I had double-whammy events this weekend, and here is the recap for Round 1.
My good friend Patti asked me a while ago about joining her in the 8th Annual 100K “Spin the Lakes” Cycle Tour in beautiful (mountainous) Muskoka. Patti and I have always had a bit of an unspoken agreement that we rarely say no to each other’s crazy ideas/suggestions (such as, The Goofy Challenge, running the Chicago Marathon dresses as M&Ms, Ironman Lake Placid…). So, I was in even though I had already signed up for a Sprint Triathlon the following day. At the time it made some sense since I was still training for Lake Placid and cycling regularly. After backing out of IMLP and returned my focus to running, however, I all but quit cycling and have only been getting out on the bike about once a week. My longest ride in the last 2 months was 50K. 100K on an extremely hilly route? Surrrre that still sounds like a good idea. 🙂 I knew I would have fun regardless, so I was ready to roll.
The day started fairly early with a 2-hour drive to Huntsville. I met up with Patti and friends around 8:30 to sign in for our 9:30 start. It was a cold but sunny morning – around 6 degrees C (43F) at the start. And as we would learn later, it was very windy as well! I ended up wearing compression socks, bike shorts, a long sleeve shirt, jacket on top, gloves and a headband under my helmet. For the most part, I was comfortable throughout the ride.
5 of us set out together, but quickly got separated among the pack. It was fairly crowded for the first 10K or so, and we knew our group would be riding at different speeds anyway. Patti and I stuck together and chatted here and there with new friends along the way. I enjoyed myself a lot more once riders thinned out – I am not a fan of being crowded on the bike, or riding in groups in general.
I should mention that I took my hybrid and was definitely the only doing doing the 100K without a road bike. I find it a lot more comfortable, even over long distances. And I like the extra challenge, apparently!
Most of the route is the same as the Muskoka 70.3 course (with a loop added to the last part) which means hills, hills and more hills. There really aren’t any flat stretches at all – constant climbs and descents. I would describe the first third as hard, the middle third as moderate and the final third as CRAZY! There were three aid stations along the way, around 35K, 60K and 80K and they kept me going all day. I really needed the mental break each time to get off the bike, stretch my legs and have some food (they were well stocked with fluids and Honey Stinger gels/chews/waffles) before tackling the next section.
The distance really started catching up to me after about 75K. It was a grind, and of course this brought the toughest parts of the course. I actually had to get off and push my bike up two hills (the second time it was because my hamstring cramped up), which I have never done before. Ever. So, I basically had my ass handed to me. I was very fortunate and grateful to have Patti stick it out with me, or I may have ended up road kill by the end of the day.
At long last, we made it back at 105K in a little over 4.5 hours (riding time – total closer to 5). What a day!