|I had a much less eventful start to my 300 kilometre ride
than I did for the 200. At 2:30 am I crawled out of bed, got ready, and rode the
5 kilometres over to where I was meeting my ride . . . and this time large dogs did not
chase me! At 5:00 am 13 of us started our 300 kilometre ride (the route actually works
out to 318 kilometres!). The temperature was 10 degrees and there was a fairly strong
wind from the South (30 km/h) which made it a cross wind, and it was still dark.
||We split up into little groups of 2 or 3 almost immediately,
which is sort of unusual for us, and straggled through the first 100 kilometres, but the
girl I was riding with and I did it in 4:40 which wasn't too bad. At the 100 kilometre
break I put away an entire plate of French Toast which is also unusual for me because I am
rarely hungry on these rides.
After the 100 kilometre break we straggled out again, the second 100 was good because we had a bit of a tailwind most of the way, so we picked up the pace and did it in about 3:45. 4 of the riders were quite a bit a head of us, 2 of the riders on a tandem had dropped out (they were just along for the start of the ride to sort of see what it was like.), but the remaining 7 of us regrouped at the 200 kilometre break.
I blasted out of the 200 km break with a pile of energy that I couldn't explain and had the rest of them hanging on for dear life! For the next 70 kilometres I pulled. We had a very gusty and shifting cross wind the whole way, which was challenging. It had been threatening rain the whole way and about 25 kilometres along this stretch it started sprinkling, which was OK, we could deal with that . . . and then all of a sudden a wall of water nailed us! It was totally unexpected since it came from the opposite direction that the wind had been blowing, and we could hardly stay upright on our bicycles. We all dismounted and stood there with our backs to the wind and rain and just let it pelt us. After about 5 minutes it had subsided a bit, and we kept moving slowly and then about 15 minutes later, as quickly as it had started, it stopped. I never did totally dry off, but at least that was all there was too the rain that day!
The last 10 kilometres of that 70 kilometre stretch was a difficult one for me because a tendon in the back of my left knee and the sciatic nerve in my right leg really started bothering me.
We had supper at the 270 mark and continued cycling into a strong headwind. Part way along, the 6 remaining riders in our group (one guy had dropped out because of a knee problem) decided to try an organized paceline where we each did 2 minute pulls. I think only 3 of us had done one, and although I've done them, I am not fond of them, so it was a learning experience for most of us. It actually went quite smoothly and the 30 kilometres into the wind passed quite quickly. After a short stop, we set out on the last 20 kilometres of the ride. One of the other guys had a burst of energy on that stretch and 3 of us hung on as he rocketed down the road. I think we averaged 27 km/h for those 20 kilometres which seemed incredibly fast for the last 20 kilometres of a 318 kilometre ride!! But we finished the ride in 17:25 . . . 25 minutes slower than last year.
A few additional points of interest: