Saturday, May 4, 2013

Front Runner Century, Saturday April 27, 2013

Front Runner Century

I am not traditionally a cyclist, so this was a bit of a stretch for me.  Officially not a race, but a well supported 100km (62 miles) ride, I was excited about the possibility of riding with a very large group of my team mates (Team Blonde Runner Triathlon as well as my coach, Lora Erickson (the Blonde Runner and two friends from my neighborhood (Chris Miller and Doug Sterner).

The race was sponsored, in part by the Utah Transportation Authority (UTA) and started at the Central Salt Lake City Central Front Runner (light rail) station.  It meandered along streets and trails to the north ultimately to end at the Ogden Front Runner station.  Transportation of a small knapsack or bag to the finish was provided (for a change of clothes, etc.) as well as a free ride back for you (on the train) and your bike on a CR England truck. The route was as follows:


The longest ride I had done prior to this was 40 miles (the week before) and I felt fine.  I knew it wasn't a race, but I didn't want to be slow either.

After meeting at our favorite KMart in Woods Cross, we drove down to the start.  We formed several loose groups with the intent of riding together.  At the start, the route meanders through Salt Lake City and makes its way to the Jordan River and then Legacy Trails.  There are a lot of stop lights, stop signs and turns as well as some narrow trails along the way, so it was hard to keep an eye on each other.  Plus, I was in the mood to get going... so, except for Doug, I seemed to lose track of most riders in the first 20 miles or so.  The first aid station (all the stations were well stocked btw, kudos to the FRC folks) was at about 20 miles.

I wasn't tired, so I decided to roll through and ran into Christopher Allen White and Don Hoover there as they were leaving.  These two are a bit faster than me but encouraged me to join them and a little group that formed.  This was a blast.  As a group we were really moving (22-24 mph at times).  Well at least that's moving for me).  But I had trouble holding that pace so after about 5- 10 miles, I had to drop off.

This was good though, because as a triathlete you really can't draft (unless you're a pro, which I'm not) so I got into a good aero position and pushed on.  The next aid station was at about 40 miles.  I actually stopped a few minutes there to refuel (gatorade, banana, gu) and ran into Doug Sterner.

Doug is awesome, if not a bit peculiar in his feelings about cycling.  He likes Gitane bicycles.  Apparently, in the day, Gitane was the brand to beat.  But now, you can only buy new ones in France.  The bike he rode, leather saddle and all, was circa 1970, but he managed to keep up.  So Doug and I stuck together for the last bit.  This part was harder, not only because it was well into the ride but also because, there was a bit of a grade to the finish.

Overall, I finished better than I expected, in about 3 hours and 26 minutes, some 17 minutes behind Chris and Don.  My average speed was only 18.3 mph, but I am still learning at this stuff.

I hung out awhile as Doug, Tracy, Coach Lora and Scott made there way to the finish.  I enjoyed a nice Jimmie Johns turkey sandwich as well.  After changing, I took the free train ride home.  All in all a pretty fun day.  I'd definitely do it again.

Finally, the race would not have gone well at all were it not for all the Winter training and coaching from Coach Lora.  Go TBR!

Jaclyn, Pam, Amelia, Melanie and Stacia

Me, Chris, Tracy and Don

Me and Tracy

Chris, Me, Tracy and Don

Me, Coach Lora and Tracy