Went out for a local group ride with a group of 6 people in West Milford today. The group has a little hill climb competition and I just thought I'd show up and get in the mix. I knew full well there were some solid climbers there so I know I'd have some fun. The group was supposed to be as large as 10 but with the dreary start only 5 showed initially and one more was picked up later in the ride.
We went into the first hill about 5 miles or so in the ride and hit this 1/2 mile wall which my legs and heart were not ready for. I tagged onto the lead 2 and let up as it was just too early to push that hard. Down the other side and perfect...flat tire. Stopped to replace the tube and we were off and regrouped to aim for climb #2. This climb was a little better as it was longer and more gradual. Perfect. The usual group of 3 took off and soon it was only me and 1 other. We punched it up a steep section and I pulled ahead thinking I was at the top of the climb...nope. So I let up knowing I did the hard part of the climb and started to chat with my competition which was doing a chill pace. We rode a social pace letting the other climber catch up and we rolled to the actual finish together. I was happy to put down a nice effort even though it's only been a week since my last 100 miler. It felt good. Hard but good.
Shortly after I had to hit my tire again with C02...great. Down the next down. More C02. Into climb #3 the leadout was going well and then I stood up and felt the pavement through each pedal stroke. Great. Tube #2 was done. CO2 #3 was done. ARGH...so aggravating. So once my tire was inflated again i eeked my way up the climb and rejoined the group. All that lie ahead was an easy cruise to my buddy's place where I had parked.
Once there we replaced my tire and tube #3 and I set out with a new setup that should be unproblematic. "Should" be. I then headed out with only 1 buddy on an extension of the previous ride. I did the next section of the ride and just before I got to the end of this part of the ride I picked up a huge piece of steel that shredded my tire. SONOFAB*TCH!!! This really wasn't my day. What was next? Were the stars aligning against me? So my buddy rode the few miles home and grabbed his truck to help get me back to my car since the tire was shredded with a 5/8" slice in my tire and there was no fixing this one. Back to my car and I drove home with 58 miles and 3:30 ride time. I wasn't happy with that. I wanted over 60 miles and 4 hours of ride time.
Arriving back at my apartment I dropped off my cursed Madone and opted for my Lemond Reno backup roadie. Quick pedal change, water stop, and throw a little food down and I was out again. This time doing a little loop around Parsippany and into Boonton to cap off my ride. Picked a nice route and went easier just to spin out the legs and finally it went as planned. No mechanicals, no flying pigs, just a normal ride. So I put on an extra 1:23 and an extra 22 miles.
So all in all I guess it was a frustrating ride but a good one nonetheless. 80 miles in 4:53 with 5300' of vert. One of these days I'm actually going to have to complete a road century. Is it normal to have completed 9 dirt centuries but have not completed a road century yet? Plenty of 70 + 80 mile rides but no 100's. Maybe this fall.