Most of the time when I'm done with a ride, I like to say that I kicked the ride's ass. On some occasions, my ass gets kicked by the ride. I'm going to call my maiden San Diego Century ride a draw. It was a wonderful day for a bike ride. The weather was overcast and cool, but not cold. I felt a bit unsure before the start thinking that I should have ridden the route a few times; after all it's in my back yard. Yet I felt confident. I've been riding fairly consistently, and while there were a lot of climbs on this ride, I knew I was pretty strong.
Without hesitation Molly and I drove down to Mira Costa College where the start/finish was, I got ready, she took a few pictures and I was off a bit past 7am. I knew the first 7 miles of the course really well and I was thankful that it didn't continue on Rancho Santa Fe RD for too long because there's a very steep section. Nevertheless, the next couple of miles on San Elijo Road weren't a cake walk. It's fair to say that the first major downhill section of the ride didn't come until after mile 10. I was so happy for it that I stopped before getting to it and updated facebook and twitter about it. That downhill went for a couple of miles only to reach about a 5 mile uphill climb, nothing steep just long. And that really summed up the ride. This particular ride didn't have many flats, you were either going up or down. It wasn't until mile 54 when we got to the coast around Via de la Valle that we found the last 12 miles or so as relatively flat. While no single climb was terribly long or steep. Maximum elevation was 820 ft. Total ascent however came in at 2372 ft.
While the climbs were tough, especially when at my size it's like two riders on the bike and only one doing the work, the descent were another story. What goes up, must come down. I'm thankful for the downhills, they provided some rest, although as we were bombing down Del Dios Highway, I questioned the sanity of riding on 1 inch tires at almost 40 mph with essentially a styrofoam cooler on your head and a millimeter of lycra for protection. Luckily at those moments you're too busy paying attention to riders, cars and the road to dwell on it much.
So how did I do? Not as bad as I thought:
Avg Speed was 12.54 mph
Max Speed was 38 mph (on a downhill of course.)
Ride Time: 5:21:08 (excluding stops at sag stations)
Before I close I want to commend the organizers of the San Diego Century. Especially all the volunteers at the SAG stations. Everyone was friendly, encouraging, quick to fill your water bottles, offer a sandwich, bananas orange slices (my favorite), and just generally in a great mood. They even had a masseuse at one station that I saw as well as at the finish line. The course was marked clearly which is a challenge when you have riders doing 3 different distances. However I have to say they did a great job, from registration to the finish line. If you're in the area and you get a chance to ride it, you should although it's probably not for the weekend rider.
After all the suffering and the high heart rate and the sweat, I was glad to have ridden the 66 miles. I was even more glad that I had sense enough not to enter the 100 mile ride ... maybe next year.