As reported by rider Edward Duell
Thanks for asking about the 2011 Clarksville Century. Here is the powerpoint summary.
- I showed up before the start and there were 3 groups, those in the ‘fast pace’ Group (about 10 riders), and those who were doing the 100 mile in the ‘normal pace’ group, and then some who were standing between these 2 groups. One of the guys in the ‘fast pace’ group was trying to coax the middle group to join, since the more the merrier and trying to ride 100 with 10 guys would be an insane workload. So, many of the middle group rolled forward to join us. It was already hot. I had 2 H20 bottles and 2 Gatorades, and enough Clif Bars and Gu shots for Napoleon’s Third Army.
- We started out with, I am guessing, 30 – 40 riders, including a few women.
- We immediately fell into single file with some TT Pacemaker pulling for about 2 miles at an insane speed, which felt like 30mph, right out of the gates. I was riding third. TT Pacemaker signals that he is about to pull off, and number 2 rolls off even before he does, which puts me at the head!! I pull through and put a few seconds of face into the wind. As I pull off, I realize I am sweating profusely. It’s hot already. To put this in perspective, imagine riding behind someone at 26 – 28 mph, and then having to pull through!
- TT Pacemaker is never seen again, so I assume his job was just to get us started.
- So we keep the pace high, riding single file paceline, many people contributing. The Moto escort works very nice, we are blazing through the turns and intersections like a Pro I-II roadrace.
- At mile 5, I realize that this pace is not going to let up for the next ~4 hours. I start to think this may hurt.
- So my thoughts: Sit in, pull when you can, don’t get stuck closing gaps, don’t forget to eat Gu shots every 20 Mi, no hope of chewing a Clif Bar, hydrate a lot. It gets hotter.
- Mile 6, If I drop back now, I have a 15 minute head start on the other group, who will be riding slower. This leads me to conclude that I can A) hang on and suffer with the group, B) ride by myself for 95 miles in the heat. I re-evaluate every 15 minutes, and conclude A is the lesser of evils.
- Pattern repeats itself for next 3.5 hours. Except for it’s getting hotter and I sweat even more. I pull through when I can (or am guilted into it), and then try my hardest not to get dropped.
- I need to add that there were really three groups, about 10 guys who were always in rotation, breaking everyone else’s legs, about 10 – 15 who sometimes got into rotation (I like to think I was in this group), and about 10 who were very seldom at the front, sucking major wheel the whole time.
- Anyway, this goes on like this for hours and my main motivation is not to get dropped and have to ride 50+ miles alone.
- At about 80 miles, I realize I am running out of H20 and gatorade feels like syrup on a day when it is approaching 90+ deg, even at 10AM. I start to suffer more as I realize I really need water. Did I mention it was hot??
- At about 90 miles, I need to drop back to the sagwagon and get some of the most delicious water I have ever poured on my face and into my mouth.
- I try to motorpace behind the van back up to the group, but am not able to close the gap between the van and the group, who is riding at 25+ mph. So, that’s all she wrote. I am drpped from the group.
- My big luck at this point is another guy also just dropped off the pace and so we can ride in together. (Believe me, I would like to say I planned that, but it was total luck)
- I need to remind you that I ride without a watch or a computer, so while I had a reasonable idea of distance, I had no idea of elapsed time at that point. My new riding mate informs me we are at 3:30.
- So we realize we can still break 4 hours and do as much as our legs will allow, still riding at ~20mph or so and, eventually roll in just under 3:58.
- To add to the insult of being dropped, the last few miles are slightly uphill, although I do NOT remember the downhill on the way out.
- Apparently, the lead group (which probably still had 20 – 25 people in it) finished in about 3:50 this year. They were still rolling around the parking lot when I arrived.
- All in all, I made my goal, but certainly did my fair share of suffering that day.
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