I signed up for this Lance century, and some of you were good enough to donate in my name, thank you. The ride started on time 6,500 cyclists doing 6, 30, 70 or the full century. Sheryl Crow sang the US National Anthem, Robin Williams entertained and Lance went off with the first group. I left about 35-mins later, and there was some concern from the people I was with that we wouldn’t make the 30-mile cut-off in 2-hours from the start, in order to do the full century.
So we set off at a reasonable 16mph given all the other riders it was difficult to go much faster safely. In fact in the first 5-miles I counted 6-crashes, some serious. By the 3rd mile the crowds had started to thin, we picked up the pace and were soon averaging 25mph... I took my turn at the front and kept the speed up, after a couple of miles I turned back to see why no one else was taking their turn at the front.... they were no where to be seen, Whoops.
Still pushed on and comfortably blew through the 30-mile checkpoint in 1hr 24mins, feeling pretty good at this stage, worked hard to catch a big bunch up in front caught them at 46-miles only for them all to stop at the 48-mile rest stop. Quick p*e and refill the water bottle and off I went.
By now it was heating up in
OK... so at 64-miles I blew... couldn't crank the pedals, struggled to keep 14mph up and nothing much changed until mile 80 rest stop. It was a mad house, loads of food and water, powerade... people in costumes... screaming teenage girls... after a good stretch and some ice it was back on the bike... felt good for 10-miles or so but then got serious cramps. Fell off bike, laid on the verge for about 15-mins trying to stretch it out... my left calf looked like John Hurts stomach just before that thing burst out in the film. Finally managed to get back on, struggled to do much more than 10mph, got to a short hill and half way up was back off the bike again... this happened twice more before I finally found my way to the medical tent after 99.98-miles in 6hrs 30mins, A saline drip and ice towels, 15-mins later I emerged tired but none the worse. Run a marathon afterwards ? - Not me.
Fantastic event, brilliant support, loads of freebies, great expo, after the race they had free pints of Guiness(??) a band, pizza and more. The roads were in pretty good condition, but it was very hot and windy for a century but overall a great experience. I may do it again next year, only this time I'll ride with my HRM.
I rode in honour of my Aunt, Winnifred Tomlinson who has some serious cancers and is undergoing treatment, and in memory of Ian Parrish of IBM UK, a similar age to me, Ian died from cancer earlier this year. We worked together from 1987-1990
Update Jan, 2005: Sadly my Aunt passed away earlier this month. She was a pleasure to know, one of those strong people you meet from time to time who seems to have done nothing but good in her life.
My ride day pictures
News report and video from KXAN36 from the Expo before the event
News report and video from News 8 Austin of the event/ride