Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back Roads Century

I usually like to write event recaps within a week or two afterwards so that I can record all of the little details while they are still fresh in my mind. Not so much with the Back Roads Century...it has been nearly 2 months since we did this ride so I'm sure I'll be leaving some stuff out. Thankfully I have a cue sheet to cheat off of. I'm not quite sure why it has taken me so long, but I'll blame my usual business and lack of a desire to look at a computer screen in the evenings after I've been looking at it all day at work. Anyways...on to the recap!

On September 22, Andrew and I rode our first century (that's 100 miles for my non-cyclist readers) at the Back Roads Century, which started and finished in Berryville, VA.

I'm very glad the ride was on Sunday instead of Saturday, because Saturday was nothing but rain, and lots of it. It rained on us the entire way up there and continued to rain through the evening. Thankfully the rain was supposed to clear out before the ride. The morning temps were forecasted to be a bit chilly but it ended up being a perfect day!

We got up there in the late afternoon, checked into the hotel, and met up with Jen (another cyclist from Roanoke) at Ruby Tuesday's for some dinner. After that Andrew and I went back to the hotel, laid everything out for the morning and went to bed early. It took me quite a while to fall asleep, though...I feel like that always happens the night before big events like this just because my mind will not.stop.racing. But thankfully once I was asleep I didn't wake back up until the alarm went off.

In the morning we ate our breakfast in the room - I had brought some of my usual pre-ride waffles with almond butter and honey. I took a shower to warm up, wake up, and start out feeling fresh. We got ready, checked out, and we were on our way to the start by around 6:15.

It was rather chilly when we got there so I was a little indecisive about what to wear. I decided to go with my long-finger gloves, arm warmers, vest, thicker Balega socks, and no leg or knee warmers. And of course I was sporting my Team Tough Chik kit.

I made a quick stop at the restroom and realized the most amazing thing...since cycling is such a male-dominated sport, there were NO lines for the women's restrooms!! And there was a rare sight...the line for the men's room was out the door. Anyways, a funny and interesting observation.

We rode around the corner to the high school and we were rolling out a little after 7. There was a little bit of congestion at the beginning before everyone spaced out a little bit. The beginning of the ride was just absolutely stunning with the sun just coming up and casting long shadows across the road. As the name suggests, the ride was on all back roads that weaved through "farm country" in the northern tip of Virginia and, in the first half of the ride, through parts of West Virginia.

That's me! Jen has some mad skillz to take pictures while she's riding.

The first rest stop came at Mile 25 at South Jefferson Park, which was plentifully stocked with snacks, water, porta potties, and cheerful volunteers. After a short break, we were back on the bike for the second quarter of the ride.

The route is a figure 8 loop, so at the halfway mark we were back at the start, just around the corner from where we parked. I really appreciated this because I usually fuel with stuff that was not on the course (Nuun, Clif Shot Bloks, and my Caveman cookies), so I was able to re-stock, shed my vest, and stop by the bathroom. There was a rest stop set up at the high school, too, but I did most of my fueling at the car for this one. At the high school we met up with Andrew's mom, who came down from Pennsylvania to see us and followed us around for the second half of the ride!

off for the second half of the ride
The ride from here to the next rest stop was much of the same...beautiful scenery on gently rolling back country roads. Like I said, I don't remember a ton of details other than the fact that it was beautiful. At mile 64 we were at what was my favorite rest stop at the Burwell-Morgan Mill. Not only did you get to go inside of the mill and look around, but they had homemade boiled potatoes, which totally hit the spot...starchy, salty, and warm!!

One of the strategies that was suggested to the riders was to focus on the distance to the next rest stop. In the second half of the ride the rest stops came at mile 64, 79, and 92. That strategy definitely helped the ride to feel easier when you could tell yourself only xx miles until the next break!

The rest stop at mile 79 was at White Post Restorations where they had their "world famous" tomato sandwiches with cucumber, mayo (or hummus), salt, and pepper. Delish! Andrew had fun looking through the garage windows at the old cars inside the antique car restorations place.

After this rest stop we made our way through the rest of White Post, VA, which literally has a white post in the middle of town.

At this point I was riding into new territory as my longest ride before the century was 70 miles. I definitely knew I had enough left in the tank, but I think we were all starting to tire a bit. The rest stop at mile 92 was so refreshing because they had Rita's Italian Ice. I went with the guava flavor and it was sooo yummy.

After this rest stop we knew we just had 8 miles left until the finish, which was nothing compared to the 92 miles we had already ridden. It wasn't an easy coast to the finish though, because miles 94-100 were basically uphill. This climb probably wouldn't have felt so bad if we hadn't already ridden 96 miles. After this last push, we were back at the high school and had finished our first century!!

awkward picture of us eating ICE CREAM!! 

Woohoo!! After our ride we grabbed a bite to eat (a hot dog and some ice cream, unfortunately they were out of BBQ by the time we got there). We rode back to the car, changed clothes, and made our way back home. What a fun day! We were proud of ourselves for finishing our first 100 mile ride without too much trouble.

Final stats: 
Ride Time = 6:17
Total Time = 8:30 - hard to believe we spent >2 hours at rest stops...definitely didn't feel like it.
Elevation Profile =

I feel like I did a good job of fueling, although at times I felt like I was eating too much. I guess this helped me not to bonk though. I drank a ton of Nuun along the way, and I stayed properly hydrated as evidenced by the fact that I utilized the porta potty at every single rest stop.

I can't say enough good things about the Back Roads Century. The organization was top notch, the communication before and during the event was excellent, the volunteers were so friendly, the scenery was beautiful, and the nice weather was an added bonus. This is obviously a popular ride because this year and last, the rider cap of 2,300 was met. I would definitely do this ride again and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for an organized ride to do. If a century isn't your thing, there are also 25, 30, 50, and 65 mile routes.

So, will I do another century? Absolutely!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great time. A century ride sounds intimidating, but it would be something fun to do with my husband, since he's not a runner.


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