Saturday, January 4, 2014

As Maxwell Smart Used to Say...

...Missed it by that much!

I signed up for another Strava Challenge. This one is called the Gran Fondo 1. I have to do 130km in one ride between Jan. 1st and Jan. 31st.

Jeff had mapped out a 71 miler that, with the addition of the miles it takes me to get to and from the ride, would give me about 84 miles--enough to complete the challenge. Now, that doesn't mean I can do 84 miles at the pace of the guys! But, no problem! Gather the Chicks! Jean and I put it out there that we wanted to do the whole route, but at a Chick Ride pace. We had 6 of us that agreed to do, at least, most of it (Jean and I would still do the whole thing). 

So, we made our plan...

We would start with the guys at the park and stay with them until the intersection of Case and Maytown Rds. There, we would regroup with just the gals, and continue on. Maria was going to meet us at Case and 183rd (the next major intersection). As we were riding along, at a reasonable pace, with the guys, Jeff suggested we stay with them until 183rd. I was a little nervous because there are some hills after Maytown Rd, and I was afraid we would drop some of our gals. Jeff convinced us that they would not hammer that section, so we agreed to "try". Well, we did it! We managed to all stay together! As we neared 183rd, we could see Maria heading our way. She turned around, and joined the group.

At Case and 183rd, we bid goodbye to the guys. We continued on, doing a little rotating paceline (spending just 1 minute on the front before drifting to the back). In Grand Mound, we abandoned the rotating, and I took the lead on 99. There was just too much traffic, and I knew where we would turn.

We exited Old 99 at Oregon Trail Rd, then turned onto Prather. I was thinking that Prather would be pretty easy. I even mentioned to Geraldine that I thought it was strange that we wouldn't have to climb to get to the top of the ridge before going left down Michigan Hill Rd. The reason it was so strange was because I was wrong! We definately had to climb. However, it wasn't as bad as either side of Michigan Hill.

We did the thrilling descent down Michigan Hill to Lincoln Creek. As we were pedaling along Lincoln Creek Rd on our Way to Manners Rd (another hill to go back over the ridge), Maria noticed Debbie's wheel was quite wobbly. She had had a flat a couple of weeks earlier, so we thought maybe her wheel just wasn't completely in the dropouts. We stopped, released the QR, and tightened it again. Debbie thought that made it a little better, but the wheel was still wobbling. I told her if she brought to my house later, I would true it for her. 

Manners Hill wasn't too terrible, and the ride down the other side was fun. We cruised along Independence Valley with Jean, Maria, and Debbie trying to decide where the finish was for IVRR (a road race that I did not do last season). I think they might have finally decided where it was, but...who knows--memory is pretty fickle when it comes to races.

After a chow/Ibuprofen break on 188th, we rode over to Moon Rd. The route called for us to go left, then loop back to Moon Rd after US 12. But, Maria still had to ride all the way back to Rainier, so she wanted to head straight back on Moon without doing the extra loop of 3 or 4 miles. We decided we would all go that way to stay together. I was worried about getting in enough miles for the challenge, but did it anyway.

As we were doing the rollers on Gate Rd, Debbie called out that she had a flat. Upon closer inspection, we realized the reason for her wobbly wheel. She had a broken spoke (what's the deal with spokes breaking? I broke one on last Thursday's Night Ride!). She also had a did Cindy (well, I'm not absolutely convinced Cindy actually had a flat--she hadn't inflated her tires before the ride today, so it's possible that her tire was just low, but we didn't want to get a short distance down the road only to have to change another flat). Maria and I worked with Debbie to fix her flat, and Geraldine helped Cindy. Since the spoke was hitting the seat stay, I wrapped it around its neighbor. It was clear now that the spoke had been broken all along. The good news was that she could at least get to Littlerock where her husband could come get her. The wheel appeared to not be any more wobbly than it was. However, there is always the increased potential of breaking another spoke once one is gone.

Debbie, Cindy, and Maria turned off toward Littlerock. Geraldine, Jean, and I continued up Waddell Creek Rd (me still chasing that Strava Challenge, and Geraldine chasing a personal goal of a 70 miler--her longest ever). 

The climb up Waddell isn't too bad, but I was starting to feel the miles in my legs. Maybe it was because I was on my race bike (nice weather and dry roads means a good day to haul out Tessa--I did swap out the rear race tire for a Schwalbe Durano Plus--there's still a bunch of sharp stuff on the roads), and I wasn't used to the different gearing. Who knows?...

Jean and I said goodbye to Geraldine at Dephi and 62nd. She was just moments from home (and it looked like she would achieve her goal). Jean and I came down to Black Lake, around to the other side of the lake, and up and over Sapp. At Capitol Blvd, Jean headed right to home, and I went left.

As I neared my neighborhood, I was over 80 miles according to my computer but, just to be on the safe side, I took the long way around to my house. When I stopped, I double checked Strava to make sure I had gone at least 80 miles. It said 80.5 (my computer is off a little as it said 82 miles). Woo Hoo! I had done it! I went ahead and uploaded the ride. When I got into the house, I checked Strava to see the finisher's badge. Much to my surprise, it had me listed as 99% complete at 129.6km. WHAT??? I was .4km short? Ahhh, CRAP! I guess 130km is a little longer than 80 miles. It is, in fact, 80.7 miles. Had I known that, I could have done one loop around in my neighborhood and been good. I missed it by that much!

But...I have another chance tomorrow! The planned route is 81 miles (that's without the ride to and from the start). Legs willing, I will really complete it tomorrow!

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