Sunday, September 19, 2010

2010 Joe Howe Century

 Being on the bubble all week I didn't decide to ride the Joe Howe until early this morning so I was curious how the legs would respond to the last minute decision. Unfortunately the weather forecast was dead wrong. No sun but rather cool temps under overcast skies with potential rain when we left Dartmouth.

Photo compliments of C Steinman

Photo compliments of C Steinman

 The first 40km was faster than I anticipated as two main groups and some solo riders all rode the section fairly briskly. There was quite a bit of mingling enroute. The BPCC squad was pacelining for the most part while a Cyclesmith group(?) was more relaxed and basically rode as a pack or two up. It was all good...when the two groups combined we had a peleton sized group but the traffic was light so it went smoothly.

  The second segment went smoothly with nice pavement and little traffic till the midway point and lunch. Held in a  Provincial park it required a slow ride in to the gathering point on gravel roads that definitely brought down average speeds. It had become quite cool with rain seemingly iminent but the cartons of hot coffee and good selection of foods made it  managable. The Starbucks coffee was awesome!

  Heading out on the third 40 km leg we had a huge group of riders but initially the pavement was smooth and the traffic was low. It was loads of fun with decent average speeds. Nearing Lantz that changed with increased traffic and chewed up pavement. The group was still quite big and at one point we had a log jam on the road. A nervous motorist was unable to pass the strung out group which resulted in a convoy of about 6 cars. I was on the back and was trying to pass word up the line for the lads to "single up" since it was getting rather dicey and we still had some guys up front riding 2/3 abreast. Since we were(probably) trying the patience of the motorists some harsh words were exchanged between some riders near the front. That was a shame since the combined groups all had cycled quite well all day.Fearing some motorist would become impatient and try to pass both cars and cyclists expediting the passing by singling up should be a simple thing.Guess it depends on everyone's personal point of view. Eventually the nervous driver and following convoy passed us and it was an uneventful ride the rest of the way into the checkpoint.

  The discussion about singling up continued at the checkpoint as I suspect some fellas took offense to the comments enroute but hopefully the parties involved all let bygones be bygones. Heading into the last 40 kms the large pack was split up which was a good thing on the busy Enfield/Fall River/Waverly road. Unfortunately the weather turned foul and started to rain. By this point us BPCCers were basically alone and, despite the rain, pushed the pace on familiar roads. About 7 kms from the end I was boxed in on a climb having slowed after my pull. With the passing riders to my left and a dropping rider in front we both got dropped on the climb. Working together and benefiting from a red light we did catch the group and all finished together.

   Ended up with just over 162 kms with a 33.8 kph average, including the slow ride to and from lunch in the park. In reality we probably averaged in excess of 34kph on the road. It was a tough but good day despite the one unfortunate misunderstanding/exchange of words in Lantz. Everyone, including some solo riders who latched on to the BP and CS groups rode strong and safe.

   Worse part of the day for me was the simutaneous quad cramps at home watching football later that day. Yikes! Talk about being incapacitated(wink)

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