Sunday; June 7 2009 America's Most Beautiful Century
This ride certainly earned it's name as Americas Most Beautiful Ride. Sue and I drove up Friday morning in order to get accustomed to the Altitude. It took us 5 hours to get up there because I missed our exit while deep in conversation. The first thing we did was hit the outlets. No tax in Reno! There was a Pearl Izumi store there and they were having a HUGE sale. I bought a Jacket because I thought wearing my rain jacket which didn't breathe would not be good for a 100 mile ride. This Jacket I had seen near home and wanted it but couldn't rationalize buying a $120 Jacket which would never be cold enough to wear on a ride, then I saw it in Austin on sale for $85 but didn't want to spend the money, then I saw it there on sale for $75 dollars and then to find out we got 15% for doing the ride and ANOTHER discount for being in TNT! Yee Haw!
After our shopping win. We drove the long way to Susie's condo in order to see Spooner which is a 9 mile climb which begins at mile 80. I'm glad we did this because we were able to observe the fact that Spooner would go up then flatten out and go up again. There were a couple of steep parts but it seemed that these little flat parts were well placed. We got to the condo to see Mary Anne, Linda, and Susie. We had a glass of wine at cocktail hour then had a DELICIOUS pasta dinner cooked by Susie. MMMM! We went to bed early and had a very good nights sleep. In the morning we had breakfast and headed to packet pickup noting that the weather never hit above 45 and it was noon!
After packet pickup we went for a shakedown ride. My teams ride was canceled due to the heavy rain but I went with another team to make sure my bike was ok and my new Jacket would work for the ride. I got back to my room soaking wet and COLD from the waste down. My Jacket did it's job beautifully. That night we had a great pasta dinner with fantastic speakers and came back to the room at 9. Kristin and I ended up talking until midnight which was particularly bad because we were meeting our teams at 5:45 and 6. Our wake up call came way too soon at 5AM. I ate my peanut butter and banana bagel and went down to meet my team. Walking back I noticed my cleat was loose. Not a good sign having loose cleats before the ride even began...actually both cleats were loose. I tightened them just in time to meet the team for our ride. Our team consisted of Head Coach Tom, Me as ride support and participants Louise, Sarah, Santosh, Tom, and Kathie. We went outside to see a beautiful morning beginning. NO RAIN!
The beginning of the ride was slightly downhill and nice. Around mile 8 the climb up Emerald Bay which was a 3 mile 500 foot climb. I was a little bit nervous with the heights. It was just hard looking at the fast way down. At mile 13 we hit our first rest stop towards the end of the climb. One nice thing about this ride is that they collected your things at the first 3 rest stops to be returned at the end of the ride. I shed my Jacket and chose to stick with just my base layer, Jersey, Arm Warmers and Leg warmers. A decision I would be satisfied with for the remainder of the ride. Before we left the stop we took the opportunity for a photo opp at Inspiration point.
The ride down the other side of Emerald Bay was a super fun downhill. On the way down I felt like Mrs. Popularity. I saw Cheryle, Sean, Sabine, and Mary all people who were not there with the team. The next stop was at mile 26. I felt fantastic and everyone on the team looked great. Tom was having a bit of a challenge keeping up with the team but was certain he was going to finish. I had been riding with him since the beginning and he told me that I could leave him and that his wife Kathie would ride with him. I didn't want to leave him behind.
Then we started on the bike path to Truckee The problem with the bike path is that you pretty much had to go single file because the course came back on the same path. It was really nicely paved but there were poles in the middle of the path which we had to watch. We got through nicely and then got back on the Truckee road. At this point I saw Peter on the side of the road with an ambulance assisting him. I was very worried about him and could see my heart rate jump on my monitor. I was also worried because I knew his fiance Charlotte had not yet passed and wished I could warn her. Turns out he got a good deal of road rash and a broken thumb. Too bad he had to fall but it could have been MUCH worse.
After the 12 mile downhill to Truckee we had the 3rd rest stop at mile 47. Everyone was doing FANTASTICALLY! At this point we made the decision to let Tom and his wife Kathie complete the ride on their own as there was a lot of climbing yet to come and we wanted to pick up the pace. We easily made the climb back out of Truckee to continue around the lake. In fact we were all commenting on the fact that we see the hill there but it just didn't feel like the incline it was.
The best part about a climb is the decent. We hit a great descent at incline village and Sarah was taking them expertly. I stayed on her tail. We got to the top of the next hill only to find that we'd dropped everyone. Shortly after Louise and Santush caught up. But where was coach Tom? While we waited we took photos
We waited for a while so we called him and it turns out he was looking for Sarah who was with me. He told us to go ahead and meet us at the Kings Beach Lunch Stop at mile 71.It was such a nice stop. They had sandwiches, chips, and brownies. A lot of people put there feet in the water. It was tempting but I didn't want to take the chance of having sand on my feet or something. We also added Carl to our group. He was in a faster group but was bonking. He had eaten but was taking a little extra time at this stop. The first thing we encountered after lunch was a climb. Apparently, Carl thought we were too slow for him because he took off after riding with us for about 20 minutes. We did some nice rollers and then hit the dreaded Spooner Hill. An 9 mile 750 foot climb at mile 80. It was hot and the climb was long but we just spun at a consistent pace and we all made it to the Top where there was a rest stop. We ended up spending about 20 minutes at this rest stop due to the long porta john line and a bit of dawdling. Right before we left Carl showed up. Apparently, he had pulled over to take a nap!
The descent down Spooner was AMAZING. 8 miles of down on freshly paved road with considerate riders who stayed to the right while Sarah and I passed on the left at 47 mph. This is a feeling I will never forget. What a rush!
The last 4 miles had some rollers. I was distracted by the fact that there was a temperamental unicyclist amidst. He would start screaming when he would get to the crest of a hill to see the next roller ahead of him. I think he was done. I just wonder how he made it down Spooner on that thing!
Way too soon was the finish line. What a fantastic ride. I was so proud of everyone for bringing their A game and really putting out a strong showing. I am definitely doing this ride again next year!