Ok I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I frikkin’ crushed today’s Tour de Cape century ride, besting my previous time by over an hour and twenty minutes! My final time was was 4:12:22 with a top speed of 26.37 MPH and average speed over 22 MPH. In a sport where improvement is normally measured in seconds, this was a huge improvement.
Credit for this improvement is due largely to the exceptionally good group I was riding with. They were extremely focused, organized and pushing hard the entire time. It was lead by three riders from the Estero Flatlanders, a racing team who’s motto is “To have fun and torment those who ride slower”.
I hooked up with them after my first SAG stop. Prior to that, both Young Pup and myself were part of a very large group cruising through the first 30 miles at a quick 22-24MPH pace. After hammering down a couple PBJ’s and taking a badly needed nature break, the Flatlander lead group took off with me in tow. Young Pup was in the middle of some Facebooking, delaying him a bit. Unfortunately, the torrid pace we were riding at made it virtually impossible for Young Pup to catch up to us without expending a ridiculously high amount of energy, something you do not want to do when you have 70 plus miles of windy riding remaining.
Our group was maintaining a near perfect pace line with everyone sharing the load taking strong pulls at the front of the line. When we started hitting some strong headwinds, one of the Flatlanders suggested that the first two riders of the pace line peel off on each rotation instead of just the lead rider. The logic behind this is that the second rider is not getting as much aerodynamic drafting benefit as the rest of the riders, making him work nearly as hard as the lead rider. Having both of them peel off always gave our group of riders a very fresh pair of legs up front, keeping the speed high at all times. Also key was that it also provided you with double the recuperation time versus a single rider rotation.
Bottom line is that the strategy worked great, especially against the strong headwinds, and it is the main reason how I ended up with my time.
Kudos are in order for the organizers of the Tour de Cape. It was well set up and managed. Our host, Cape Harbour was a very picturesque seaside starting location and they took care of us very well with a continental breakfast and a fantastic after ride meal…the Margherita Pizza was delicious! A big thank you to the Cape Coral Police for all the traffic control. It’s a pleasure not having to have to stop at intersections! Props also to Young Pup, although I lost him at around the 30 mile mark, he still came in with a vastly improved time over his last century, and best of all, he did not bonk! Way to go Adam!
Route: Tour de Cape Century Ride
Ride Time: 4:12:33
Stopped Time: 25:28
Distance: 101.29 miles
Average: 22.87 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.37 mph
Ascent: 416 feet
Descent: 379 feet