What a difference a year makes! This past weekend was dedicated to the “Unofficial, Unsupported” Paskenta Race in Chico, CA. Last year, despite my better judgement, I stayed the night before the race with a longtime friend. Suffice it to say that was a big mistake. I spent the whole race hungover, dehydrated, and fighting 20 mph winds by myself for 80 out of the 100 miles because I couldn’t stay with the big group.
My goal this year was to not do that. I succeeded!! This year, I stayed with the main peloton for the first 50 miles at which point a 5 mile stretch of nasty gravel, filled with washboard, began. I decided to get off the bike for the first time in 2 – 1/2 hours and take a quick “restroom break”. By that, I mean on the side of the road while a hundred people ride/drive past you.
Done with that and having lost the peloton, I figured I would just fight the winds (not as bad this year) on my own and finish with a respectable sub – 5 hour century. Didn’t happen. Once out of the gravel, I was caught by a group of 3 riders in a paceline, which I happily joined as they passed. Eventually, the paceline grew to 7 guys, hammering out the final 40 miles at about a 22 mph pace.
As the finish line appeared, a feeling of euphoria set in with the realization that my poor legs could finally take a break. They did. With warm up time, race time, and riding back to the car time I finished with 105 miles in 4:54:38. We were moving!!
3 hours of driving later I was sitting in my living room, eating pizza, drinking a hard cider, and watching 2 teams I don’t care about battle it out for football world supremacy.
This next week’s forecast calls for a lot of rain. Good for the reservoirs. Not good for my training. We’ll see what I manage to do. With 6 weeks before Joshua Tree, I need all the miles I can get right now!