|Please don't rear end us|
I donned my new bike kit before Alyssa retrieved me to carpooled out to Union and registered, hit the bathrooms, filled up the bottles and were on the road before 9 a.m. In retrospect, we probably should have started earlier. Unlike last year, it was super hot today. But like last year, it was windy and trying.
When we were leaving the lot, Alyssa asked how far I wanted to go. I was planning on 62, but she suggested 75. And why not? I had nothing else going on today, what the hell.
The first rest stop came up quickly and was just as glorious as I recalled - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, granola bars, sliced oranges, peanuts, lemonade and water abounded.
|I like snacks|
|Rest stop 1|
However, then next 20-mile chunk was less pleasant. The wind whipped across the empty farm fields and left me breathless and sweaty, begging for shade and some kind of wind break. That second rest stop couldn't come soon enough.
Like a mirage in the desert, it appeared and we took a breather before committing to 75-miles of smiles and took out for an extra loop before returning to the aid station.
|Rest stop 2|
We pulled out for the last 20 miles home and knew it would be tough. We headed into the wind, and eventually encountered a brief, but heavy, rain. I also got reacquainted with the hill I remembered in the last mile of last year's ride. It was brutal.
When we arrived back at the car safely and stowed our bikes, we both set out for a short brick run. I got two miles done and was pretty happy that my second mile was 8:04 after more than four and a half hours on my bike.
But was I ever spent! Despite eating half a sandwich, an orange, cookies and tons of fluids at every stop, I had nothing left in the tank. By my best estimate, I have 150 ounces of water today, and didn't have to pee until hours later. Might have been a touch dehydrated ...
Time: 5:09:06 for 76.6 miles, brick run of 2 miles in 17:14
Cost: $35 for on-site registration
Pros: Well-marked course, great rest stops, included post-ride pasta lunch, approachable ride for all abilities
Cons: We had to park in a field that had grass high enough to concern me with our low-riding car, there were a few bumpy roads
Would I do this ride again? Sigh. If I were living in Illinois, I would add this century to my schedule every year.