This past weekend TriGirls Deanna, Bethany, Jill and I rode the Cap2Cap 100 miler--my first century ride of the season, and Bethany and Jill's first ever. Going into the weekend, my goal was to focus on nutrition and maintaining a steady pace. Previous long rides have proven tough--I inevitably start out too fast and have shorted myself on calories. By the end I am dying, and transition runs afterward have really suffered.
I should've done more prep work the night before to give myself more time to focus on breakfast. As it was, I was a little late getting out of the house that morning (surprise surprise), but collected Jill and we headed downtown to the ride start. At check in, we ran into my painter/drywaller Tim (who I had talked into signing up). The morning went quickly as we loaded up our food and waterbottles, and applied sunscreen. The on site bike guys got my tires all pumped up and soon it was time to go.
Many fellow triathletes were not riding that morning, instead they were racing the Kinetic Half Iron race up in Lake Anna. IronGreg, Tyler, and Bart (all signed up for Placid), ProKaren, and a few others were riding Cap2Cap, but I didn't think I'd be able to hang on their wheels. They're crazy fast! The start was quite crowded, and the first 5-6 miles of the bike Jill and I lost Bethany and Deanna. We were toodling along at a good clip though, and figured we might catch them at a food stop. At 8am it was already pretty steamy--I tried not to think about how hot it was going to be.
The first food/water stop came early--at mile 9 or 10. We were good on everything, so just sailed past. The early part of the course was familiar and pleasant; most of it we had used for our 70 and 80 mile routes last year and wound through the Richmond Battlefields park. At one point riding along Route 5, we saw a fox darting through the woods! We made it to mile 27 in about an hour and a half and there found Bethany and Deanna. They had tried valiantly to hang on to Karen's wheel but wisely decided to go their own pace. By this point it was already pretty sweltering, so we loaded up on water, salt tabs, and bananas, took potty breaks, and headed back out.
There was another stop before the halfway point, and we used it to fill our water bottles since they had icewater. Nothing beats a quick squirt of really cold water on the face when it's 90 degrees. We were working hard, keeping a pretty good pace and looking forward to mile 50 at Chickahominy State Park, just outside Williamsburg. The riders who had started from there for shorter rides were starting to filter back in for lunch. Their food looked so good, but we were relegated to a smaller tent with not-so-interesting bananas, granola bars, and gatorade. Grabbing water bottles from a cooler of ice was great and I was sorely tempted to just climb in it myself. Whew.
Heading out of Chickahominy, we ended up following a good portion of the Patriot Half Iron course. "I peed in those woods...", "I remember this hill...." were familiar refrains. Too soon we lost all the glorious shade, and were riding along fields in the blazing sun. Deanna, looking strong, took a big lead on Patriot Sangria, while I was just trying hard to keep up with Bethany. Jill and Tim were doing great. Mile 75 at the Courthouse was a welcome potty, ice water, and sit-in-the-shade spot. Those last 25 miles are always the worst, not just physically but mentally. Somehow we missed the turn just outside the rest stop area and ended up taking the wrong way home. Luckily however the mileage was the same, and the route had much more shade than the official course. Tim ended up taking the pull for the last 10 miles into Rockett's landing. We pulled in, snapped a quick "Thank God we survived that" picture, and headed to the beer tent.
Century #1 for the season in the bank. Bethany and Jill did great on their very first century ride, and that will serve them well as they both prepare for their first IMs later this year. Deanna and I were scheduled to do a short transition run, but it was so darn hot we put it off for the following day. I'm glad I did. It was Mother's Day, the weather was gorgeous, and I got to run the last 2 miles with my daughter. A great end to a great weekend!