The first 25 miles went by super easy. Sunny skies, in and out of different groups, and cruising at around 18 mph.
After the first rest station, where I pounded 3 cupcakes and an orange, we got a little lost. The groups had split up, there was nobody in front of us, and we must have missed a turn. Ace and I (plus another poor guy who followed us) started down some roads that didn't look too familiar (we had both ridden this section last year). I was able to guide us back on course using some side roads around Galway, and it turned out that we actually cut off a little of the course (about a mile and a half).
The middle 50 miles didn't feel so bad. There were a couple of big hills, but they weren't so tough. We stopped at another rest area for water. I ate an energy muffin and a half PB&J Sandwich, plus I stuffed some cliff bars in my back pocket. After around 70 miles we made the climb up to the Conklingville Dam. This was probably the hardest climb of the day. Here's Ace at the top:
It clouded up a little as we coasted down towards the Hadley Bow Bridge, but we were still feeling pretty good physically and mentally.
I started really feeling it in my legs around 80 miles in, right about the time I took this picture of Ace:
The last section would have been pretty easy riding on a normal day, but because I knew I was in the homestretch, every little roller of a hill felt like a beast of a mountain. I kept looking as the odometer, and expecting it to say a higher number (preferably, a number really close to 100). Eventually, I pounded the two cliff bars in my pocket, drank some water, and felt better about turning the cranks. I crossed the finish line, rode around a little bit to make up for the section that we cut off when we got lost, and there it was:
Here's the complete route, including the slight detour when we got lost and additional riding at the end to make it an even 100:
I felt pretty good when I finished, and I feel pretty good today. I think that, with proper fuel, water and energy, I could go even longer. Not saying I want to do a RAAM or an Ironman anytime soon (I don't think I could possibly comprehend the idea of running a marathon right after I finished), but I think I could be persuaded to do another century in the fall . . . An off-road century, something like the White Rim in a day seems like it'd be fun. For now, though, I'm going to have some leftover pizza and beer from last night's post ride celebration. I bet it won't taste as good as it did yesterday.