|Start of the ride|
I enjoy participating in this ride because it's a relatively easy century that lends itself more to a social atmosphere than a "grit your teeth and finish" ride. And because, for the price of $82, the ride organizers promise rest areas and an all-you-can-eat buffet with free beer at the end of the ride. This year, my adventure actually began the day before the ride when I went downtown to pick up my registration materials. While standing in line, a massive thunderstorm rolled through the city. True to form, I was caught standing in the line without an umbrella as sheets of torrential rain fell on me. That was awesome. But it was still worth it since I hate standing in lines on the mornings of rides.
The next morning, I met up with a few friends at 7am in Babylon, the start location for the 100 mile ride (there are several distances that are offered for riders, including 30 miles, 70 miles, and 145 miles). We unpacked our bikes, packed our ride gear, and started rolling.
Early on in the ride, we got to talking about blogs and how so many of us take the advice of blogs so seriously. Despite spending much of my time at work talking about the rigors of double-blinded, placebo-controlled medical trials, I will easily accept as gospel what is written in some of the blogs that I follow regularly. In fact, we talked about a recent entry in Cycling Tips that discussed cramps and how hydration may not have anything to do with cramping. So in order to test this idea, I decided to limit my water intake and see what happened on this ride. No, probably not that smart... but I never said I was very bright.
By the time we hit the second rest area, the morning was starting to warm up. This second rest area had some issues because the ride organizers didn't really plan for riders needing... water. The line to get water was incredibly long and many of the riders were (understandably) annoyed that they had to stand in line for 20 minutes for water. Luckily, because I was not hydrating myself I didn't really care much about the water line. Thankfully, the bathroom line was much shorter since I did have to pee. After taking care of Nature's call and downing a Honey Stinger Waffle, I was ready to go.
Back on the road again, we wandered down to the south shore of Long Island and some of the beachfront properties that line the seashore. Riding through the aptly named Dune Road, we encountered some remnants of the recent thunderstorms that had passed through the area... namely 4 inch deep pools of water on the road. This was annoying. Not only did I end up driving through a few potholes because I couldn't see them in the water but I was also wearing my white shoes. They weren't that white after this section. Nor was my white jersey. Boo. On a brighter note, I did see Winnie the Pooh.
|Hello to Winnie the Pooh|
The third rest area was the best for one single reason. Pie. They served pie at the third rest area! How awesome is that? I suspect that having a bunch of blueberry and apple pie in the middle of the ride isn't really that good for you but they tasted so damned good that it was worth it. I finally decided that I should fill up at least one of my bottles for the last 30 miles of the ride. Until this point, I had drank just two bottles worth of hydration (42oz) and wasn't even feeling the beginnings of a cramp. Maybe it was true. Maybe hydration had nothing to do with cramping.
|One of the two "climbs" on the ride|
In any case, getting over this minor obstacle didn't faze our group much and we cruised into the finish area in high spirits. Everybody finished strong and I had only drank 3 bottles of water for the entire ride without cramping. One of the best things about this ride is that the organizers haul in a ton of showers for the riders to use after they finish... and at least for me, taking a shower to clean off the road grime after a long ride always feels awesome. Combine that with some free food and beer and most of the riders ended the day happy and satisfied.