The Spindletop spin is a local ride that I've been set on doing for awhile now. I skipped out on it last year because I didn't have a road bike and was just too nervous to ride in a big group like that with my Wal-Mart special comfort bike. But since then I've got myself a road bike and put some miles on it even completing a century a couple of months ealier. So I was ready to do this.
We got to the ride at Crockett street a few minutes before the 100 miler group start and were rushing to sunblock up and get our bikes ready. I didn't have time to check my air pressures on my tires or fill up my water bottles as I heard the announcer say "5 minutes till start" so I put on my helmet, GUTR, and sunglasses and off I went to the start.
Rolling start the morning temps felt cool but of course that wouldn't last long. Started off pretty slow somewhere in the 15-17 mph range through
the city of Beaumont. It was nice to have the cops make sure every intersection that we got to was safe for us to pass. As we passed the first rest stop about mile 10 I thought about stopping to fill my empty water bottles but everyone was passing it so I did the same. At this point I started passing some people and found 3 riders that had a good pace going and decided to join them till the next water stop at mile 25. This water stop had some good looking pirate winches there hootin and hollering as we stopped. I got a lot of compliments on my bike jersey and they were taking pics of me which was cool. As I waited for my bro, Willie, to catch up I filled up my water bottles and partook in all the lil snacks they had, pickle juice, pickles, oreos, granola bars, and the other goodies. Willie finally caught up and off we went again.
Miles 25 - 35
It was just Willie and myself at this point since the group that was pulling me was gone so I told Willie to get on my wheel so we could help each other along. We did that for a bit until another group of 6 came flying by and we hooked unto them. They were going 22-25 mph which was great and it really felt effortless going that fast with their help.
We were flying along passing other big groups until the next rest stop, this time zombie themed. I noticed we had dropped Willie so I chatted with the group that was pulling me and told them that they were really flying and they said I should join them for the rest of the ride. Willie got there soon after on the SAG vehicle and must have struck something because he got a flat tire which he has no idea how to fix. Being the good bro that I am I fixed it for him but as I was doing so the fast group left. Soon after that My bro John came in apparently he started 30 minutes late and was catching up with everyone so he could make the 9:30 cutoff in order to continue on the 100 mile route. So everything was fixed now and we went off to the next rest stop.
John, I call him the elite athlete in the family, took the lead and I was using him to pull us but this road was so bumpy everything
was vibrating. The conditions seemed to have no effect on John as he was going 21-23 mph which I tried my best to keep up with but it was just too fast a pace for me so we dropped off and once again were group Willie and Jeremy. Through 45 miles we had a good pace averaging 18.5 mph but I knew that would soon be dropping.
As we hit the next rest stop we saw all the the other riders plus John just getting done refueling and they went off again and left us. We refueled/rested there and chatted with the volunteers and saw that the next rest stop was 14 miles away. So off we went again.
As we road the surface was still were horrible and bumpy so we started to slow down. No groups in sight it was just Willie and myself trying push each other to go faster through the winds and the challenging roads. We got to 9 miles but there was no rest stop. We got to 12 again no rest stop. 13,14,15 it was getting ridiculous the heat had come up on us and our water bottles were starting to run low on hydration. These were hard miles things were starting to hurt.
The familiar aches had returned from my last century the numbness in my feet had turned into sharp pain, my seat area was screaming and no longer could stand the narrow hard bike seat and my shoulders were starting to ache. I had dropped Willie and was just pedaling by myself hoping that at each corner a rest stop would appear and finally 25 miles after that last rest stop there was a school with a rest stop. I stopped and the volunteers were laughing at me as I got off the bike which I thought was weird and I remembered I was wearing my silly bike jersey haha. They had nice cold wet towels to cool down with and more snacks and costumes, again pirates. I took off my shoes put the towel over my face and waited for Willie to ride up. Chatted again with other riders and they said that there was a detour which added 15 miles to our route so that was the reason for the long interval between rest stops. Willie arrived and he did his thing while I rested some more and we were off again.
I dropped Willie again pretty early on and was riding by myself. These miles were my "going crazy miles" it was so hot at some points it felt hard to breathe, I was getting dehydrated and even more uncomfortable. No seat position was would subside the pain, my water bottles were again close to empty and the head wind wasn't too strong but it was there. I was wondering where the next rest stop was as they said it was only 9 miles away. I was dying and even contemplating taking the SAG or just stopping and resting on the side of the road on some grass so my body could get some rest. (Apparently I had somehow missed a rest stop between miles 70 and 90 as I would find out later from talking to my bros WHICH SUCKED.) I finally made it to the next rest stop, which was a glorious site, and sat down and rested. The volunteers were awesome they offered me a ice bath for my feet which I gladly partook in and stayed there for probably 10 minutes to recuperate.
More bumpy road and just barely moving on the bike I struggled but knew the end was near which gave me strength to keep pedaling. At this point I was just focusing on going from rest stop to rest stop. More crappy roads until the next rest stop at the hike and bike trail where I rested and went off to the last stretch to the finish.
Back in the city with cement roads which felt so awesome after the roads we were riding on. The police would stop traffic at all intersections for just one rider which was cool. Finally saw Crockett street and my journey was done. Saw John sitting on a bench cheering me on and some other volunteers and riders. I found out a lot of riders got the SAG vehicle to pick them up after they found out it was 100+ and of course the heat. I finished in 6:24 not including rest stops.
Gotta say century rides are tough but for me very doable especially if you are riding in a peloton. I find its a big mental game, much like marathons and other endurance events, you have to tell your body to push when it doesn't want to and to ignore the pain and fight through it to finish. I also learned chip/seal roads are tortuous riding surfaces and to make sure that all of my water bottles are insulated especially in these hot temps. I'm thinking a marathon after a 100 miler ride would be too painful right now but a half mary after a 56 miler ride just might be doable. HIM???