Sunday, September 7, 2008

WPW Fally Rally

Smashing success, apparently. I couldn't tell, 'cause I was too busy pushing for my first seven-hour century. Sadly, I ended up at 7:10, but a lot of that was due to encouraging/BSing with other riders and spending w-a-a-y too much time at the rest stops.

The day started with vast quantities of waffles, plus a cream-filled donut and bottle of Gatorade from the Sheetz up on 19 in Perrysville. After a leisurely pedal to North Park, I made the brilliant decision to stand around and freeze for half-an-hour, nicely negating all benefit of pre-warming the muscles before the century ride kicked off at 7.

Not the most formal of starts, nor what you'd call "Massed"; more of a dribble of departing riders. Those of us who gave a rat's patoot about time rapidly sorted ourselves into "five of us" and "everyone else", via the nice relaxing climb up Babcock, which functioned admirably as a Potter-esque Sorting Hat in that regard. We headed out to Valencia, then Mars/Evans City Rd as far as Callery, until bearing off into the hinterlands via Walters Station Rd. Eventually, the group of 5 became a group of two, a group of me, and a group of two, in that order, and in rapidly expanding anti-proximity.

The first 35-mile loop brought us back to North Park, where the plan called for a quick refuel and off onto the metric loop. The metric was the classic fall rally route, with a couple of slight detours due to construction: Franklin Rd out to Evans City, then Harmony, Zelienople, and out to Riverside High School for the first rest stop. Elwood City, River Rd, and a delightful detour on Gillen near the Fox Run golf course, then the usual climb up Bologne Valley/Foster/Glendale and down to Brush Creek Park for the second rest stop. Finally, the always-delightful hammer back to Cranberry along Brush Creek/Glen Eden/Unionville/Graham School, then meandering through Thorn Hill to the Red Belt and back to the park.

Things of note: we had about 100(!) attendees, of which 50(!) were new members. COOL. Also, there were four-count-'em-four recumbents on the ride; myself, John Strait, and Sean Monaghan, as well as a gentleman whose name perpetually eludes me, but who just picked up a nice Giro 20 at Rob's shop.

Good fun. If I hadn't spent so much time messing about at rest stops, I could easily have brought it in around 6:45; this leads me to think interesting thoughts about sub-6 hour centuries.

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