So this past weekend, I decided to expand my horizon of athletic endeavors and I took on my first century road race here near home in Lyons, CO. The race was the Colorado Centurion, which is part of the Centurion Cycling series that goes around North America and does 100 mile road ride/races. Now I would consider myself a very solid cyclist and among triathletes somewhere in the upper echelon, but make no mistake triathletes are not cyclists. Especially over 100mi.
Also keep in mind the race that I was doing went up through Ward, and up Super James, and for those not familiar with Boulder area riding that means we did 9,000 ft of climbing in 100 mi. The race started easy enough with a neutral roll out of Lyons, and then a fairly mild pace around the flats before we headed up hill. However, it was apparent 5 miles in when I watched a guy eat road shoulder going down a little hill that I would have to be paying attention if I wanted to stay rubber side down. About 3/4 of the way up the canyon to Ward I put myself in good postion for when the hill tipped up and the pack would split and sure enough when it happened I was right in it and feeling good. However, as I went to the front with about 1 mile left in the climb thinking maybe I could steal the King of the Mtn, when the offical car rolled up to me and informed me there was a solo guy 5 min up the road. Bummer. So I shut it down, coasted back to the group and got in a break of 6 when we hit hte Peak-Peak highway. The group included the eventual winner and obviously the best riders in the race…and myself.
I held strong down the canyon and then through Lyons but as we rolled out for our second loop I began to realize my pull-throughs were getting slower and I was in trouble. Not a good feeling knowing you have 40 mi and a ridiculous climb left. I was stubborn enough to hold on till mile 60 and then let go, but now I was in the middle of no one, it was getting really hot, low on water and totally mentally crushed.
I kept pedaling, although it very slow up to Jamestown but I gotta say I have never almost turned around so many times in my life. I just kept thinking I was gonna hit the steep climb, cramp and have to turn then. Somehow when I got to the steep part I did cramp but was able to shake it out and get a bit of a second wind to get up and over, and then luckily met up with a buddy and a couple 0thers guys and was able to work with them back to Lyons.
I learned two things by doing this race: First, a good triathlete rider is not even remotely the same as a legitimate cyclist. Second, my body is stronger and more resilient than my mind sometimes thinks. I will definitely keep that in mind next time a 10k is killing me at a race.
Good day in all, solid training, something different and dare I say fun, and it was a wonderful event put on by Len Pettygrew and his team. Maybe next year, pace myself a bit more…