Salt Lake City Century

| May 18, 2009 3:19 pm
Salt Lake City Century

It has been a few weeks off from cycling, starting with Franz breaking his hand in a cycling accident and then us traveling across the US from the Northwest corner to the Southeast corner. We tried to get in some exercise most days, but mostly it was running with some time on an exercise bike. When we returned from Atlanta to our Utah home on Tuesday, Franz’s younger brother called and asked if we would join his team to do the Salt Lake Century ride on that Saturday.

Normally we would not be too concerned with that since we had been on club rides this year already over 100 miles and Franz had already finished two double centuries. But during the past 6 weeks we felt we had lost a lot of conditioning and so far Franz had not attempted to get back on the road bike with the splint on his left hand, keeping to riding only the mountain bike on pavement.

But with 3 days left to get in some training, and one day to rest, we felt why not? So our “getting back in shape” training was 25 miles on Tuesday, 35 on Wednesday and 55 on Thursday, with taking Friday off, before the Century ride on Saturday. It is not the training program we would ever recommend, any more than cramming for final exams is very helpful. But we needed to get some confidence and Franz needed to learn how to ride the road bike with the splint on. We did not have our tandem, so that meant single bikes.

The Salt Lake Century is an interesting century. It gets about the same number of riders as the Tierra Bella and also offers short options of 35 and 70 miles.  The proceeds go to assist the Salt Lake City Bicycle Advocacy Committee to build and maintain bicycle routes and trails and promote cycling in Utah.  Unlike the Tierra Bella, it has one mass start at 7:30 am with police escort blocking all the traffic so this massive peleton could cruse through the streets through the stop signs and traffic lights. We kept our pace up during that stretch, going over 20 mph with a slight tail wind, but keeping plenty of space between us and the riders ahead, especially since Franz was mostly limited to using the rear brake with his right (and good) hand.

After about 6 miles, the riders were much more stretched out and we were no longer with a police escort. The first rest stop was at 17 miles, but we thought that was a bit too soon so we blew by that rest stop and eventually reached the 2nd rest stop at 35 miles. This was the point where we were going to decide to turn around or go on. We both felt fine so decided to do the entire 105 miles.

whiterock_bayThat extra portion was an interesting one because it takes you out to Antelope Island State Park, an island in the Great Salt Lake.  The largest of the Great Salt Lake’s 10 islands, Antelope Island is part of the Utah State Park System. Visitors can reach the park by boat or as we did over a 7 mile long causeway.

Biking along the causeway was interesting because you are surrounded by vast water on both sides of the road and where there is water there are bugs, and we mean a lot of bugs.  We wanted to get through all those bugs as quick as we could so we kept the pace around 20 mph.  One group we passed must have thought an older couple should not go by them, so they passed us but eventually they could not hold that pace so we ended up passing them again.  This time they were content to draft behind as Franz pulled the rest of the miles to the island, with Anne right on his wheel.

Anne at finish of Salt Lake Century

Anne at finish of Salt Lake Century

Once we reached the island, the route took us several miles on a road that circled the island.  This route served as a time trail course in the Nationals a couple of years ago that some members of ACTC participated in.  The weather was now perfect cycling weather, in the low 70’s.  On the far side there was a water stop where we made a brief stop.  Then it was to continue around the island and then, yikes, we had to go back across that causeway with all the bugs.  So we did the same thing again, keeping the pace over 20 mph to get through that section as soon as we could.

At mile 70 we stopped a the lunch stop where they had all the fixings to make a sandwich.  We saw Franz’s younger brother there.  His team was leap frogging us all day.  They would go past us between rest stops but they were taking longer stops than we were,  so we ended up seeing them at every single stop.

Franz after Salt Lake Century

Franz after Salt Lake Century

After resting for awhile, we headed back over the 35 mile course we had taken that morning. But unlike the morning we did not skip the rest stop at 17 miles from the start. But there the stop was brief and then we finished the 105 miles.

It was a great century ride and one we really enjoyed. We averaged 17.8 mph for the 105 miles. That was not as fast as we have done on the tandem, but a pace we were very happy with on single bikes.

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