I'm very happy to report that Bruce, Clint, and I (and especially I) made it all the way to Kelso on the first day of STP. We rode all the way up to the lovely Red Lion in Kelso, not needing our sag wagon that our friends Kellie and Chase were driving (how funny -- Chase driving the chase car. I'm low on blood sugar. Everything is funny...) You can see the route map here to get a sense of where we are.
What's more, I feel great, even this morning, the dreaded day after. I'm not sore (well, not really sore) except that my ass feels like, well, ass. This, however, was to be expected.
We started at 6:20am, a bit later than we had hoped, but we settled into a good pace after we cleared out of the starting line mess. The first 50-70 miles felt pretty good, so I equalled my longest ride pretty easily. The fact that it wasn't very hilly and the weather was pleasantly cool and overcast helped no doubt. I made the mistake of trying to keep pace with Clint, however, who was booming along, so I started to feel pretty tapped and sore as I limped into Centralia, the 100 mile point (see the image on the above documenting my first century - I forgot to take the photo at the end). I wasn't really sure if I could keep going, but Clint and Kellie advised me to eat some real food and sit for a while. After a big plate of spaghetti and sitting for about 30 minutes, I felt like a new man. The last fifty miles (well forty miles) felt super good. We pulled into Kelso just before 6:00pm, after 148.8 miles and 9:20 riding time.
The one lowlight was that my heartrate monitor was acting up, so I didn't have reliable heartrate data most of the ride. This is important because I was largely setting my pace via the heartrate to keep myself from dying. Bruce did a good job reminding me to slow down. It's good to have the voice of experience to keep you in line.
The ride definitely reminded me that, like Lance Armstrong said, it's not about the bike. There was one very clear moment of this as a line of people who were riding the same Trek 1500 (same year even) as I do came flying past me. I hit an even lower point when the woman on the Trek 1000 (a lower end model that I have) went by. Of course, I passed people on $3000 carbon fiber bikes too, so turnabout is fair play, I guess.
There was an amazing range of bikes. Early on we passed a guy on a Big Wheel, a guy on a unicycle, and a skateboarder. Later, we rode with a dude and a woman from New Belgian Brewing Company (makers of Fat Tire Ale and one of the sponsors) riding heavy single speed coaster bikes. Of course, there were also the teams of racers flying past too. Most everyone was pretty nice along the ride.
Last night, we had a nice steak dinner and a few beers and then crashed. Lots of fun.
Anyway, time to get ready, I'll have more later. See you at the finish line party!