The temperatures were pleasantly cool at the start of the ride and the humidity was low. It was 59 when we arrived at the start and perhaps a few degrees warmer at the start of the event. I kept on overhearing people talk about arm warmers and I thought they were crazy. I know that arm warmers have gained popularity among the triathlete set but 60 degrees is not arm warmer weather -- especially with the first climb of the day -- Sauratown -- in pretty much full sun. Still, at the beginning of the ride there were people in arm warmers and, worse yet, long sleeved Ts under there jerseys (at least you can take off arm warmers!). In contrast, I had on a short sleeved jersey and had debated going sleeveless! The high was about 80 degrees and I was very hot going up Pilot that afternoon.
Lining up for the start of the ride
The ride started out fine. I knew from last year that everyone rode as a group for the first 45 minutes or so. People started to string out as we approached the Sauratown climb. I stuck with the group at the beginning and I was pleased with the way I rode Sauratown. Almost
immediately after Sauratown, there is a rest stop.
View from the first rest stop
There was a large contingent of Raleigh area cyclists at 3MM and I bumped into them repeatedly. Tom W., Chuck, Paul and I seemed to be going about the same speed so I was with the most of the time. On this ride, there are enough hills that I end up keeping track of other riders more than riding with them. I just kept on going my own pace.
Tom, me and Paul at the top of Hanging Rock
I ran into some of my cycling friends at the rest stop and headed off to Hanging Rock which comes up pretty quickly. After that there are 30 miles of hills and the Pilot Mountain. Pilot is difficult because (1) you've already done 100k before getting there and (2) it's steep. This year I had the added fun of (3) getting stuck behind some cars that were going slower than I was pedaling (and there was no way to get around them).
Chuck and Paul
View from the top of Pilot Mountain
I was really glad that I did the recon trip in April. I think that paid off. My ride time this year was 22 minutes faster than last year.
Next year's 3MM is June 5!
As an side, Pilot, Hanging Rock and Sauratown are all part of what was once the Sauratown mountain chain named after the Native American tribe known as the Sauras. Interesting.