Brutal Century Ride: Hub City Tour 2015 (One More Brick To Go)

In my quest to complete an Ironman triathlon–I signed up for Ironman Louisville (IMLOU), which is in 4 weeks from yesterday–I have taken up century (100+ mile) rides as training runs. In 2013, I completed the Horsey Hundred; it was my first organized bike ride. That convinced me that I might be able to pull off an Ironman, given sufficient training.

Last year, I completed the Kentucky Century Challenge–the Redbud Ride, Horsey Hundred, Preservation Pedal, and Hub City Tour–to earn my free cycling jersey.

This year, I decided to use the KCC rides to prepare for IMLOU 2015.

The Redbud Ride was brutal, with the first 33 miles in cold and rain, but I finished strong.

The Horsey Hundred was excellent. I finished comfortably.

The Preservation Pedal was a soaker, with non-stop rain. But I finished without a problem.

In July, I biked the IMLOU course. All 112 miles. It was tough, but not as bad as the KCC rides.

But going into the Hub City Tour, I had some setbacks.

(1) On August 30, I was biking the IMLOU course. I had done a nice swim, and was only a mile into the bike ride when I wiped out. I hit some uneven pavement and went down hard. Broke the helmet, tore my jersey, got some nice road rash, and sprained both wrists. I got 40 miles in, but had to abandon the ride when MrsLarijani–who was riding SAG–started having car trouble.

(2) On September 5, I was biking in downtown Louisville. I was 54 miles into a planned 100-mile ride when I nailed a pothole on 2nd and Jefferson Street. Went down very hard. Broke the helmet in 3 places, and wrenched my middle back. Ended up in ER. CT scans were normal: no head injury. X-rays were negative. Back spasms were nasty, however.

So, going into the Hub City Tour (September 12), I had 2 jobs:

(1) Finish the ride.

(2) Don’t crash!

Making matters worse, the HCT is the hardest of the KCC rides. After an easy 48 miles, the middle 34 has brutal hills and nasty headwinds.

What I didn’t know: the road quality was downright horrible: lots of potholes, gravel, cracks, and uneven pavement, often at the bottom of downhills. This was not the case last year.

The ride was very difficult from the get-go. To play it safe, I stayed with the slow ride group. The first 48 miles were easy except for the road quality. The hills weren’t bad, and the weather was pleasant except for the headwind.

The middle 34 miles were awful: bad road quality, merciless headwind, and steep hills. Because of the road quality, it was hard to go for the momentum on downhills, and that made the uphills more difficult. By mile 80, we had seasoned riders who were really hurting.

But I was feeling great except for my butt being sore from the saddle!

The last stage was relatively flat, but most of the group was in pain from the previous sections. Once we turned onto Ring Road–the main road circling Elizabethtown–I felt very good. I got into the aero position and blasted forward. When we turned into E-Town Sports Park, I was all aero. I even stayed aero after turning onto Mulberry Street, catching up to someone who had been ahead of my group the entire time. I left him in the dust as I turned onto Helm Street.

After finishing, I topped it off with a small transition jog.

Whereas I was very soreafter finishing the HCT last year, I wasn’t even stiff this year. I even ran 10 miles the next day. No pain at all.

I have now earned my 400-mile jersey. That was one of my goals for the year.

My other goal still is pending: Ironman Louisville. October 11.

One more brick (ultra-long workout) to go, and then taper begins…