Civil War Century – 2011

Saturday was my shot to take on the Civil War Century. I’ve had this one on the ‘to-do’ list for some time now and something always got in the way of it. Not this year. I was up at 4:45am, on the road by 5:20, in the parking lot by 7, and on the bike by 7:20. The weather turned out beautiful. Given the forecast, it could have gone either way. It started out with a little fog that burned off quickly. That’s the extent of the precip we saw all day.

Here was one of the first groups to pass me. Should have kept count, by the end of the day I would have seen every rider on the 100 mile route who finished.

Aside from a few screaming descents, I started out slow and kind of just stayed there. One of my reads over the last month was Why We Get Fat, which has been making the rounds on many others’ websites for several months now. I’m 2-3 weeks into a carb controlled diet, which has given my weight loss efforts a 5-7 pound boost after being stagnant for about 4 months. The boost came at the price of energy. I’m fine to pedal right now, but didn’t have it in me to put out more than a low-steady wattage all day long. The hills were as I remembered them, but I just kept moving and everything worked out fine. I switched back to carbs to fuel the day, but it appears that it takes more than a day for me to begin burning high octane fuel efficiently.

Between the first and second rest stop I came across someone who had a bad shift and exploded their chain. I helped out reassembling the links so they wouldn’t have to wait for sag and added a few points to my karma bank. The time off the bike put me behind schedule but no more than my slow pace did.

Another rest stop, another major climb and I made it to the bailout point where I was 2 years ago. I sat and ate a fig newton contemplating my fate—seriously considering coasting back to Thurmont. After 4 minutes, I sat back and said to myself 1. I’m not injured and nothing’s broken. 2. There’s plenty of places to stop and rest. 3. Worst comes to worst I’ve ridden in the dark a bunch of times already. 4. When am I going to be here again? How’d it turn out?

Made it to Gettysburg

Kept at it that’s how. However, I did realize just how much I’ve fallen off in the last month. My other problem was that I dropped weight/core training when work got insane 3 weeks ago and it doesn’t take long at all for muscles to atrophy. Combining strength training with the bike really had me feeling good for a while there. Have to do more to get back to that. Coming through the back 40 I started to get cramps in my quads while on the bike, which has never happened to me before. Did the only thing I could do which was step off every now and then, enjoy the view and take photos.

Trucker & Scenery close to the end, but not close enough.

One of the last bikers I saw…

As the end grew nearer, the pace straggled proportionally. At one point I looked down and I was 15 miles out averaging 15mph. I looked down again a little later and the numbers were 11 miles out and averaging 11mph. Then I looked down while going up a little hill 6 miles out from the finish and had to chuckle at riding an average 6mph. Seemed like I was always an hour away. The minor headwind from the west didn’t help much either. Thank god for the drops. Turned out ok, and the ice cream truck was even there when I got back. (bonus!). I saved a true celebration meal for once I got home where I had a Troëgs Pale Ale waiting for me.

This was the best sandwich and beer I’ve had in a month

Final word is it was a great day. The weather was perfect. My slow pace made it a ride with a surprisingly large number of solitary hours for an event with 1600 people. When I got home and looked at my computer I was surprised to finally average out the day at close to 12 mph. It felt much slower. I’ll probably think of something later on, but for now… nice time…

Numbers: 8:59’53″ | miles – 106.1 | average – 11.8 | elev gain – 7168′
(All info from the eTrex. The cateye batteries are officially dead. Elevation looked pretty reliable from the unit, but got all wonky when I imported to Garmin’s website. Elevation corrected data pulled a way-too-low number of 5200′ and correction off showed a way-too-high number of 8200′.)

garmin connect data : more photos in the flickr set.


10 thoughts on “Civil War Century – 2011

  1. Well done D2!



    (I will have great stories for you at the Reservoirs ride about Bob’s latest adventure — I actually met and rode with a Retro Grouch from Texas!)

    • Way to keep me in suspense d1, now I’ll HAVE to find the courage to come out and conquer the hills. Maybe I’ll rent myself one of those e-bikes with the electric assist wheel and an extra big battery pack…

  2. Great ride report Dave. and well done on the ride.
    Did you bump into any fellow Ramblers? John F, Alex, Tom? Were Janet and Tiffany off the front and never seen again?

    BTW. I tweaked the 4 Reservoirs route a bit and it wound up shaving off 500ft of climbing. Now, it’s a mere 7500′.

    • I didn’t see anyone else, but there were lots of two-wheeled blurs passing me as the day went by. Kind of funny, but your comment made me think about the pace of the day and the groups that I watched pass me. First there were a few loners who started the same time as me but as stronger riders. Then there were the pacelines which I saw from anywhere between 8am and 11:30. Then further on, there were more lone riders… Like a never-ending parade… 🙂

  3. Great report and great attitude. The whole cycling and diet thing is a conundrum if there ever was one. Good luck with what you work out. Write a book and get rich b/c I don’t think anyone has the answer.

    • We’re all writing that book right now my man, and if I finish it first, you can read it for free 🙂 LFOAB already finished his. Kicker is that it’s different for everyone. Taubes has a whole bunch of things right, but the one place he underestimates the complexity of the problem is in dealing with individuals and personal preference. There may be a group of foods we can avoid, or a kind of activity which would make us all into greek gods again, but without taking into account that we have to keep up with this stuff for the rest of our lives any diet or nutrition book is useless. He alludes to this when bashing the competition in that we can’t abide by starvation indefinitely, but seems to ignore the fact that most people will have a hard time never eating a sandwich and fries or having a microbrew again as well.

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