull and rode for about a mile. Entering into St. Albans, I turned to see how everyone was doing. It turned out I was riding along! So I came to a stop to wait for the group. As they got close, I started riding again. Very soon I found I was riding along again. So I decided to just take it easy into the rest stop at 82 miles. Just before the rest area, John caught up to me and we coasted in together. The others were close behind, so we were back to 6. I checked our average again and discovered that our average was still 18.2mph. Very surprising given the head wind we rode into.
The remaining 20 miles didn’t have a lot along the water. Instead we had the pleasure of hitting the hilly section of the ride. My legs were getting tired, so I really didn’t know how I was going to manage on these, but I was willing to give them a try. We hit the first one and I failed miserably. I screwed up on the shifting making it more difficult on myself. I just couldn’t get my momentum going while everyone else was pulling away. They got quite a lead on me by the time I crested the hill. Fortunately, we had a good stretch with only a gradual climb. I was able to catch up to the group just in time to hit the next set of hills.
I did a much better job of holding my own on the next section of hills. I started cramping in my thighs. My quads, groin and hamstrings were causing problems in both legs. I was able to continue climbing by trying to “relax” while pedaling. I lost some pace, but I still managed to be the second one in our group to the top. But by the next set of hills, the cramps got really bad. I had to shift into a bigger gear and try to pedal standing for a bit. When the hills got more gradual, I would sit in a small gear. I was on the verge of having some big problems. I was so relieved when we came flying down the hill to the Lamoille River. We then rode along the river for a bit before heading back to Sandbar, the start/finish of the ride. Oh CRAP! There was one more very steep hill that I forgot about. My legs started cramping so badly, I thought I was going to have to jump off the bike. I didn’t want to do this because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get started again. I struggled to reach the top, but it was a fight. That was the longest ½ mile I’ve ridden in a long time!
I was so grateful to hit route 2 heading back to Sandbar. I knew that this was about a 4 mile downhill to the finish. We saw 2 riders (not in our ride) who presented a challenge. So of course I jumped out to pull us past them. I could feel the cramps about to scream any second, but it was downhill so I was okay. As we rolled around a big curve I realized that there was one more long uphill before the final downhill to the finish. I had to fight the cramps again on this uphill section. Fortunately, it wasn’t very steep, just long. Once we hit the final downhill I was able to ride hard into the finish.
What a great time! This ride was everything I hoped it would be and more. I had a great time riding with John and my “new friends”. The weather was fantastic, the race organizers did a great job with a well-run race, frequent and top notch rest stops and a really great group of people! Can’t wait until next year’s ride!