Well, we did it! We made it through the 68.8 miles and 3400 feet of elevation change of the 2017 Reston Metric Century. We even made better time than I expected. The perfect weather, solid training and smart fueling all came together for a great ride.
2017 Reston Metric Century Ride Recap
The Reston Century is an untimed event with a rolling start that opens at 6:30. Our plan was to be up by 6, out the door by 7, and on our bikes by 8, and we stuck to that pretty well.
For breakfast, I had a peach, Moona cottage cheese (19g of protein!), toast, and 2 cups of coffee. I had frozen my Nathan hudration pack half-full with water and Nuun, and added more water until it was about 3/4 full.
There’s tons of free parking at Reston Town Center on Sunday mornings, and it looked like it was fellow cyclists who were filling up the garages. As we headed to the starting area I was cold–according to my Garmin it was 63F at the start!
During my quick (indoor) bathroom stop, I realized that I had left my helmet in the car. D’oh! I sent my husband back for it while I took a final look at the route map and determined that we were supposed to follow the blue arrows for the metric century route.
fretted about studied the elevation map, I knew the first section of the route–until the first rest stop at mile 20–would be relatively easy, and I knew I was in for a long ride, so I tried to pace myself. Even so, I had my fastest 5 mile splits at this stage, with two at a 17+mph pace.
At the first rest stop, I ate half of the peanut butter sandwich I had brought, 2 orange segments, a bit of oatmeal raisin cookie (they broke ginormous cookies into pieces for us) and a piece of pickle! I also used the porta-potty so I wouldn’t have anything else to worry about on the hills.
The hills were mostly rolling until about mile 32, when we took a left turn and started up the steepest climb. I didn’t have enough time to shift to my other chain ring, and was thanking the Conte’s rides for the strength to make it up in my “big” ring. A sign told us we were “Trending Upwards!”
At some point after the steepest section, I felt something fly into one of the vents on the top of my helmet, and I thought it might be stinging me. Since I’m not allergic to bee stings and it didn’t hurt that much, I tried not to think about until we got to the next rest stop at mile 40.
I ‘ve had a bee in my bonnet before,
but this was the first time I’ve had one in my helmet!
At the second rest stop I ate the rest of my sandwich and many pieces of cookie. I also added water and a Nuun tablet to my Nathan bladder and drank a cup of plain, cold water.
After the rest stop the metric century route turned onto the Washington & Old Dominion bike path, which was familiar territory with no scary hills. We did detour off the path for a few miles–which added a long climb with a “No Whining!” sign–but I clocked another 5 mi split with a 17 mph pace along this segment.
There was another rest stop along this section that we skipped–I think it was more for the century riders.
As we approached the fourth rest stop (which was the same site as the first one) I debated skipping that one too, but thought I might regret it. Although there would “only” be nine more miles to go, I reminded myself that 9 miles would take more than half an hour. As I headed to the snack table, I was so glad we had stopped–they had added amazing watermelon to the offerings!
I had two giant pieces of watermelon, a small piece of cookie, and a piece of pickle.
(One advantage of cycling over running is that my stomach is much less sensitive!)
Although the terrain of the last 8.8 miles was easy, my legs were tired. I could feel my pace slowing and had to push myself to stay close to 15 mph.
The finish party had a lunch buffet (salad, pasta, fruit salad, drinks) and a generous ice cream truck–I held myself to one ice cream sandwich, but it hit the spot so well, I was tempted to go back for one more!
Although the course ended up being easier than I feared, I was still tired by the end, and really tired afterwards. Do I have 31.2 more miles in me? Do we really want to spend our anniversary on our bikes?
This ride was a good reminder that a full century will be hard. (Funny how I need reminding only a month after the Farm to Fork Fondo!) It will take us at least 7 hours of cycling time, and probably at least 8 hours total time. (Our “elapsed time” for this ride was about 5 hours.)
Have you tried pickles or pickle juice as mid-run/ride fuel?
Are you allergic to bee stings?