June 9, 2001
Bicycle:  Bike Friday New World Tourist
Ride Info: MACC Fund
After a great start to the year in March and early April, things just kind of fell apart after my 200K brevet fiasco. Not only was my brevet season a bust, but a big list of goals went up in smoke with it. I only managed 10-40 miles per week  with my biggest outing being a ride to Streamwood and back on Mother's Day (30 miles each way with a three-hour gap between).
The past couple months of training went like this...
Wed.-Thu.: decide to do an organized event ride on upcoming Sunday.
Fri.: decide to do a solo local ride Saturday morning, plus a Sunday ride
Sat.: sleep, look out at lousy weather, log into www.cyclingnews.com to follow live Giro de Italia report or whatever, think about doing Sunday ride
Sun.: blow off ride because I either don't feel like driving there or I stayed up too late Saturday, sleep too late to ride city streets without traffic, ride 30-50 minutes on the trainer watching Tour de France videos instead.
So it may have been a mistake to expect myself to be able to complete the Trek 100 in Pewaukee, Wiscowsin on June 9. Still, I wanted to do the ride for the charity, Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, plus for sentimental reasons since it was my first century ever last year. I really should have done the 100K, but I went for 100 miles instead. After a pathetic 2.5 hours of sleep and a 100-mile drive, I began with unreasonably high hopes and went out too fast. Then I followed several hundred riders who made a wrong turn around mile 7. It turned out we had followed a sign for the 25 mile ride instead of the century. The extra four miles didn't kill me, but my morale was wounded. As any endurance athlete knows, morale is critical, even more important than condition. Another morale killer was a minor mechanical problem, a knocking in my cranks/bottom bracket that got worse as I climbed hills. As luck would have it, the next rest stop didn't have a mechanic, so I soft-pedaled for the next ten miles, trying not to make it any worse. Along the way, I met a guy who owned a Bike Friday Family Traveler, a tandem version of the bike I was riding. He was riding a road bike at that moment, but we talked about how much we like our Bike Fridays and how people who have never ridden them don't understand that the gearing is just like a bigger-wheeled bike (I had a fight with my uncle about that very topic on Mother's Day--he refused to believe that the different gears balanced out the wheel size difference. He didn't even ride the bike himself, but he claimed it was an " engineering principle." Funny, I've never found a real engineer who agreed with him!). The mechanic at the next stop pulled out an allen wrench the size of a crowbar, stuck it in the left side of my BB, gave it a few turns, and everything was fine. No way I could have put that much torque on my Alien multi-tool!
I spent some time waiting in line for the repair, so with that and the wrong turn, I was definitely toward the back of the crowd. The route was different from last year's, especially since it ran clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. It started in Pewaukee, then headed southwest through the Kettle Moraine area, then north through lake country, including Oconomowoc, then west around Lac La Belle, north and east to Monches, then back south and east through downtown Pewaukee. I had it in my mind from last year that the southern part was hilly, but of course the whole thing was hilly. By 45 miles, I knew it wasn't my day. Whether it was poor training, lack of sleep, whatever, I already wanted to quit--it wasn't fun anymore. I continued on at a slower pace, following a couple guys on mountain bikes who I definitely would have passed in a different mindset. As it was, I had to sit up to slow down on the downhills to stay behind. I was dying on the hills and didn't want to get re-passed on the climbs. I began to think of myself as Mario Cipollini in the Alps. And we all know how many times Super Mario has crossed the Alps to finish Le Tour (never). The miles passed slowly. I was sore everywhere. By 65 miles, I was all alone, and I knew there were few riders behind me. Around 70 miles, the route played a cruel joke... this road had buckles every 10-12 feet, and after so many miles, my butt was getting seriously sore.
At the 77 mile rest stop, I was totally spent. The hills and the heat were overwhelming me. One nice thing about the Trek 100 is that the rest stops are coordinated with indoor restroom facilities. I went inside the school and washed the salty, dirty crust of electrolytes and road grime off my face. That helped a lot, but I still sat there for awhile contemplating how and why I should quit. I couldn't find a good enough excuse, and since I had quit the 200K in April, I really didn't want to start a trend, either. I decided to continue. Things improved slightly, maybe because cleaning my face made me feel more fresh. The constant hills were still rough, but I wasn't feeling quite so miserable. By the last rest stop at 92 miles, I was actually feeling okay. In fact, the last eight miles flew by, even with a few tough hills. I was going to finish this darn thing!
Finally, I returned to the college where we had started. It was my slowest century by half an hour, 7:24 riding time for 103.5 miles (including the wrong turn) for an abysmal 14.0 mph average. From talking to SAG crews, I estimated that there were only 5 to 10 out of 1900 riders behind me. The post-ride party was over, the food was gone, and worst of all, they were folding up the massage tables. If ever in my life I needed a massage, it was then!
I folded up my Bike Friday and put it in the backseat, then started driving home. As usual, about 20 minutes later I was overwhelmed with complete exhaustion. I found a quiet corner of a parking lot and slept for about 20-30 minutes. Then I was fine to drive home. Do others  experience this after long rides or runs? It's fairly consistent that 20 minutes down the road I get really tired (I mean eyes-closing-almost-involuntarily tired), but just a short nap is enough to make me feel awake for a few hours.
Well, the Trek 100 wasn't pretty, or even a good idea, but I did it. Yet instead of feeling victorious for finishing, I lamented how difficult it had been and how out of condition I had become. The rudest awakening was at a physical exam three days later: I was roughly 20% heavier than my marathon weight. Yikes.
Although it turned out to be not one of my better rides, I had pre-ordered a jersey:
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