Saturday, May 12 in San Jose, California:
I woke at 5am, geared up and headed south to San Jose at 5:30 after getting not nearly enough sleep. I found Gunderson High School without too much trouble (though it would have been nice if the ride organizers had posted directions or an address on the website!) and signed in and got some bagels and coffee. I soon found Mike H, Winston, and some other folks from the Sun AIDS ride team (few of whom I’d met previously), and we started rolling at about 6:30.
The weather was shaping up very nicely – overcast and not too warm. I had been a bit worried about the weather, as South San Jose to Hollister can be very warm this time of year. Since this was supposed to be a very flat ride, I had it in my mind to see how fast I could do it. After a pleasant ride past Calero and Chesbro Reservoirs, we pulled in to the first rest stop and had some bread & cookies.
After the first rest stop, I was feeling very good, and we maintained a good clip, drafting Mike W, also from Sun. After a while, Mike W & I pulled ahead and sped off to the first rest stop. We were keeping a much faster pace than I usually ride, but we were having fun chatting, so I didn’t mind at all. The second rest stop also had cookies and bread and such. I spent entirely too much time there, though, and had to warm up all over again when I continued.
The second leg of the ride went south through Gilroy past the garlic fields of Christopher Ranch, and I quickly learned that while garlic is a really wonderful cooking additive, it smells absolutely AWFUL when its growing in large fields! This was my least favorite leg of the journey, as much of it was on a not-terribly-interesting highway, there was a gentle headwind, and everyone was pretty spread out, so no pacelines were forming up. Ah well. Towards the end of this leg, I caught up with some folks and we paced it in to the semi-lunch stop in Hollister (I think), where they had DIY PB&Js, warm soup, breads, and cookies. Mike W’s tire flatted when we pulled into this stop, and his sidewall got torn up – bummer! I gather he spent a while trying to find somewhere to buy a new tire. I didn’t see him again until the end.
Mike H & I rode the third leg on a country road with a nasty headwind and terrible road surfacing, which prevented me from using my aero bars to tuck down and hide from the wind. After we got off of that road, though, the winds were in our favor and we rolled through some scenic farmlands out to rest stop #3. I spent very little time at this stop, just enough to refill my bottles and stretch for a few minutes.
I met some other nice folks who are also doing the AIDS ride (it seemed that 90% of the participants were AIDS ridersr – very cool) and we pacelined at a pretty good clip, and had a good time chatting. In no time we were at the 4th and final rest stop (which was the same place as the first stop was).
I was still feeling really good, so I pulled for most of the remaining 15 miles to the finish, figuring since I was feeling good, and the ride was close to done, I may as well see how fast I could do a century :). In about 40 minutes we pulled into the finish – I had met my goal of doing a sub-6-hour (not counting rest stops) century!
At the end they had yummy cold cuts and the like and plenty to drink. They gave out an amazing amount of schwag, considering the entry fee was $30: T-shirt, a very nice patch, and a water bottle were all included. We were wondering how they could afford this much stuff, since this ride is a fundraiser for the Lyon’s Club. Hopefully they got most of it free or nearly free. I found out that Mike W had 2 additional flats after his flat at the rest stop. I definitely don’t envy him that! He still had an >18mph average speed, though – yow! After hanging around and talking with folks for a while, I headed homeward. This was a very nice ride – by far the flattest I’ve ever done, and a good ride to go for PRs on 🙂 I’ll definitely be doing this ride next year.
|Total Time:||7h 17m|
|On-bike Time:||5h 53m|
|Total Climbing:||<1500 ft|