One of my challenges for the year was to ride a 160km Century. On Sunday i did just that at the Spin For Limbs Charity Ride. I helped set up Spin For Limbs last year, and the aim is to raise funds and awareness for children undergoing limb reconstruction surgeries at SickKids. Last year we managed to raise $25,000 and this year we would like to raise more over the year! 90 riders turned up for a 60, 100 and 160km ride.
As for the ride, it was a fantastic way to take on my first century.
30 of us met at Neworld Bikes to kick off the 160km at 7.30am with a briefing from Jeff, the owner of Neworld. He made it very clear that we would run a no-drop cruisey pace for the ride to make sure everyone got round and enjoyed themselves. Of note, it was a scorcher, which made it all the more important for us all to work together. The ride essentially looped North West past Guelph and Rockwood to Fergus and back down to Burlington. We set out for the first 10-15km at about 28km/h to get up onto the escarpment and shake out the bubbles, and then picked up to a very constant 32-34Km/h to the half way point. The roads out there are brilliant; long rolling roads with gorgeous views and little traffic.
Amazingly the only drama of the day was me losing one of my water bottles 15km in after hitting a pothole (yes they have potholes in Burlington too!!). We had no mechanicals or punctures to speak of. Thankfully one of the well prepared Neworld riders gave me his third water bottle, which was a huge relief, as riding on 1 bottle in that heat was concerning me somewhat. Jeff marshalled the ride very well, and ensured that the smooth pace was maintained. The pulls were infrequent (as there were 30 of us) but long, each pair essentially taking on 3-4km segments. That really helped with the flow. We stopped on the way back through Rockwood at a local park only for a quick 10 minute leg stretch at the 100km mark where ice cold drinks and lots of food were awaiting us. 2 Bananas, 2 Fig Rolls and 2 bottles of Gatorade were consumed, which seemed to do the trick for me as i felt great, and had some legs on me when the pace picked up over the last 60km. Over that last third, we were rolling at 38-42km/h, until the last 3-5km, where it gradually turned into an all out sprint. You will be please to know that i represented well and kept up with the first half dozen Neworld hammerheads. No weakness seen from BCC, i can assure you!!
Our stats for the day were 160km ridden, 925m climbed, 5h10 moving time, 31.5km/h average, which i was personally very pleased with, and probably quicker than i thought i would get round. And what was more remarkable was that all 30 who started rode the entire 160km in a double pace line, finishing together with no one dropped.
Neworld Cycle club were very welcoming to me and clearly admired the pro look of our full BCC regalia that i was sporting (I made that bit up). Seriously though, they are a cracking bunch to ride with, and have very well drilled group rides. They have offered to run this ride for Spin For Limbs for the next 2 years as well, so if i can drag some of you down to Burlington, you will be assured of a fantastic Sunday morning ride.