The Sierra Century What a ride! Even though I was saddened by Chuck's absence at today's century I still managed to get on the bike and win won for the Gipper (wow, was that sentimental or what?). I pulled up to the fairgrounds a little before 0600 and Pete and I headed out at about 0630. Pete had not ridden this century before but had heard me hype it up for the last two weeks. As we started our ride I reminded him that the first leg of the ride goes downhill... and it was going to be cold. We felt pretty good when we hit the first rest stop, at mile twenty-something, in less than an hour! The rest of the day, of course, would not be as quick, or as cold. We rode into Volcano and saw Felix (who had no visable signs of being tired). He and his friend, AJ, took off a few minutes before we did but I never saw them again. After the lunch stop in Fiddletown (mile 60), we headed back out and, along with another poor sap, followed a rogue arrow marked 200k. We ended up doing a big circle out of our way and met up with a couple of other riders that had turned the wrong way and found themselves almost back to Plymouth.
So, all of us (except one guy who was obviously mentally beaten by the fact that he had to re-trace his steps) headed back to Fiddletown to start the second half again. Rodrigo said it best... "I didn't pay $40 to ride 60 miles!" After some more moderate climbing Pete and I finally reached the bottom of the famous Slug Gulch... with almost 20 more miles in our legs than we should have had thanks to that rogue arrow. I took the bypass at this point last year and my bike immediately thanked with me a flat. This year I was determined to do Slug Gulch! I had no idea this climb was as difficult as it was. It could have been the 95 miles / 3000+ feet I already rode... but I was almost ready to bonk! All I could think of was getting to the top and getting my pin. We finally made it to the top and after some rest and food we headed back down. In my opinion, this has to be the best century in the area, bar none... even with the hillbillies cursing at us. The 300+ volunteers are everywhere!!!! They truly make the day a great one with their attention to detail (having Advil and sunblock at the lunch stop, getting the applause at the top of Slug Gulch, and not having to make my own sandwiches at the rest stop). 118 miles.... a lot of climbing!