The Seagull Century last Saturday marked, at least for me, the end of both the “Century Season” and the season as a whole. I think that is especially true given the very fall like weather we are having this week.
This year I did 4 centuries along with a number of ABRT riders: Rick’s Solomon’s Island ride, our Bay Country Century, the Civil War Century and the Seagull Century. In reflecting on the season during a chili ride yesterday, I realize one of the reasons I did more centuries that races this year is that I really enjoy the longer, steadier effort rides (including our Saturday Training rides) much more than I do the shorter, intense efforts of our typical summer crit schedule. Not that there is anything wrong with those type of events, it’s just that they are not really my thing. For me, especially when there are stronger riders in the group (like almost always), these rides are “races” in the sense that they are physically challenging and they simulate certain aspects of road racing. While the focus of the club is on attending, participating in and winning races, I think there are a lot of riders that have this shared sense of purpose in the Club.
Solomon’s Island Century: About 10 of us did the ride straight down Rt 2/4 to Solomon’s Island on August 1st. It was a fairly warm day with very little wind. Perfect. The ride is quite flat with just some rolling hills and we kept the speed rolling. From a terrain standpoint it was not all that interesting (although it was my first time to Solomon’s Island), but was great from an endurance/pace standpoint. Witness the fact that our own endurance pace junkie Iain Banks pulled the last 20 miles hard. A great start to the “Century Season”.
Bay Country Century: The Women/Elite Teams put on another great event and the weather was perfect.
The ABRT train hit the road about 8:30 and stayed together pretty much the entire ride. Other than a little road rash thanks to a very large combine taking up most of the road and my bottom bracket sounding like it had marbles in it, the ride was a lot of fun.
Civil War Century: This was my first time doing this ride, although I did do the southern portion last fall on our training ride. Ace, Tom and I represented ABRT. It was raining for the first hour and was chili for most of the ride, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. Ace humored us until the second rest stop and then took off to chase down the DC Velo group. Tom and I picked it up for the last 20 miles back from Gettysburg, finally dropping all but one of the “non workers” that hitched on with us.
Seagull Century: I really like this ride because it is soo fast. This year the DC Velo train left a half hour earlier, which was OK with me since my family was in Ocean City and I was hip on minimizing the time away. Again, only Ace, Tom and I were at the 7:30 start although, we did see Arch and Sarah on their gold plated tandem early on. Michel was there but started later and rode with a second DC Velo group. It rained hard for most of the trip to Assateague, although it was quite warm, but as a result the pace was not as fast as past years. My only problem in the whole ride was that I got caught in a split during a nasty crosswind section, when some weaker DC Velo riders started opening gaps. I got back on at the 40 mile rest stop and was much more vigilant about staying upfront after that. As usual, we skipped the first rest stop to get in front of the crowd, but stopped briefly at the 40, 60 and 80 mile stops. You have to love the 80 mile rest stop with the band playing. The pace on the last 20 miles was fast with ACE putting the hurt on everyone. It was mildly annoying that a lot of folks didn’t want to take pulls because of the wind or were really unsteady pace-wise and unfortunately, due to the slight change in course at the end and some traffic, the sprint, which ACE most certainly would have won, was spoiled, but c’est la vie. I did a fair amount of work and got in a great ride.
At this point I look forward to the off season Saturday rides, which I hope at some point will slow enough that the fixies will start making an appearance. My goal for this winter is to get all the way around on mine with the group – no Russian Roulette.