Reston Century: course preview
On Friday I was pretty unmotivated to do anything so I slept in like the lazy, rest-loving slag that I am right now. I knew that Saturday was going to be a tough day of hilly riding with Emily so I took advantage of the
excuse opportunity to fill up on carbs and stay in my sweats until noon. I got a weird spark of motivation in the afternoon, so I hit the pool for a pretty easy swim and then we loaded up on beer bread and Thai food and went to bed just after 9.
Saturday morning came VERY early but we managed to eat our peanut butter official triathlete breakfasts and be on the road just after 5am. The Reston course, of course, was nowhere near as horrifying as I remembered. Most of the climbing is concentrated in the inner two loops from the Hamilton rest stop, so I mapped out a cue sheet from there. In the century, the first loop is 31 miles and the second loop is 20 miles. Our plan was to park at the rest stop and ride each loop, and then decide if we wanted to do one or both again, but we had tentatively planned on doing each loop twice (maximum punishment) and then bricking. We did the short loop first, mostly because I remembered it as having little to no shade and it was still early. So early that when we headed out for the first loop, I was shivering a bit. Oh shivering! How I have missed you. It was very hilly riding, but mostly rollers that I could use my honky tonk badonkadonk to momentum myself almost entirely up and over the top without too much cussing. I counted 3 challenging climbs, only one of which called for my small ring and cursing. That loop includes the opposite end of the W&OD, so we stopped to fill our bottles and take some pictures.
We got back to the car, quickly ate some Fritos (current favorite mid-ride snack), shook the beetles out of our helmets and then headed out to our doom. The loop also wasn't as bad as I remembered, but there were several tough climbs (I lost count) and I think I
ran out of gears got down into my small ring twice. The toughness of the loop, though, is that there is almost no flat and not nearly as much downhill as uphill, so the climbs aren't steep as much as the course is simply unrelenting. It's tough on your mental game because it just never stops being hard. And during the century, of course, you ride this hard loop and then have 45 more miles to go.
We stopped at one of the last turns that I remembered being the start of some really tough riding - people walking their bikes and/or puking in a ditch kind of riding - to eat and
flash oncoming cars pee in a bush and then headed onwards. The next section had some of the steepest climbs of the day, but even worse was the fact that the road was in TERRIBLE condition. My bump-defensive kept telling me to stand out of my saddle to avoid the crotch beating, but the hills were just too steep. We were less than 5 miles away from the car when Emily flatted. She was kind enough to flat near a pretty little pond so I had something to take pictures of while she cussed out her Felt.
She changed the flat pretty quickly, but after going through 2 Co2s and still having an uninflated tire, we decided that I would ride back to the car and then come pick her up. I had two more spare tubes but she has tiny wheels and we were down to only 1 Co2 and didn't want to risk being stranded. So I rode out the loop (one more miserable climb, lots of rollers) and came back to pick her up. By then it was almost 11am and we were both hot, sweaty, and covered in bike dirt. I pointed out my history of taunting the universe when it throws a brick at my face and we decided to not ride anymore or brick, but to just pack it in for the day. After a quick pit-stop for more tubes and burritos, we spent the rest of the afternoon poolside.
I realized during the first loop that my ideas of going sub-6 at Reston (especially with the "bonus" 7 miles) was probably a bit ambitious. If we can get locked in with a good peleton early on in the day, I think it might be doable, but it's going to be tough. We took it pretty easy but it still took me about 3:25 to cover 55 miles (due to lots of Garmin auto-pause fail and flatting, our mileage didn't match so I took a guess at the miles I missed). I'm missing a chunk of roughly 4-5 miles around mile 24 (where it looks like I leapt up the side of a building) including one long steep climb, but the rest of it looks like this:
No, I don't actually know why my Garmin Connect is stuck in German and I haven't had the patience to figure it out yet.
So I'm not necessarily in the shape I want to be in for this ride yet, but I've still got over a month to go. I'm really glad that we decided to go ride it - besides being some really challenging course, it's gorgeous out in Purcellville and I really enjoyed the ride. I'm hoping to get a chance to ride it again - maybe double-loop at least one loop - before the century. If nothing else, I should be able to take a solid hour off of last year's time. And it's all good practice for what I've got coming up in October!
Tomorrow: the rest of the weekend (this post was long enough) and some more complaining about hills. How was your weekend?