Power in the Group!
I am happy to report that I completed my first Century (100
mile) cycling event on Sunday, August 26, 2007 – the
Bike Psychos Century held in Coal City, Illinois.
Six friends from the Oak Park 15 Cycling Club left Oak Park
at 5AM for the hour plus drive to Coal City in a two car
caravan. Three of us had never completed a century ride before,
so we were a bit nervous and wondering if our legs and our
rear ends were going to be able to withstand the 7 hours
on the bike!
As we unloaded our bikes from the car racks, the weather
was pleasantly cool, which is key for me, as I tend to overheat
in my sports events. We registered for the race, received
our t-shirts and free water bottles, made our last pit stop
at the bathroom and started on the course at 7AM.
Karen, the only other woman who regularly rides with the
group, who is a very experienced cyclist, cautioned me to
pace myself and “feel good” throughout the entire
ride. Make sure to hydrate and eat at the rest stops. Paul
H., another veteran cyclist, advised me that at mile 75-80
I might feel like I couldn’t go on. He said not to
worry about that, amazingly enough, the body allows you to
forge through that and to get a 2nd wind. I was not too sure
about that, but I was on the look-out.
How would I describe the ride? It was awesome! The weather
was great, starting out in the 60’s and reaching the
low 80’s by mid day. The ride volunteer staff was great,
the aide stations were great, stocked with delicious food
that really hit the spot when you needed it. The faces were
friendly and encouraging. The course was well-marked, relatively
flat with some rolling hills, and took place in a beautiful
Our group worked as a team. When one was strong, another
might have felt weak. Mile 80 WAS indeed the toughest. Your “seat” hurt,
legs were sore, and the nausea started. I had some Altoids
in my Bento Box, and boy, those were a welcomed sight! But
amazingly enough, I did get a second wind and was able to
hit 100 miles feeling strong.
We each led the pack at one time or another (although I
waited until the very end of the ride to feel comfortable
doing that). We paced ourselves great – averaging 16.4
mph for the 108 miles. 108, you say? Yup! Because of recent
flooding, the course was modified. But don’t worry,
when we hit 100 miles, we all let out a cheer!
I have to tell you about this group. We don’t even
know each other that well. We just know that we all like
to cycle and that we meet every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30AM
at the Blockbuster in Oak Park and ride for 90 minutes. On
Saturdays we’ll go for a little longer ride. We try
to ride through the seasons as best we can. Once the snow
falls, it’s very difficult to get outside. But last
year, we rode through December and a few times in the winter
months. The group is just great. I have learned how to ride
tire to tire; how to draft when you’re tired; how to
pull; how to sprint; how to race through lights that are
about to change; and how to avoid pot holes and drivers with
road rage! But seriously, these guys have helped improve
my cycling tremendously. I don’t think I would have
been able to complete this Psycho Ride had it not been for
Here are a few pictures from the ride:
Group shot before the ride – note the
new plastic arm warmer!
Here I am along the road with corn fields
surrounding me. We were
loners out there!
My buddy Karen and I, taking the lead for
Ross and I at an Aid Station.
Me, Paul, Karen, Paul, Bill, and Steve taking
a rest at mile 80.
Starting to get much hotter and harder!
More action shots!
The three newbies after completing their
first 100 miler!
Paul and I in a congratulatory hug – we
completed our first
The group after the ride was completed!
Roger, Steve, Karen, Paul,
Bill, Paul, Ross, and I