Colin and I had a lot of fun riding our first hundred mile bike ride on this hot August day! It was actually 105 miles by the end and it was great Ironman training for me and Highlander training for Colin. (He is signed up to bike the Highlander on September 12 which is 100 miles of really tough hills in Bristol, NY. One climb is a 23 percent grade!) Our friend Dave came with us on this fun ride and he is a veteran cyclist having completed 40 to 50 hundred mile rides already!
The group ride started in Buffalo, NY and cruised over to Canada for a lovely spin past Niagara Falls and through Canadian countryside. We all had to stop and show our passports to cross the border two times. My favorite part was the Canadian side, wish the whole thing could have been in Canada! Terrain for all the miles was mostly flat so it truly was a laid-back, easy ride, our average pace was just right at 16.0 miles an hour for the entire 105 miles. We did have one HUGE hill to climb, it was so long! And it was incredibly hot! Plus it was right around 60-65 miles so we were well into the ride at that point. But we all just granny-geared it and climbed to the top! Not bad, just one tough hill for the entire ride. :) The last 15 miles or so were on a bike path which we all objected to greatly due to pedestrians and major cracks in the asphalt. That part turned out to be quite humorous. Every time I thought we were getting off the bike path and onto the road, an orange arrow would point us BACK to the path AGAIN! Seriously, at the time, I was going crazy! I'd get this huge wave of happiness to be off of it and then there we were again. I had to just laugh at it or I would SCREAM! All in all it was a great course and it was fun to push the limits on the bike for such a distance.
The aid stations were great! There were four and we actually decided to skip the last one because we were so close to the finish-we just wanted to get to the end! I had perpetuem in my bottle on my bike which is basically liquid nutrition with calories, carbs, protein and even a little fat. It's what I plan to use in the Ironman and I've been training with it on long bike rides. It keeps everything leveled out so you never really hit a big energy low on those long bike miles. So even though the aid stations had sandwiches, drinks, fruit, cheese, pretzels and more, I mostly relied on my perpetuem. I had some gatorade and re-filled my water bottles and snacked on some grapes and pretzels, but not many. (Didn't want to get an upset stomach...)
At the end of the ride there was great post-ride food! And we took great advantage of it after the long, hot day on our bikes. Temps climbed to about 90 and we were in lots of full sun all day. Completing the miles was a huge confidence booster for the Ironman, I'm so glad to have ridden it. And Colin and Dave were great riding partners, we made quite the trio and really had fun out there!