Alright, the Hancock Horizontal Hundred is in the books, though I ended up doing the 66 mile route rather than the whole 100 miles. But still, that’s 100+ kilometers, so it’s still a long way.
I rolled up to the ride about 6:30 or so, and discovered that my front tire, that I had replaced the tube because of a broken valve a couple days before, was now flat again because of a broken valve. Good thing I keep more than one tube on hand.
The interesting thing about this century, maybe it’s all centuries, is that it doesn’t really have a starting time, I guess. People get rolling whenever they get there. It’s not really a race, it’s more something to accomplish. There weren’t any timing chips. So we jumped on the road about 7:15 and started rolling.
As you can see, there were people on the road ahead of us.
After heading out of town we got onto the flat country roads where we would spend most of our time. People started passing us, and it was really tempting to jump onto the back of one of the large groups. I’d love to do another century and jump onto the back of a group and ride with them. Those drafts are so powerful in a large group.
At 25 miles we encountered the first rest stop at a small town city park. They had donuts, fruit, muffins, and PB&J. Gotta say, those donuts were tasty. There was no worry of running out of calories on the bike.
Of course, there was also the line for the porta-potties.
I had to get a shot of the Michigan jersey. My brother did his masters degrees there. There were so many different jerseys…. It was really incredible how many different ones there were. Next year I’ll be sure to get the Team Revolution jersey.
These two ladies in purple were part of a group of six or so riders (three that typically rode around us). We called them the grapes. The three usually rode with the one on the left on her aero bars, the middle on her drops, and the third sitting up. Kinda like small, medium, and large. :) I wonder if they planned that.
Not too long after this I was sitting up and riding with no hands as I was grabbing a drink from a water bottle. I drifted right, drifted right, and got onto the gravel on the side of the road. I could tell that if I tried to do a quick correct back onto the road I was going to bite it. So I grabbed the handlebars and went down into the ditch on the side of the road. It was slightly more of a ditch than the one below. I figured if I would just ride the terrain and bank back up onto the road again, I would be OK. It didn’t really freak me out, I executed the plan. Fortunately I didn’t get a puncture or any negative consequences. My riding partner commented on the handling and said that it would have been really easy to wipe out. A couple ladies riding behind us felt that a crash would have been inevitable for them.
At 50 miles we encountered our second rest stop and lunch. Time for a good shot of the bike.
We got situated and grabbed some food. They had sandwiches, pasta salad, potato salad, and miscellaneous junk food.
There were a LOT of bikes parked at the lot. That kind of made me happy because it meant there were some people still behind us.
Speaking of interesting jerseys, here’s a Dr Seuss one.
At this point we decided that it was in our best interest to take the 16 mile route back to town rather than finish the 100 miles. We did the first 50 in 4ish hours, and there was no way that we were going to do the second half quicker than that, especially with the headwind we had that would be straight at us the last 30 miles.
As we were heading back we encountered the only two hills of the day: overpasses. Seriously. On the first one, my riding partner told me I could take the hill at any speed I wanted. So I dropped the hammer and did 23+ mph up the overpass. I FLEW past a number of other riders that were in front of me, and then cranked it on the descent. It was fun to rip it. I then pulled over in a driveway to wait and regroup. He thought it was great to watch me take off like that.
It was a fun time, and something I hope to do again. I got in a lot of one on one time with my friend and put in 66 miles. Here’s more proof that I did the ride. What is the patch for? I have no idea. The certificate only lasted long enough for me to take a picture of it.
In related news, I have the University of Dayton Outdoor Triathlon coming up this Sunday, and then another century the Sunday after that (though that will probably only be a 66 mile route as well due to the travel to and from Lansing). I’ll keep you posted!