Okay, so I decided to go to New Orleans with Doug on Friday afternoon for Pat's 200k.
Thursday afternoon I get a call from Jim that my bike is ready. Unfortunately, he had gotten ill the previous night but came in and finished my bike anyway. I felt pretty bad about him working while sick, but I was really excited about having the bike for the weekend. I finish up my Thursday to do list and hurried over to Jim's. He had customers in the shop and I knew it would be difficult to spend much time with him between the customers and the fact that he was not feeling well.
I took the bike for a short ride just in front of the shop and boy did it feel good! It is such a gorgeous bike! It really did feel comfortable. I wish I had not hemmed and hawed about it so much and gotten it in July. Oh well.
So I took it home and put the blinky lights on it and took it out for a short spin on Highland Colony Parkway. I was really impressed with the way it rode. The only problem was with the "engine" - my legs were shot from my earlier "ride to puke" intervals. On the flats I could easily push 19 but on the inclines I was doing a wimpy 7 mph. Hopefully, my legs would heal before Saturday or it would be a long day. So the beautiful new blue bike made it a total of 15 miles on its maiden voyage!
David helped me get the bike Rando ready Thursday evening. We had to add one more blinky, change the battery in the front speedometer, attach the cadence monitor and attach the water bottle cage. The water bottle will be an issue as it had to be installed on my left side. I am not as good at drinking with my left hand and driving with my right. But, that was the only way the water bottle would work and I have to have a water bottle for my Hammer products.
Friday was New Years day and I had several things to do around the house before I could leave for New Orleans. I briefly thought about getting up and riding early, but I preferred to stay in bed and cuddle with David for a while. At 3:30 I left to meet Doug at Jims. As Doug was loading my bike into his truck, he noticed the back tire was low on air. Darn, I would have to change the tire later that evening. We had an uneventful drive down to Pat's. John Shelso and a new guy, Lewis from Shreveport, were already in the casita. I went ahead and changed my tire and Pat reminded me that it was Doug that let air out of Steve's tire last February. Interestingly, I could not find where the leak was coming from - hmmmmm.
Saturday, Doug and I decided to drive out to the ride start at Audubon instead of cycling in. This would hopefully get us back home earlier that evening as Doug had to get back for his wedding anniversary on Sunday. The parking lot was full of recumbents! I was expecting John Schlitter to be there with his CA2, but little did I know that there would be a total of 5 CA2s on the ride! I would have loved to have seen my face as they all came out. In total there were 10 bacchettas, Pat's tour easy and 2 upright bikes. There was also another female cyclist, Ellen from Gainsville, FL. I was pretty excited to see another recumbent randonneuring female on the ride.
We started pretty much on time and just because I was at the gates first, I led us out. The temps were in the high 30's but it was very sunny. We did have a slight breeze, but nothing too bad. It would end up warming up to right around 50. I could tell right away my legs were pretty heavy. I stayed in front for all of 5 minutes maybe when the Bee Hive came rolling by. I so wanted to latch on to the back, but JS and crew were already going so fast that there was no way for me to stay on for even 1 full second. Oh well, I did get to meet the fast guys! One of these days, and this is a promise, I will ride with them!
I continued to ride with John Shelso for the first 5 miles or so and eventually Ellen caught up with us. She was a very strong rider. I later learned that she was just getting back to randonneuring again and so in time, she will be a very strong rider. Anyway, I rode within eyesight of her for the first 35 miles. I was having to slow down to every time I took a sip from my water bottle.
So, at this point, I can't believe how smooth the ride is. I am so comfortable on this bike. My body had adjusted perfectly to the carbon seat and my arms were comfortable with the distance from the handlebars. It was like riding on a cloud - thus, I am naming my bike "Magic Carpet". I still need to get accustomed to the q-rings, but overall the bike was phenomenal!!!
At the Valero stop we met back up with Doug and several of the other riders. Ellen's friend, Jay from St Petersburg, Fl, was waiting for her. He decided not to ride with JS and boy was that a lucky stroke for me! Jay is a Bacchetta team member with a RUSA number less that 1000. So, I knew I was lucky that he was a very good cyclist and probably had a lot of good rando experience. From that point forward, I rode with Jay and Ellen. I was able to pace with them for the entire rest of the ride. I had mixed emotions about this as I felt bad about not riding with Pat, Steve and Dennis. But, this was an opportunity to ride with other cyclists that were riding at a faster pace. Plus, this was the first time a girl from out of the area had come around to ride and I couldn't let her finish hours before me!!!
So, JS and co passed us when we were at mile 55 or so. That meant that they were about 20 miles ahead of us! Doug and Leroy passed us about 3 or so miles out so they may have been 6ish miles ahead of us. I decided to stick to 100% Hammer products, so I did not eat anything at the Subway. Jay and Ellen got something while I was puttering around changing layers and getting my water and Hammer stuff situated. Pat, Steve, Dennis, Butch and Lewis all showed up right before we left. They all seemed like they were having a good day.
I continued to pace off of Jay and Ellen. They did not have to pee as often as I did (7 times total) so I got dropped once, but they waited up for me a few miles up the road and I was able to continue with them. Somewhere around mile 80 or so I realized my bike was making a funny noise. I wasn't sure what it was, but it wasn't awful, so I just kept on riding. The noise continued to get louder as the miles ticked by. Eventually it became really loud and my chain started jumping and slapping and really scaring me. We finally realized that the noise only happened when I coasted. Jay thought it was a frozen pulley on my derailleur. He said as long as I didn't coast, I should be able to ride in without hurting my bike. At this point, we had just hit the levy and still had 20 miles to go. I know I coast alot especially in a pace line so not being able to coast killed my pace line. Jay and Ellen just hung back behind me, sometimes pacing me and sometimes not. My legs were really tired and knowing that I couldn't coast was unnerving. I got to thinking that 20 miles would take about 1.5 hours - 1.5 hours is what a typical days spin class was all summer long. I don't/can't coast in spin class, so this helped me settle down into some kind of rhythm. I would adjust my cadence by just changing the gear up or down one. If my heart rate started climbing too much I would shift to a harder gear. If my legs started to burn, I would change to an easier gear. I actually got very comfortable doing this and was able to increase my speed from 14.5 mph to 17 mph. I am sure my speed would also change as the wind changed, but I really felt good.
Ellen and I reached the end of the levy at 5:02. This gave us a finishing time of 10 hr and 2 min. I still have not completed a 200 k in less than 10 hrs. Darn! However, this ride was 132 miles so my 126 mile time would have been less than 10. My century time was 7 hrs 50 min. I still need to take off 50 min on my century time. I sure hope that the drills and dieting will pay off! I ended up with a 15.7 mph ave; 8:25 on bike time, 1.5 hrs off bike. My HR ave was 149 and max 161. Ave cadence was 79 and max was 119.
Looking forward to the next ride once I get the Magic Carpet fixed.