The early start from Plymouth was cold but by 8 am I was glad I started when I did because it was starting to get hot!Just like I was warned at the last century, the first 20 miles had a lot of downhill. I was told to not push too hard... hard to resist... but I knew I had to save my legs for the climbing. The first rest stop came early but I still stopped. Shortly after leaving the Ione stop I hitched a ride on a paceline with an Anne, 2 Steves and a Jeff (that's how Anne introduced them all). I was happy to hook up with these four riders because they were very tall (great to draft behind them) and strong. I took my turns pulling and had a good time going with them for about 15 miles. Once the climbs came, however, they dropped me. I saw them at the Volcano rest stop but left before they did. I also saw Steve from Foster City (the Steve that helped pull me the last 20 miles in the Sunrise Century).
Leaving Volcano had some great climbs and it was getting hotter. At the end of that climb came the 10 mile descent into Fiddletown... wow, what a descent! I stayed too long at the Fiddletown rest and felt a little sluggish getting back on the saddle.
I stopped at a water stop to get my derailleur adjusted and then headed off again.
I found plenty of other riders to pace along with through the rest of the climbs but decided against doing Slug Gulch, opting for the bypass option.
Toward the end of that bypass climb I was already regretting not taking Slug Gulch... and then I caught a flat... first one in over 500 miles... I hate flats!!!!
Once back on Omo Ranch road it was an easy push back to Plymouth. Little wind... hot, but a some shade.
Shortly after I got back, Steve N. pulled up who left a few minutes before me... I knew something was up if he was just minutes behind me... well I was right, he did Slug Gulch plus the extra 20+ miles (the Challenge - the Double Metric)... that guy is incredible!
Overall, my third century was great... my favorite of all... SAG was everywhere (again, luckily I did not require)... rest stops were awesome... route was excellent... volunteers were plentiful and very nice.