Monday, September 8, 2014

The Flattest Century in the East (TFCE) - Recap

The stats:  101 miles on the bike 6:30 moving time 8:10 elapsed time (I know, 100 minutes, that is a BIG gap, but wait, there is a reason!)

The route and the overall stats 

My second Grand Fondo (ride 100km in one ride) Strava challenge met! 

Ro knew someone who had an extra entry for the TFCE for 9/7 was I interested?  Sure, I could ride a century - well the last one I attempted I was a few decades short, this would be different I would be riding with friends!  Friends always make things more fun!! Plus that stupid plague seems to have gone away!  Besides I learned about fixing tires and the dollar bill trick does work for a blown tire, all was not lost at the New Haven Century.

7:00 a.m. meeting up at UMASS Dartmouth, seemed easy enough.  I left in plenty of time still managed to be late, grrr, frustrating to me.  Fortunately Mark and Ro weren't committed to leaving exactly at 7:00 a.m.  We pedaled off at about 7:25 a.m.

Me, Mark, Ro
The first few miles were mostly finding my gear and figuring out this pace lining thing with Mark and Ro.  At about 10 miles in, we turned a corner and this gal says "OH I forgot about this hill."  I looked and said "What hill?"   Apparently this was a hill.  The ride is billed as The Flattest Century in the East.  A whopping 3K of elevation gain over 100 miles.  Are you kidding me? Hill?  Considering my last ride was 3K in elevation gain over 58 miles (Rhode Warrior) and that was a race not a ride, totally different animal.  Then there was the 4K in elevation for 57 miles of Tour de Lyme.  Of course  I know better than to look a gift horse in the mouth, this would be a challenging ride, and I said, "oh it’s all new to me".

At the top of this 'hill' Mark and Ro pulled over to take off a few layers.  Skinny people and the layers, they are always cold!  I had on a tank and figured I'd suck up the chill in the first few miles.  On the way down the hill they flew past me and didn't slow up.  They got all mixed up with some quick riders and were having a ball.

First rest stop 30 miles - I hooked back up with Ro and Mark, they were done with this foolishness of being speedy and we stuck together.  

Mark, Ro, Me - 30 mile rest stop

Until...  Mile 40ish, Mark touched Ro's wheel and BOOM he was down.  Frigging spectacular fall.  I only say that because he is OK.  A driver behind us stopped and called 911.  As I was calling the SAG wagon, the SAG wagon showed up as did the ambulance. Talk about speedy!  Still there was a big chunk, 30 min, of the 100 minutes of non-moving time. 

Mark getting patched up.  Ro helping with the patching.  Note he didn't even take off his back pack.  STUD!!

Mark and his bike with the bent back derailleur were loaded in the SAG wagon and sent off to the rest stop at mile 50.  A bazillion flat tire fixes later they arrived at their destination 10 miles down the road a few minutes after Ro and I cycled up.  Another chunk, 30 min, of time spent getting Mark's bike fixed. 

Mark's boo boos and bike all patched up! 50 mile rest stop
All was fixed and we were off together for the last 50 miles! 

So that is 60 of the 100 minutes.  The remaining 40 were spent at 3 rest areas and an additional rest area at mile 85 (too beautiful of a view to blow by it).  Remember this is a ride not a race!!

Caught up with Shawn at the 50 and 70 mile rest stops.  She had the same opportunity as me.  Interested in riding a century?  Sure.  She had only ever been on the bike for 50 miles at a shot.  A triathlete so absolutely no worries about endurance!!

Ro, me, Shawn @ 70 miles
Curly haired girls leave their helmets on - it is safer that way!!

The second half of the ride was absolutely the MOST gorgeous part of the course.

Mile 85 stop -  yeah I occasionally do not smile....  I think I had a power bar stuck to my teeth!!

The closer and closer we got to 100 miles, the faster Ro and I seemed to move and we were dragging poor Mark along.  He was definitely in pain and so ready to be done.

Cool T-Shirts!!  You get these at the end!!
If you are considering a century, this is a great one!  It was great because it was flat, only rolling hills no wicked climbs.  The rest areas were well stocked and manned and offered porta potties and lots of shade plus awesome and fun volunteers.  There were only a few miles of road in not so great condition and one section (Compton) with rumble strips for the center and side lines.  All the riders were great, and were definitely enjoying the ride and being with other riders.  The scenery, oh wow, so beautiful, between the wooded stretches and the water views, amazing.  I will never tire of the beauty of New England.  If I stopped and took pictures I'd STILL be out there!!!

This was a really great ride for me.  I learned how to attack on the rollers and a little about pace lining, both getting pulled along and pulling people along.  Plus being with friends made the whole experience even better!

Thanks for all the great comments on Strava.  I really don't feel all that like a rock star, perhaps it is just my own modesty?  Seriously though, each and everyone of you (on and off Strava) impress the hell out of me and I only want be worthy to be in your presence!

Beth, a little tired from a fun day with friends pedaling around MA and RI, wondering what's next!!


  1. Great job with the century ride. Glad Shawn was okay after his spectacular fall. I think the farthest I have rode a bike was maybe 20 miles and I thought it was awful. of course that could partly be my bike also

    1. I love the bike even more than I thought I would. Mark is a trooper and fine, sore, and fine.

  2. Great job! Happy Shawn is ok. Love that you described it as a "spectacular fall."

    I think a race like this is on my bucket list so maybe next year. Going bike shopping soon and I might even ride it.

    1. It is a nice ride! Definitely not a race, we took breaks at the rest stops. Very enjoyable day!! Good luck bike shopping!