Steve Fields and I had a great time. We enjoyed the ride but what really makes the weekend fun is renting a nice cabin and hanging out with friends all weekend. We took an easy spin with a group of friends on Friday and met up with a bunch of riders for dinner. Everyone was sharing their strategies and how they were going to finish strong. I knew that some of the guys would hit the first hills too hard and fade later in the ride. Many of the guys that we hung out with over the weekend live in Florida. One of the guys drove out to what I think is the toughest climb of the day. It is a 1,200 ft climb and the last section is over 20%. He said that he did the climb that morning and it did not seem too hard. I tried to explain that we would hit that hill with 60 hard miles already behind us and it would feel a little different. He was not buying it.
The course record was set in 2009 and was 4 hours 49 minutes. Most years the first place rider takes over 5 hours to finish but
the last few years it seems like the guys are picking up their game. This year we had the honor of having Scottie Weiss, otherwise known as the Pocket Rocket set the pace. Scottie has 10 years of Pro Cycling experience and his favorite tactic is getting away early on a very hard and hilly long course. Scottie set a new course record this year of 4:38 and everyone who tried to chase him got a great workout.
At 80 miles into the 103 mile ride with 9032 ft of climbing, I had 17 guys still in front of me. My chip time of 5:02:39 would put me in
12th place this year, I finished with 3 other riders who came around me at the “no sprinting allowed” finish line which put me at 15th place. Next year I might sprint. Steve Fields had a great ride at 5:07, it was our best finish for both of us. Every year it seems like a really fast bunch of riders and this year was even faster.