Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bridgewater Century Ride - Aug 27 2011

I headed down to the South Shore to cycle the  Bridgewater Century ride today under blue skies and bright sunshine. With Hurricane Irene blowing up the Eastern seaboard the timing of the ride was perfect....tomorrow looks like wind and rain.


Ran into clubmate Scott in the parking lot awaiting our police escort through town. Not quite sure how many riders were out today but it was a good size pack heading through downtown Bridgewater .


The police escort delivered us to Hebbville where the ride began in earnest as we proceeded out towards Wileville on the first leg of the 110(ish) km loop. I was unsure what my ride plans were at that point. I was considering attempting to hang with the lead(fast) group for the challenge but also wanted to enjoy the beautiful day, car free roads and scenery at a easier pace. I also had camera in tow and planned to snap some photos of the event as it unfurled from my perspective while on the bike.
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I closed the gap to the lead pack to get some photos as we approached Newcombville but it was already stringing out from the early tempo.Good to see AH and CP from the Bike Barn mixing it up near the front. Nice!


Once we hit the rollers on the Chelsea road I was starting to suffer that little bit holding the line of riders in the lead group. It was a cold start from the startline for me after the 60 minute commute from Halifax and the legs were being stubborn so I sat up and awaited the next group on the road to get a photo opportunity.

The chase was on as I remounted and began to reel in several riders eventually catching AB, the ride organizer, in Chelsea along with a couple other fellas. We stayed together until the first checkpoint in Buckfield before heading down through Middlewood towards the coast.


The pavement was choppy(Nova Scotian cobbles) through this section but there was NO traffic. We had the whole lane to ourselves which was prime beyond words. At this point we were about ten minutes behind the lead group but just maintained a steady tempo enjoying the ride and conversation.

video


 A group of four we passed over the dirt section of the course unscathed and back on pavement as we crossed the 103 highway heading to Vogler's Cove and the ocean.A different element to the usual century ride format the hard packed dirt Overhill road just adds some flare to the event. Kinda cool to be honest in a CX/Euro kinda way.


Anticipating the climb to Mount Pleasant I was taken unawares by the long ascent in Cherry Hill. I don't recall it from last years ride but it was a long steady climb. I rode it at a good pace and had some remnants of the lead pack(s) in my sights but all the hydration meant I needed a nature break. Finding a suitable side road I waved my companions onwards promising to chase back on. Time trialing back to the (now) larger group I caught them just before Rissers beach.


It seemed one of the cyclists had touched a wheel and crashed(at some point) so AB waved down the motorcycle support and we stopped to make sure he was ok. Road rash and some stiffness in his shoulder he opted to  continue to ride. AB and I decided to stay with him and shepherd him to the next checkpoint before the climb to Mount Pleasant. There he felt good enough to continue so the three of us made for home on the last leg of the loop. The pace was relaxed as we were concerned for our injured companion and took it easy until we entered Bridgewater and crossed the finish line.

It was a good day. The sun was scorching and I got the tan lines to prove it. I was hydrating like crazy but still my old nemesis - cramping - was one hard sprint away for the last 10 kms. Escorting in a downed rider was  about all I was capable of doing at that point if I wanted to avoid some cranky quads. Ended up with a 29.1 kph average over 106 kms according to my cycle computer.

 
Ride day nutrition was fine. I had a sweet potato, 3 eggs and cukes for breakfast with a small bowl of blueberries, coconut milk and  cinnamon before leaving for Bridgewater. Other than a banana at the 75km point my "on the bike" food was water only. No issues whatsoever in terms of energy other than the impending cramping I felt rising as we approached the finish. Hydration remains an issue for me on longer efforts and/or in hot conditions.


Sometimes it is a challenge to ride with unfamiliar cyclists in a big group so I was content spending most of the day in smaller groups comprising of 3 -4 riders. AB and I stayed together for most of the 105(ish) kilometres which was prime as he is a solid, steady cyclist. Thanks for the company!

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