(Sorry, too cold to take pictures, just a long winded post, pun intended)I signed up for The Dempsey Challenge for my 7th time this year and exceeded my fundraising goal of $1000 by 10 bucks bringing my total fundraising for The Dempsey Center to $9510 if my tally is right. This year I joined team Big Bird who's 2015 fundraising was $6750. I was wearing big bird plumage on my head for the ride.
I decided this years goal was to complete my fastest century ever. WRONG! And here is my list of excuses:
- First, it was cold. Riding in the cold is OK if you are dressed for it but A, you are wearing 5 lbs of extra clothes and closer to 8lbs after they soak up a days worth of sweat. In terms of bike weight that is about $10,000 in weight reduction from a bike. And B, cold air is denser than warm are and actually effects your speed on a bike.
- Second, it was WINDY. Friggin windy. When all you have is about a 1/3hp engine (me) a 15MPH headwind makes a difference.
- Finally, there were no fast groups in the ride. In years past there was a train of riders doing the course at 20MPH, sharing the load. This year they were all doing Casco Bay Cyclocross. The lack of fast riders did make for an interesting event.
I started off strong and made my way to the front to see if I could find a fast group to join. A few miles in we had made our way to Patrick Dempsey and the group that started 3 minutes ahead of the full pack. I reveled in the magic for about 30 seconds and went on ahead to find out that there were no fast groups, just a few lone wolves and some pairs of riders. From there I rode with Alex from Bates for just about 1/2 of the ride. I'm not sure his clothing choice of shorts was the best but he was keeping the weight down. By the Naples rest stop we passed the current leader which won us a police escort to clear the path, very cool, no pun intended. Also not close enough to draft, that would have been helpful. About 10 miles later the previous leader, John, caught us and the 3 of us took turns forging a path through the shitty wind. Somewhere just before the Harrison rest stop Alex dropped off. I'm not quite sure where because I thought he was still with us until just before the stop. Alex caught us at the stop and decided he'd rest a little longer when we left.
I rode with John for the last 50 miles. He was getting some leg cramps and thought I was doing more of the pulling, I was getting tired and thought he was doing more of the pulling, it worked out fine. At one point we caught Gustav, a freshman from Bates, and the 3 of us took turns until we stopped at the last rest stop and he kept going with about 15 to go. The chicken soup at the stop was worth the wait, hot with plenty of salt replacement. John and I were the second 100 mile riders to cross the line at 1:30 which just about tied my other fastest Dempsey time. It might actually be a PR but I was looking for closer to a 5 hour century so I'm not counting it.
So, I talked to John for a few minutes and checked on the location of the rest of my team via google+ location. They were still 30 miles out. I had a choice, change into dry clothes and mill around for 2 hours and freeze, or, ride back out the course and intercept them. Since I hadn't made a personal best on my century time I decided I could go for a different PR. At that point I didn't realize that The Mallett Brothers were playing at 2:00 or I might have stayed to watch. I started the course backwards which got lots of comments from the volunteers along the way that recognized me. About 5 miles out who do I meet but Gustav doing the same thing as me. He's looking for the rest of his friends from Bates including Alex. We chat until he finds his group about 12 miles out. I expected to meet my team just about at the last rest stop which is 16 miles from the finish. Actually, if I hadn't found them by then I was planning on stopping there anyway to get some more chicken soup. Well, I found them less than 1/8 mile past the rest stop.
I decided that I could really use a little real fuel so they went on and I backtracked for some soup. It was fun to get back to the stop and tell them that I got to the finish and all they had was lobster so I came back for more chicken soup. Unfortunately, I hadn't planned on riding hard back to the finish but Kelly and John now had a 10 minute lead on me and I had to put the hammer down to catch them by the finish. The soup was good. I caught them with somewhere around 4 miles to go. We finished, got a beer, got some food and then got the hell out of there. We...were...freezing!!!
I didn't break my PR for speed but I did break 3 other records. Longest ride, furthest ride and most elevation in a ride.
- Distance: 132.9 Miles (a few more that didn't' get recorded)
- Time: 7:40:42 Moving Time (8 hours 15 minutes total time.)
- Elevation: 9075 feet (2600 feet more than my previous record)
- Average Speed: 17.3MPH
- Average Temp: About 35F