Centurion Horseshoe – 100KM Cycling Road Roce
Throughout the spring and summer of 2012, I had been doing a lot of road riding. Having been a diehard Tour De France fan for the past couple years, I’ve always wanted to do a road race. The Centurion Horseshoe sounded like the perfect fit. It’s advertised a hybrid event, which is as much a race, as a recreation ride. Having not done any significant riding in groups, this seemed like a nice introduction to riding in a peloton.
I had spent a week in France road riding in June, so my cycling legs were probably at their best. I spent the two weeks before the event getting out for some longer easy rides, so the 100km wouldn’t seem too far.
I woke up at 445, had breakfast, and made the 1 hour drive up to Horseshoe resort. There were lots of other cars with bikes on top, so I knew I was heading in the right direction. It was sunny, so conditions were looking prime.
I decided to bring two water bottles, a couple Clif bars, and 2 gels. I typically eat the Clif bars, but I didn’t know how quickly I would finish, or how the body would respond riding that quickly. There were 4 groups to start in. I decided to be conservative and start in the second group. In retrospect, I should have started in the first group, as much of the first 20 minutes was spent catching up to the main peloton. Additionally, it was a little harry right at the start.
Right of the start, it was a hard right turn, and then up the Horseshoe hill. My climbing legs did well, and I passed a lot of people. I tried to focus on not blowing out to early. Once up the hill, I could see the peloton about 400 meters in front. As I rode hard to catch, the peloton kept getting farther away. A little discouraged I had miss the front of the race already, I mentally settled in for 100km by myself. However, within a couple minutes, a large group of 20 came up beside, and I jumped into this group. Eventually we caught up to the peloton. Being my first road race, I couldn’t believe the speed of the peloton. However, it was almost too fast, and I couldn’t take my hands of the handlebars to get food. The next 55km went along relatively uneventful, as I focused on not getting dropped.
At km 55, there was a large hill, and the peloton broke up. I ended up in a group of 4. I started to hit a wall, which was probably due to the lack of food. Luckily it was a good group of riders, and two of them did most of the work, while I just drafted. Eventually we got caught by a larger group of 15, and we rode the last 25km in together. A lot of great riders, and a couple teams, so it was fun to be in the mix. I arrived at the finish line in 2:41, and don’t think I had any more kilometers left me.
I changed quickly and ran over to the foot tent. It was rewarding to have finished 100km that quickly, and got to feel the speed of the peloton. The key thing to work on for next year is a better nutrition plan. Added bonus when I got home to realize I finished 3rd in my category!