Countdowns seem to prevail as we close in on the end of another year. Whether it’s how many days are left before Christmas, or a classic New Years countdown to midnight, someone is always counting down time. My timer, of coarse, is set to my century ride. I made a goal when I started this blog that I would compete and complete my first full century ride before the years end. Well that time is just 11 days away now…and counting.
Our event and charity riding season here in Florida is in full swing, so I had many rides to choose from. My choice for breaking my “century cherry” is the Everyone Rides event right here in Fort Myers. It’s a very large and popular event in SW Florida, featuring 4 separate loops including a 100 mile ride (my poison of choice), a 62 mile metric century, a 30 mile ride and a 15 mile ride. Best of all it benefits the local kids as all proceeds from the event go to purchasing helmets and bicycles for the children of the Boys and Girls Club of Lee County.
As if this wasn’t reason enough to participate in this event, Tommy Danielson of team Garmin Cervelo will not only be the featured guest, but will also ride in the event. It’s not often you get to ride with a world class athlete from arguably the strongest, most successful professional cycling team in the world…folks this guy came in 9th place in the Tour de France!!!
So as the clock ticks down the days, hours and minutes, I continue to squeeze in some more mileage, keeping my legs loose and at the ready for my longest ride to date. The last two metric centuries felt great, particularly last Sundays, as I had plenty of reserve left in the tank, which will be needed since there is that small matter of an extra 40 miles to ride. I just hope Mommy Nature cooperates and gives us as nice a day with plenty of sunshine, moderate temperatures and little to no wind (fat chance of that last one).
Speaking of Mommy Nature, she gave us a rather unseasonably cool day today. Ride time temperature was 54 degrees which finally let me try out some of the cool weather cycling gear I’ve been purchasing. As I mentioned in a previous post, winter cycling in Florida offers a unique challenge in that the temperature can wildly fluctuate between the rides start and the end. It’s not uncommon for there to be a 20+ degree change so layering is the key, as you will be gradually removing layers while riding.
I got a great Black Friday deal on some long sleeve base layers from Voler. They are very soft, warm and breathable, and do a fantastic job of keeping you dry while on the bike. You’d swear they were made of soft cotton, but it’s a 100% micro poly called GeoTherm milled in Italy…amazing stuff and at a great price. I also picked up a great pair of tights from Sugoi, the SubZero Zap Tights, which feature a technical multi-layer, body-hugging compression fabric which is not only warm and breathable, but also wind and waterproof. These bad boys are easily good for temperatures into the 40’s, which should more than cover me here in Florida. I’m hoping that the combination of base layer, tights and, if needed, my cycling jacket is enough to keep me riding all winter season. The only addition I may have to make is some merino wool socks and/or booties and perhaps some full fingered gloves.
Ride Time: 1:44:27
Stopped Time: 24:20
Distance: 29.82 miles
Average: 17.13 mph
Fastest Speed: 22.04 mph
Ascent: 552 feet
Descent: 530 feet