Sunday, July 21, 2013

2013 Washington County Bicycle Club Century

A tour of four counties: Washington, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, and Ozaukee.
After a four-year absence, the Washington County Bicycle Club Century returned today. If you’re familiar with other clubs’ centuries, then this ride would have looked very different to you. There were no rest stops full of cookies and smiling volunteers, no SAG vehicles, no registration tables, no free T-shirts, no post-ride spaghetti dinners. Today’s ride demanded a hardness that would have shocked the coddled masses on the bigger centuries.

But hardness and foolhardiness aren’t the same thing. A brief rain shower delayed the start of today’s ride as I took shelter in the Barton Park pavilion with my three companions. That’s right: just four riders showed up for the club century. On the upside, each knew the others from hundreds (if not thousands) of miles ridden together and it was great to begin the ride in a group so capable and confident.

Our route took us north to New Fane, then northwest to Campbellsport. We hit a succession of big hills as we approached Eden and in the next several miles after we passed through town, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle. At Armstrong we headed southeast, losing elevation all the while before we paused in Dundee for a bathroom break and a snack. It wasn’t quite halfway through the ride, but it was close enough and I really needed to lose my arm warmers. We were 2.5 hours into a ride that had begun with temperatures around 60 degrees but had become considerably warmer.

Reaching Newburg about 2 hours later with a total of 80 miles in our legs, we bought snacks and drinks at a minimart to see us through to the finish. At 75 miles elapsed, I had felt the first twinges of cramps in my left leg and I tried to eat and drink them away. Over the full duration of the ride, I consumed 4.5 bottles of sports drink, two Clif Bars, a Coke and a 3 Musketeers. I was fine for energy but didn’t keep the cramps at bay; they would limit my performance on the last 25 miles.

Our foursome dissolved as we approached West Bend. It would have been silly to return to Barton Park for the sake of form, so we all improvised the last few miles to reach our respective homes. On my 100 miles I had an average moving speed of 18.1 mph. Climbing? My Garmin registered 2,461 feet, but the total may actually be higher if my device under-reported today like it did for Cheesehead Roubaix.

Today’s ride was my first century since Aug. 6, 2011. The route was a hit with my fellow riders, but it probably won’t appear as a WCBC route again. To grow the club century we need to attract a larger and, frankly, less accomplished pool of riders. Today’s ride was good fun for a “hard man” group whose challenge was not to complete 100 miles, but to do so expeditiously.

Au Revoir, Tour de France

With my ride at its end, I was home in time to see the last few circuits of today’s final stage of the Tour de France. It was great to see Marcel Kittel win his fourth stage. During the last three weeks there were other good moments from riders like Jan Bakelants, Dan Martin, Christophe Riblon, Rui Costa and Nairo Quintana. But the Tour is really about the GC battle, and I just couldn’t bring myself to care how the race for 2nd place was going to play out. If Chris Froome really is just that much better than everyone else, good for him. I predicted his victory and he pretty much had it wrapped up at the end of the Stage 11 individual time trial. But such dominance by Froome and his team didn’t make for good racing in the days that followed. And Peter Sagan’s methodical accumulation of intermediate sprint points guaranteed his green jersey long before today’s finish in Paris. From my point of view, that makes two years in a row for the same not-very-interesting script.

Maybe I’m just more of a one-day race fan than a stage race fan. But I haven’t given up on the Grand Tours yet. Sometimes the Vuelta is the best stage race of the year. I have high hopes for it, and it’s just six weeks away.


  1. Congrats on getting a century in. I'm a huuuge fan of unsupported centuries. I just can't justify paying money to ride. I can fill my own pockets with dates, bananas and pbj sandwiches thank you;-).

    I have to say that I thought this TDF was the best I've seen in a decade. Only mildly fascinated by Froome's displays, but blown away by Mr. Porte. And I found the battles for 2nd & 3rd were well worth the price of admission. Contador was a non-factor of course. Some Colombian friends of mine were so excited for Quintana (as was I–I love climbing... I did 8236 meters of it last week). They had a huge party in Santa Rosa last Saturday to celebrate the cinch. The deep field of sprinters who could best MC kept me riveted during the flat stages, which, in years past, I just skipped. Next year Dad, Jen and I are gonna do our best to be there for a stage in the Alps and the finale in Paris. A lifelong dream to be there with the man that got me into the sport.

  2. I hope that trip to France happens for you, Glen! That would be an awesome experience. I'm still thinking about going to the world championships in 2015. Richmond VA is probably just as nice as Paris, right?

    1. I'm guessing that the locals are probably much sweeter in Richmond;-)