Today I rode the 2012 Marin Century. Apparently this year is its 50th year– I wonder what kind of bikes they rode back then. I rode this ride once before, in 2009. I thought it was a fun ride, with nice scenery. I don’t remember it being particularly tough, but for some reason this year it ended up being a long and grueling ride.
The ride started out pretty easy, the first two rest stops were pretty close to each other. There was a climb before each of the first two rest stops, but nothing too long or steep or high. Between rest stop 2 and 3 there was a long ride of a little over 30 miles, but it looked pretty easy on paper, just a few rolling hills.
The scenery was nice between stops 2 and 3. Lots of small ranches. I challenged these guys to a race, but they were content to just stand around looking cool…
The scenery was nice here. I ended up sitting here and waiting here for a long while, not realizing that the rest of the guys had stopped to rest a couple of miles back.
There was a pretty nice view though, so I didn’t mind waiting. I took a panoramic with my phone…
Okay, I kinda did mind a little bit that it took us so long to get to rest stop 3. I saw this girl that was kinda cute at rest stop 2, and I made up my mind that if I saw her at rest stop 3 I’d go and say hi to her. She kinda stood out because she wasn’t wearing cycling clothes like everyone else, plus I thought she was kinda cute. And in general I’m kind of a sucker for girls that ride road bikes, partly because I know so few of them, and I know even fewer that would ride a century ride. This year they had photographers set up at various places along the route, so there were pictures of all the riders. So I looked through and found her picture (now I sound like a stalker.) So anyways– cute girl in red, if you somehow see this blog post shoot me a comment… (Now I really really sound like a stalker…)
To even things out for any lady stalkers that I might have (–bwahaha yeah right), here’s one of my pictures from the ride. It’s nice that they had these for free, usually they’re pretty expensive.
By the time we got to rest stop 3, it seemed like everyone was pretty tired. At this point we were way behind the rest of the century riders, all the other riders at the rest stop were beastly double century riders. I think this is where experience comes into play. These long rides are all about conserving energy, and I guess since I’ve been riding the longest out of the four of us I have the most tricks to conserve energy and stave off cramping and bonking.
Between rest stop 3 and 4 there was a good sized climb called ‘Marshall Wall.’ It was really foggy near the top, which made the descent really scary.
At rest stop 4 they had hot food. I was pretty hungry by then. Most of the day my stomach wasn’t feeling to great, so I didn’t eat much. I consumed most of my calories through liquids. I think I drank almost a dozen cans of soda. But by now I was able to stomach some food. This was honestly the best tasting cup of noodles I had ever had.
At this point, Ray decided to take the SAG wagon to the finish line. He had forgotten to bring his vest and arm warmers, and it looked like it would only get colder from here on out. The rest of us decided to push on and try to finish before the sun went down. There was just under 30 miles left and a little over two hours left until sunset.
The course doubled back on itself for the last portion of the ride. We started the day climbing to this big rock, which meant that the last climb of the day would be back to this rock. When I got to the top I breathed a sigh of relief. From here on out it would more or less be all downhill. The sun was finally starting to show. Things were really looking up.
We were warned about the descent from this hill. “This hill tends to dislike males, age 25-39,” the pre-ride announcements said. All of us were males age 25-39. It was a pretty steep and fast descent, but the pavement was smooth and the visibility was great. We all made it down in one piece.
The post ride meal at the Marin Century is quite good. Lasagna, salad, pasta salad, barbecued chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, pizza– it’s all pretty tasty. Of course just about anything is satisfying after a long ride…
Things I’m thankful for:
- Cycling vests and arm warmers
- Pellegrino limonata and aranciata soda… I drank like almost a dozen of these in total
- Free event photography
- Despite a grueling (and cold) 12 hours on the course, we all made it back safely. That’s always something to be thankful for.