The weather was great! It was rain-free but overcast so we didn't get too hot on the black pavement. There was a breeze but we didn't have to deal with any wind to speak of.
Team Type 1/CSH group photo
My friend Doug and I had decided to do the 100 mile route on Saturday and the 75 mile route on Sunday with David and Melissa. Since the routes were the for about 70 miles, Doug, David and I tried to stay together. Doug and I were more or less in the same group on Saturday and we ended up seeing David at rest stops. Speaking of rest stops, there were a lot of them and we ended up stopping every other time. The route was nice, especially when we got into the horse country around Pinehurst and Southern Pines.
After 70 miles, Doug and I said good bye to David and tried to hook up with a group of riders for the "100." Notice the quotes. We said that we wanted to ride 100 miles on Saturday. The queue sheet said 103. OK, not bad. Well, it was more than that. Anyway, I had not been paying attention to the details of the new route and did not realize that our special bonus miles were through Fort Bragg before looping back to rejoin the main route where we repeated the last bit before finishing. While the roads on Fort Bragg are not heavily traveled, it is not exactly scenic. I knew from previous TdC events that very few people do the 100. It was me, Doug, three other riders and that's it the entire time that we were on that leg of the route (I know of one other similar size group that did the 100 and a solo rider mentioned below). We did not see TdC support vehicles or anything. After getting off the base we had a rest stop which was several further than we expected it to be. At that stop I asked, "How much further is it really?" It was clear by this point that I would be riding more than 103 miles. The workers replied, "14 miles. Or 18." We figured that we'd take the pessimistic number and that it would be 106 miles to the finish. After a few miles the group of riders I was with fell off the back and I ended up soloing the last 15 miles or so. 105 miles. 106 miles. No finish line. 107 miles. No finish line! 107.75 miles there it is!
I felt that I rode strong on Saturday and several people made comments to that effect. I felt happy. My training is starting to pay off!
The hotel was nice and the event hosted a dinner (would not use that caterer again) and there was a band for entertainment. I stayed at the host hotel which had a pool and was very nice. I definitely liked the location a lot and the route was good but the queue sheets need some work and no one who did the "100" liked that leg very much. The event had a very major change including totally new routes, new Saturday evening host town and pretty much new everything and I thought they did a great job. There were surprisingly few problems.
One such problem is that they apparently did not sweep the 100 mile route. One women was still on the 100+ mile section when the volunteers started to turn around the signs for Sunday's return trip. When this rider got off base, she followed the now turned signs and turned toward Cary instead of toward host hotel. Some time later, another volunteer saw her and offered to SAG her back to the host hotel. The rider refused and rode in herself. She ended up logging 130 miles on Saturday. I don't know if she rode on Sunday or not!
On Sunday morning we left quite early for the return trip. Last year it was brutally hot so this year the organizers had us all leave at 7:00 for the return ride. The return route was the reverse of the Saturday. I don't think that anyone did the 100 on Sunday although my TdC friend Tracy rode 12 miles before the 7 am start so she'd get 200 miles for the weekend. On Sunday Doug, David and I added Melissa to our posse and we stuck together for the first 50 miles or so. We were all together for a while after that but the distance started to take it's toll. I felt strong on Sunday as well but was happy to see the finish line. DH met me at the finish which was great.
I enjoyed the event and hope to participate again next year!