04.28.2012 Muenster Metric Century
I finally got the chance to ride the Muenster Metric Century yesterday. This had been on my to do list since I first heard about it back when I was riding in 2004. Since I've gotten back into riding this was high on my list of rides to hit this year. I am glad that I did it, it was a really great ride over a challenging course.
According to the pre ride announcements there were over 2000 riders for the various routes. Lots of normal upright bikes and a good representation of recumbents. Saw a pair of Carbent Ravens, a couple of Catbike Mushashi's, Carolynn on her P38 Lightning, John on his Bacchetta CA2.0, Texpug on her Catrike, and after the ride I saw Roy's Morciglio Apache, there were several others who I didn't catch names on so don't feel left out.
Given that many cyclists all starting together down a narrow rural farm to market road was "entertaining". I saw one crash occur about 20 minutes into the ride, I think someone bumped wheels from the looks of it. I was stuck in traffic and didn't have an option to stop and help, (I still feel bad about that, I hope the cyclist was OK).
With the ride starting into a stiff headwind the 2000+ herd broke apart fairly quickly into separate groups. I had fun bridging groups and launching out into the wind by myself and putting my lower wind profile to use. Several riders on uprights caught on pretty quick and sat on my wheel for what little draft I offered. I was more than happy to pull as I was having fun chasing after the next group, catching them, sitting in the back to recover a bit and launch after the next group.
I hit SAG #1 for a quick bathroom break and a chance to ice down my water bottles, I tried a bottle full of Powerade as that was what they had, (lesson learned, stick to Gatoraid). After SAG #1 the short route turned back toward their finish so the traffic dropped off quite a bit. I continued bridging groups from one to another, sitting in and chatting with each new group I came up on. I rolled through SAG #2 and kept on going.
I was sitting in talking to a guy on a Catrike Speed when I noticed a jersey with the Marine Corp emblem go by. As I was also wearing my Marine Corps jersey I had to catch up to him. Come to find out he was in the reserves based out of Fort Worth. He was up with a couple of other Marines for the ride. We hit SAG #3 where his buddies caught up and we had a full Marine Corp fire team ready to go!
After SAG #3 the 65 kilometer route split out for their finish and I continued up the road. During the pre ride announcements grooved pavement had been mentioned. It wasn't just grooved, it was cratered. That was some of the roughest, nastiest bits of road I've been on in a while. And of course that section, in the middle of a steep uphill, had to be when the flat fairy came for a visit. A quick tube change, check the tire for something sharp, re-install, and then courtesy of the nasty rough road, break out the allen wrenches and start tightening down loose bits.
Once the bike was ready it was more hills, up and down into Saint Jo, Texas. Another Sag stop, more pickles to fight off leg cramps, more ice water and down the road I went. I'd been hearing reports of a really nice downhill north of Saint Jo. The reports didn't lie, I hit 49.7 mph down the hill. Check out the video link by clicking on FREE FALL.
The last part of the ride was south back into the wind with more hills, one really brutal one where you paid for the ride down Free Fall. Grinding my way up it with my heart rate maxing out and my forward speed barely being enough to keep me upright and on the bike I was praying for a large semi. I figured if he hit me hard enough it would stop the pain and misery. But once I got to the top, convinced my heart rate to climb down out of the 180's, tried to ignore more leg cramps, the speed picked back up and I started rolling down the road. Again, being on a recumbent really paid off as the south wind was really putting the hurt on the people on the upright bikes.
I rolled back into Muenster, looked at my odometer, 60.67 miles, considered turning around and rounding it up to 62 miles, said no to that idea and headed for the van.
Several lessons learned from this ride.
- Hunt down the flat fairy and shoot the bugger in the head
- Check, recheck, and loctite appropriate bits on your bike as needed
- Bragging about how fast you can go on a downhill and then cramping up while sprinting down the hill is no fun.
- Dill pickles are your friend when you are cramping
- Going 49.7 mph on a recumbent is an adrenaline rush
- One application of sunscreen was not enough, give me a war bonnet, a bow, a pony and I could open my own casino!