Today was the 12th Annual Lodi Sunrise Century. I arrived at Lodi High School around 5:30 in the morning. Registration didn't open until 6 but I was eager to make an early start given that it was already 70 degrees at 5:30. Registration opened a few minutes early and I got back to my car to unload the bike just after 6:00 AM. I chatted with the rider who parked next to me, mostly about how hot it was going to be.
I rolled out of the parking lot at 6:10 AM and a minute or so later, the guy who parked next to me, Dave, pulled up next to me. This was his first time riding the Lodi Sunrise Century but had ridden many centuries, and even some double centuries, in the past. We were matched pretty well (even though I had to work hard to stay with him) and we spent the entire ride together.
We rolled into the first rest stop in Clements at mile 20. It was already starting to get hot so we got some food, refilled our bottles and headed out.
On our way to the lunch stop, 30 miles ahead of us, was a little over 2000 feet of climbing. The wind was mild and the heat was bearable for being so early in the day. The climb over Pardee dam and around the resevoir was tough after putting in 300 miles in the last couple of weeks. Even though I faced the climbs on the Prima Vera without going into my little ring (yes, I ride a triple) my legs wouldn't let me have the same success today. I quickly found myself in my granny gear... it was after all, approaching 85 degrees!
After the first big climb there was a perfectly placed water stop. They had a few snacks there including delicious banana / peanut butter / M&M treat.
The food at the stops was excellent. Fresh fruit, granola bars, tons of sweets and nuts.
On the way back home after the lunch stop we had a little bit of a head wind but it was the heat that would become debilitating. Had it not been for Dave, who took more pulls than I did, I might not have made it to the end. The wind started to kick in, albeit not as bad as in year's past, and the temperature quickly got to the mid nineties. When the wind started to get hot it felt like we were cooking in a skillet as the heat radiated off the road. Again, the water breaks were placed in perfect spots and I filled up both my bottles at every stop.
We struggled for the last several miles but finally rolled back in to the parking lot a few minutes after 2:00 PM. After we cleaned up and the bikes were put away we made our way to the cafeteria for, hands down, the best post ride meal ever! I picked the bar-b-qued chicken over the tri-tip and was amazed to get a full quarter of a bird... yum!
What I loved about this ride? Great course, great climbing. Awesome rest stops with tons of great food and cold water. SAG all over the road. The friendliest ride volunteers I've seen in a very, very long time. Perfectly placed water breaks. Small snacks at the water breaks.
What I didn't love about this ride? To no fault of the organizers, I always dread the 9 mile straight shot on Clements road between miles 60 and 70. Every year I describe this portion of the course as riding on the "surface of the sun". This year, it was hotter than that!!!
Overall, my toughest ride this year. In fact, probably one of three or four toughest rides I've ever done. Ideally, I would love to be able to start at 5:00 AM. I am still very surprised that this ride doesn't have a bigger turn out. The volunteers, at every stop, were so kind and generous. You can tell that this group really enjoys putting on this ride.
Stats 103.17 miles 6:54:31 on bike 3240 feet of climbing 14.9 miles per hour
So far this month, I've already done 406 miles, more than any month since July 2004, and it's only the 17th. I ended today with 9,629 total miles, only 371 to hit my next goal. I put up a few pictures, check them out here.
Thanks for the ride, Dave!