Reston Century, August 22, 2010

I've been doing a fair bit of bicycling commuting recently, including a once/week RT 70 mile commute.
So I figured, Reston Century, a challenge I should easily be able to complete. Wrong! It was HARD! Here's the story...

While I knew I could finish (or so I thought), it was the time it would take that worried me. So I headed off right at starting time, 6:30 am (really about 6:27, but hard to read my computer in the dark). We headed west from Reston Town Center, first on surface streets in Reston and Herndon, then onto the W&OD (paved rails to trails). The Ashburn rest stop came at 10 miles--which seemed awfully soon.

Then we headed up north on road and skirted Leesburg on the north. I chatted with a guy with an "Illinois" jersey, as I was from Iowa. He was very friendly. This stretch had some hills, but nothing too noteworthy.

We then rode down south of Leesburg and on some decent hills. I did part of that route several years ago on a MORE Loudoun gravel road ride. This ride took us on just the paved part of that. We arrived at the Hamilton Station Rest area around 20 miles. This is the water and Gatorade refill spot.
Hamilton Station Rest area is the "big" rest stop and we visited it 3 times during the ride.

A weird thing happened at this bike rack. That's my bike you can see with the giant trunk bag on the left. I returned to my bike to get my water bottles to refill them. A guy was near my bike, so I stood back and waited for him. Then he said, "Hey, you bumped your bike and and landed into me and pushed me into my bike. I wasn't sure if he was talking to me, and then I thought maybe he was joking around. I was really confused and said, "I don't know what to say. I'm sorry." And he said, "That's what you're supposed to say." If I hadn't been so incredibly confused, I would have explained that I hadn't gotten within 1-1/2 feet of my bike and if my bike fell over, it wasn't me who did it. And he should be such a jerk and be so mean. But I was so confused I didn't have my wits about me. It's a shame there are such grouchy people in the world.

I may have been the slowest person to ride the entire hundred miles. This guy on a Specialized Sirrus (the same model os my old bike) and I passed each other back and forth quite a few times. He could ride the hills better than I, and I rode the flat and low hills faster. At the exact halfway point he had a flat. I stopped because he said it was about the 2nd tire he'd ever changed. But he did fine. It was good chance for me to rest.

This is looking back at the hill we'd just come up to arrive where at the flat tire. You can see that it's leveled out a bit from the steep part below. I used to ride this loop a long time ago, and it was fine as a 20 mile loop. But when you do it AFTER the 40 miles to get here, OMIGOD! By the time we got back to Hamilton Station, I was getting really tired of the hills. The sky was mercifully cloudy for the morning. The sun came out later in the afternoon. Normally that doesn't bother me too much, but it was brutal after all the hills.

After the Waterford loop, and a stop at Hamilton Station, we had to head down to Snickerville Turnpike and Airmont. I'd ridden this before, but now I was trashed. I walked about 4 of the hills. Eventually we made it back to Hamilton Station and the ride was going to be much easier the rest of the way.

The food was great. But I was glad I packed a couple yogurts in my trunk bag. They were nice additions to the fruit and bread they had. I couldn't eat the P&Js 'cuz peanut butter gives me migraines. I was good at first at Hamilton Station, but at the last time we got there, I was so tired, I didn't pay enough attention and grabbed what bread they had left. As I started to chew it, I realized there was a nut in my mouth. So I spit it out. Even as I type this the next morning, there's a migraine floating on the verge of forming from that mouthful of bread with nuts.

Scott rode the metric century. Sadly, he had a tire explode and it was an odd sized wheel on his 30+ year old bike. He had to get a ride back to Reston where he got his tire fixed. He rode back to Ashburn to get the full metric century ride completed. He waited for a good hour for me in Ashburn, but he'd brought a book. We limped back to Reston together. Scott was in good shape, but I was dying! The hills had killed me. My neck was aching so bad from leaning over the bike and looking up to see where I was going. My arms hurt from holding my body up on the handlebar. My hands were hurting from the gloves which I finally remembered to swap out in Ashburn (I had a spare pair in my trunk). My legs were like jelly. I don't know where the smile came in this picture because I was WIPED out!

Here are my computer readings at the end when we arrived at the Reston Town Center.
104.7 miles 8:31 of pedalling. Started at 6:27, ended at 5:20. Avg speed 12.2 (it started around 16 before the hills!).