Monday, June 15, 2009

Le Tour de Cure....part deux

Ok, I really, really underestimated the Tour de Cure this year...IT was much harder than I was anticipating. Fun, but surprisingly difficult. I never knew Irmo, SC had so many hills. I did plan it out pretty well this year by getting a room ahead of time to rest up for a full day of road riding, but never planned on climbing in and out of the saddle all day long. The Tour de Cure occurred on Saturday, June 13, 2009. It was a nice cool 8am start with a surprisingly large crowd. I was riding with team "Low Country Fat Tire Freaks". All were present and accounted for. Luke Farrow rode up with me late Friday night as he was planning on completing his first semi-metric century (60ish miles). I really knew the heat was going to be my worst enemy all day long, but had not factored in the amount of climbing I would be doing. So just like that, we were off and running with no real idea of what was in store. I started slow to keep myself in check and not try and go chasing after the lead pack because this was not a race, it was a ride....That kind of focus worked great until about a few miles in and I realized the heat was only going to get worse. I started to unconsciously up my pace trying to find a moderate paceline to keep me moving but not have to work so hard. The first thing I realized was that riding with more experienced riders than myself, such as the Lowcountry Volkswagon Team, I was able to more comfortably understand when it was time to shift the paceline. I other words, I had become somewhat of a "cyclist snob". Some of the riders I was riding around were noticeably less experienced in holding a steady line and it made me nervous. I knew this would expend more energy by trying to hold a slow line in a dangerous pack, so I broke away from the mid pack and started trying to chase down the leadpack alone. I was feeling good about 40 miles in, so I kept a great 18-22mph pace. The winds were relatively calm which was why it was so dang hot, but helped with riding solo. I picked up another fast guy who was also looking to chase down a more organized pack, so we started a duo-paceline. It worked out really well for the next 20 miles, but shortly afterwards, I started to feel my legs fade a little, and ran very low on water, so I made the decision to stop at a rest stop and refuel. I mentioned to the other rider that I was fading and I may not be able to ride further with him. About 10 miles in, I had realized I forgot to turn on my GPS again, doh! Shortly afterwards, we picked up a third rider and although he seemed to undertstand how tired I already was, once we got moving again he wanted to try and push me harder. I dropped the group and watched them sprint away like there was a only 5 miles left. I dropped my pace down considerably and focused on keeping my heartrate in zone 3 and taking it easy on the climbs. I actually ran across Nick Latto, our team captain, on the next to last rest stop. He had taken a wrong turn somewhere and was looking at only completing around 80 miles today...which is still NOT bad at all! My strategy really worked well for me in terms of energy control. I felt great coming back into town and started to pass a ton of people who had entirely blown up from going out too hard in the beginning. I tapped into my reserve energy at 10 miles to go and broke away from all the trailing people trying to draft on my tail. I held it all the way up to the finish and rode right up to the lunch counter to fix myself up a plate of some good food! Surprisingly, the guys who had dropped me earlier finished 5 minutes after I did....interesting. Don Watts and Luke had already completed their ride and were in great shape! Beers were consumed and food was devoured. Excellent end to a great ride! What a great day!



Garmin GPS recap:

Check out this Garmin Connect activity: Tour de Cure Century - Irmo, SC
Tour de Cure Century - Irmo, SC

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