I'm Special!

Yesterday was the Santa Fe Century, which I attended for the first time.
Word on the street was that a group of racer types were heading out at 7am, and being friends with many of those guys, our plan was to head out with them.
So Danny picked me up at 5:30, then we picked up our buddy Frey, and off to Fanta Se.
After several cups of pre-race in-car coffee, I had some serious "business" to take care of by the time we got to the Start / Finish area. We arrived with about half an hour before our planned start time. With a long row of Port-a-pottys within site, my plan was to get dressed, fill waterbottles etc, then hit the port-a-potty right before we left. So I'm all dressed and ready, roll up behind the toilets, lean my bike against the last one in the row, and walk around to the front right as a door is opening. I grab the door to walk in only to hear a chorus of hollering behind me. "HEY BUDDY, THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS!" I look behind me to find a line, probably 40 yards long, of anxious cyclists giving me the stink eye.
There was several port-a-pottys on hand, but the line was significant, and some quick calculations told me that waiting in line was not an option. So I rolled off, away from the starting group of my buddies, right as somebody yelled "one minute 'til".
I eventually found the accommodations I was looking for, and as I expected, nobody was in sight by the time I was back on my bike. So off I went, through Santa Fe, pedaling as hard as I could from the start in desperate hopes of making up a gap of who knows how many minutes on the group of fast guys that I had little hopes of hanging with in the first place.
Banging through Santa Fe was fun, as I met up with our friends the Mazzolla's, who were hauling ass on their tandem. So I drafted off them for a while, until some madman on a Cervelo P4 came flying by, and then I hopped onto his wheel. He pulled me along for the majority of the way to Madrid, until I couldn't take the pace anymore and finally popped. I can't imagine doing 100miles on a TT bike, but for some reason I don't think this guy was much phased by the idea.
So I'm plodding along, with the occasional fast guy or tandem to draft off, but mostly just riding on my own. After a while there weren't that many people around, I had kind of put myself into no-mans land with my start time and the pace I was riding. Then in all my awesome special-ness, I missed the turn to heartbreak hill. My excuse is there were two guys in front of me who I was following, and it turns out they weren't doing the century course. But honestly, it's pretty special to miss a turn on a ride when there are a few thousand other people riding with you that day. I must have had my head down or something, but for whatever reason I blew right past that left hand turn.
I continue to hammer along in my own little world, kind of wondering how I managed to find such a large gap between other riders. But I convince myself that it was just weird timing on my part, until I roll into Cedar Crest.
Having only ridden that area of North 14 once before, I wasn't quite sure where the turn to heartbreak hill was, but I knew it was north of Cedar Crest. So I roll into the gas station at the base of the crest road, fill up my water bottles, and then ask some fellow cyclists how far north the turn to heartbreak hill might be, you know, to get a measurement of my stupidity. I'm told it's about 12 miles away.
So I'm standing at the gas station, debating if I should just give up and ride home to Albuquerque, or turn around, trek the 12 miles back, and get back on course and try to finish the century, only now it would be a century and a quarter.
Eventually I decide to turn around and try and finish. Mostly because I didn't really want to deal with my friend teasing me about doing the Santa Fe century and ending up in the wrong city at the end of the day. I figured if I turned around, maybe I could just not tell anybody that I missed the turn.
So eventually I find my way back on course. Coming back it seems pretty ridiculous to have missed the turn, except that I'm pretty sure no signs were posted, as there had been every turn before that.
Basically from there my experience was much like the couple thousand other people that did the ride that day. It's a great course. It's really fun to be on the road with that many other cyclists. I met a few new people, ran into a few customers and friends, and hopefully hundreds of other riders noticed me riding along in my pretty new Bikeworks jersey (and wind vest and matching arm warmers at the beginning of the day when it was cold).
I finally finished the ride a little bit after 2pm. Danny finished a little bit after noon. I eventually learned that had I not missed the turn, I would have caught Danny and co at the rest stop at the bottom of heartbreak hill, as they waited there to regroup and I was only minutes behind at that point. Nothing like adding insult to injury.
In the end, everything worked out though. I'm glad I went ahead and finished the ride. Pretty sure that is the biggest day I've ever had on a road bike. And even though I could have claimed a mechanical for my serious delay, and avoided the embarrassment of being the guy who missed the turn, I couldn't help but share my stupidity with others. I guess I'm just special.

1 comment:

  1. Sweet completing your first Century Lucero!!!

    I finished in a much longer time, over 6 hours riding, even without missing any turns. If it was not for my UPS friends pulling me in from Stanley on the uphills I would not have made it back before the one legged guy on the Specialized Mountain Bike, and we started at the same time!!

    Guess I need to train more, or buy a newer faster road bike from y'all.

    Erik the Anchor