Monday, October 11, 2010

Outlaw Bike Tour 100

A couple of months ago my friend Wayne asked me if I wanted to ride in the Outlaw Bike Tour 100, taking place on Oct. 9th. The Outlaw is a non-competitive bike ride that takes place in Williamson County with several routes available ranging from 10 to 100 miles. Since the ride was taking place a couple of days after my birthday I wanted to challenge myself, and I talked Wayne into trying the 100 mile route.

I hadn't ridden 100 miles in one day since 1997, when I last rode the MS150, and Wayne had never ridden more than 30 miles in one day, so we had our work cut out for us. We both trained as much as we could with our jobs and other responsibilities. And then, the day of the ride was upon us.

We started promptly at 8am with our group (the 100 milers) starting first. The weather was a brisk 57 degrees, but the skies were clear and the winds were light. We had to make the second checkpoint by 10am to continue on the 100 mile route, so we skipped the first checkpoint. We had no intentions of skipping any after that. Or so we thought.

After the second checkpoint, only the 100 milers were still on our route. All the other routes had turned off to make their smaller loops back to the finish line. Most of the other cyclists in our group were setting a much faster pace than us, so the next few legs were pretty quiet. It seemed like forever, but we eventually made it to the next checkpoint.

Surprisingly, we were at the fourth checkpoint. At some point between checkpoints 2 and 4 we missed a turn and bypassed the third checkpoint. Luckily, the course came back to the road we were on, and we didn't have to turn around. Also, we ended up shaving 5 miles off the total for the route. Accidentally, of course.

The road got hillier after checkpoint 4. Wayne's legs started cramping around mile 40, and he struggled to make it to checkpoint 5 (around mile 50). We took a long break at checkpoint 5. Then we headed out for checkpoint 6.

The course got even tougher. There were several big hills (by our novice standards), and some of the roads were very rough. Our pace slowed quite a bit, but we eventually made it to checkpoint 6 (mile 64). Wayne decided he was done for the day, having ridden a little more than double his personal best. He took a support vehicle back to the finish line, where he was going to wait for me to finish if I could. After resting and hydrating, I headed back out.

The next four miles were still tough, but after that the road leveled off until checkpoint 7 (around mile 73). I took a short break and got back on the road. The road got a little hillier (not as bad as earlier), and around mile 80 my legs started to cramp. My pace slowed, but I eventually made it to final checkpoint at mile 83.

I took a very long break. One of the volunteer motorcycle riders mentioned that there were only 10 people left on the course after me. So I wasn't last. I eventually got back on the road for the last 12 miles. The last leg had some rolling hills, but since my legs were cramping they seemed mountainous to me.

Finally, I made it to the finish line at 4:17pm. The parking lot was mostly empty, but the few remaining volunteers were nice enough to cheer. I had been on the course for 8 hours and 17 minutes, with 7 hours and 2 minutes of actual riding time. And I had ridden 95.49 miles. A big congratulations to all the riders, and a hearty thank you to all the volunteers.

So who wants to ride next year?